Lectures on the Whole of Anatomy: An Annotated Translation of Prelectiones Anatomiae Universalis

Lectures on the Whole of Anatomy: An Annotated Translation of Prelectiones Anatomiae Universalis

Lectures on the Whole of Anatomy: An Annotated Translation of Prelectiones Anatomiae Universalis

Lectures on the Whole of Anatomy: An Annotated Translation of Prelectiones Anatomiae Universalis

Excerpt

Anatomical teaching in Britain commenced officially in Edinburgh in 1505 when the magistrates of that city granted a Seal of Cause to the Guild of Surgeons and Barbers. This was confirmed by James IV in the following year.

In London the United Company of Barber-Surgeons was granted a Charter in 1540 by Henry VIII which enabled the Company to obtain the bodies of felons for dissection. There is ample evidence: to suggest that from this date the barber-surgeons of London carried out anatomical teaching within their Company.

Anatomy was then in the hands of the surgeons, and it was some time before the physicians interested themselves in the subject. In this curious situation the more highly educated physicians looked down upon their lowly colleagues and, indeed, made it their business to harass them in their practice, particularly when the barber-surgeons dabbled in physic. The physicians, however, could not always ignore anatomy and, although the documentary evidence is scanty, it would seem that the College of Physicians entered the anatomical field in 1565 when Elizabeth I granted them the right of claiming the bodies of felons for dissection. As Munk points out, the first mention of anatomical lectures for physicians is to be found in the College Annals for 1569-1570. These were to be delivered in turn by the Fellows, and severe penalties were laid down for their default from giving the lecture.

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