Renaissance Key Individuals

The Renaissance 


Andreas Vesalius

He was a renaissance doctor and surgeon. He wrote the book 'The Fabric of the Human Body' in 1545, which was a detailed and fully illustrated description of the the human anatomy. He fully respected Galen's work but proved that Galen was incorrect in some ways:

  • The human jaw is made from only ONE bone.
  • The breastbone has THREE parts.
  • Blood does not flow into the heart through invisible holes in the septum - these holes do not exist.

He showed that we could find out more about the body if we did more human and animal disection.

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William Harvey

He was a renaissance doctor and also King Charles' physician. Along with this he wrote a book 'An Anatomical Account of the Motion of the Heart and Blood' in 1628. This book fully described the way that blood circulates the body, and that the body has a one way system for blood. Harvey proved this theory with human and animal disection.

However, straightaway this theory was not accepted because it proved Galen's theory to be incorrect meaning many people thought he was mad and he lost a lot of work. Along with this none of his ideas made people better because it was just a start.

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Realdo Columbo

He was a renaissance doctor. He said that the blood moved along the body through veins and arteries, William Harvey built on from his theory and continued his work.

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He was a renaissance doctor. William Harvey's tutor at Padua University. Proved that their are valves in veins.

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Nicholas Culpepper

He wrote 'The Complete Herbal' which was published during the renaissance(due to the invention of the printing press). It was recommended simple homegrown herbal remedies.

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Watched an inoculation of a Turkey and then had her daughter inoculated in England in front of doctors, to spread the idea of inoculation to prevent the spread of disease.

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Ambroise Pare

He was a renaissance surgeon. He spent 20 years as an army surgeon and then was a surgeon to the kings of France. He was the most famous surgeon in Europe because of his books 'Ten books on surgery' and 'Apology and Treatise'.

  • He changed the treatment of gunshot wounds and replaced the use of boiling oil on the wounds with his own mixture of egg yolks, rose oil and turpentine.
  • Along with this he used ligatures to stop bleeding rather than using a cauterising iron, which he thought was cruel and painful. (However this was a slow method and cauterisation was more practical on a battlefield, it also caused deadly infections)
  • He also designed and made the first false limbs for wounded soilders and included drawings in his books to spread the idea further.

However his discoveries were still small scale as there was no invention of antispetics or different blood groups for transfusions.

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He was a town doctor during the renaissance. Other doctors such as Harvey and Pare etc corrected elements of Hippocrates and Galen's work but Paracelus said that almost everything about their work was wrong. He said that illness' were caused by chemicals in the body and that treatments should be done with chemicals also.

Although this may sound scientific he also thought that God sent secret messsages or clues about how to treat diseases. 

The same as the other doctors many people didn't believe him because they didn't like the idea of Galen's work being challenged.

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Edward Jenner

He was an 18th century doctor. He wrote 'An Enquiry into the Causes and Effects of Variola Vaccinae, known by the name of cowpox' in 1798. This showed that vacciantion could save people from catching smallpox. He called this method 'vaccination' because the latin word for cow was 'vacca'.

By 1803 vaccination was used in the USA and Napoleon had his whole army vaccianted in 1805. By 1852, vaccination was complusory in Britain and by 1980 smallpox was globally wiped out. (Didn't know that germs caused disease)

Many people opposed vaccines because they thought illness was a punishment for sin, a lot of doctors said it was too revolutionary and it was against God's Law to give people animal diseases. They didn't want to trust the word of a country doctor and thought that the Government should not be interferring in people's lives.

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