death, dissection, Galen, Hippocrates, museums and collections

Theatres of Anatomy

Every other year, I lead a tour group which visits two historic anatomy theatres: the oldest permanent structure, the Padua anatomy theatre of 1594, and the 1638-39 one in Bologna. Before 1594, anatomy theatres were temporary structures, in some cases erected at the expense of the professor performing the dissection. On the tour, we usually… Continue reading Theatres of Anatomy

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death, dissection, museums and collections

Bodies at breakfast, and a grand day out

While we're on the theme of dissection... I was recently talking to a breakfast group about ‘Bodies, ancient and modern’. No, I don’t know why they wanted to hear about bodies at breakfast, either – I prefer to focus on my muesli. In the section in which I talked about the history of gaining knowledge… Continue reading Bodies at breakfast, and a grand day out

museums and collections, pregnancy, womb

Stone Babies: The Lithopedion of Sens

When Colombe Chatry, a tailor’s wife, died in May 1582 at the age of 68, at her husband’s request her body was opened up to discover what had happened to a pregnancy she had started 28 years earlier, which had never come to anything but had left her with years of abdominal pain and loss… Continue reading Stone Babies: The Lithopedion of Sens