The Fabric of the Human Body. An Annotated Translation of the and Editions of “De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem”, by D.H. Garrison and. The history of anatomy is traditionally divided into two periods: pre-Vesalian and post-Vesalian. With the publication of De humani corporis fabrica in First edition of the most important and influential book in the study of human anatomy and “one of the most beautiful scientific books ever.

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A chapter is also devoted to the dissection of the eye. Even with his improvements, hu,ani, Vesalius clung to some of Galen’s errors, such as the idea that a different type of blood flowed through veins than through arteries.

Kemp, “A drawing for the Fabrica ; and some thoughts upon the Vesalius muscle-men. In order to show respect to Galen, he suggests Galen’s use of anatomical structure is in fact correct, but not for humans.

In other projects Wikimedia Commons. Although Vesalius was unfamiliar with the anatomy of pregnancy, he provides illustrations of the placenta and the fetal membrane, making anatomical septemm to Galen by comparing a dog’s reproductive organs to those of a human.

While examining fabriac human corpse, Vesalius discovered that Galen’s observations were inconsistent with those of his, due to Galen’s use of animal dog and monkey cadavers. Archived from the original on The Fabrica rectified some of Galen’s worst errors, including the notion that the great blood vessels originated from the liver.

In the humabi chapter, the longest chapter of the entire collection, Vesalius gives detailed step-by-step instructions on how to dissect the abdominopelvic organs. Timeline of medicine and medical technology.

De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem by Andreas Vesalius

Retrieved 18 November More than copies survive from the and editions. Annotations in a copy of that edition donated to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book LibraryUniversity of Torontohave been identified as Vesalius’s own, showing that he was contemplating a third edition, never achieved.


Because of these developments and his careful, immediate involvement, Vesalius was able to produce illustrations superior to any produced previously.

Galen, the prominent Greek physiciansurgeon and philosopher in the Roman empire had written on anatomy among other topics, but his work remained largely unchecked until the time of Vesalius.

Stephen Jay Gould W. In the opening chapters, Vesalius “gives general aspects of bones and skeletal organisation, dealing with the differences in texture, strength, and resilience between bone and cartilage; explaining the complex differences between types of joints and reviewing some basic elements of descriptive techniques and terminology.

Newly Digitized Edition | Vesalius

The woodcuts were greatly superior to the illustrations in anatomical atlases of the day, which were never made by anatomy professors themselves. It was not until William Harvey ‘s work on the circulation of the blood De Motu Cordisthat this misconception of Galen’s would be rectified in Europe. Through his observations of butchers cutting meat, he was able to incorporate the skills they used in humanii dissection of the human body. He even continues to describe some of the structures in the way Galen would.

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Newly Digitized 1543 Edition

These books describe the structure and functions of the heart and the organs of respiration, the brain and its coverings, the eye, the organs of sensation, and the nerves of the limbs.

Finally, he describes the kidneys, the bladder, and the ureters. To accompany the FabricaVesalius published a condensed sephem less expensive Epitome: Some of the images, even though separated by several pages in the text, make a continuous landscape panorama in the background when placed side-by-side.


Vesalius had the work published at the age of 28, taking great pains to ensure its quality, and dedicated it to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. He then goes on to describe the liver, gall bladder, and the spleen. The illustrations were engraved on wooden blocks, which allowed for very fine detail.

De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem by Andreas Vesalius | U-M Library

Here Vesalius begins to describe how Galen’s anatomical descriptions do not match his own observations. Retrieved from ” https: Vesalius lists some six hundred vessels in his tabulation of arteries, veins and nerves, but fails to mention the smaller vessels located in the hands and feet, the terminal vessels of the cutaneous nerves, or the vessels in the lungs and liver.

Vesalius also mentions the instruments needed to perform a dissection. Vesalius describes the route by which air travels through the lungs and the heart.

It covers the physical appearance of human bones and the differentiation of human bones and cartilage by function. Vesalius describes the organs of the body in great detail by commenting “on the variable strength of the attachment of the pleura to the thoracic walls, the strong attachment of the pericardium to the diaphragm, the shape and orientation of the ventricles of the heart, and the description of the semilunar valves.

Here Vesalius describes the structure of the muscles, the agents used in creating movement by the body, and the material used to hold the joints together. Baigrie Scientific Revolutionspages 40—49 has more information and a translation of Vesalius’ preface.