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Vesalius: The China Root Epistle
A New Translation and Critical Edition


  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107026353

£ 47.99

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About the Authors
  • This book provides the first annotated English translation from the original Latin of Andreas Vesalius' China Root Epistle. Ostensibly his appraisal of a fashionable herbal remedy, the China Root Epistle concentrates on Vesalius' skeptical appraisal of traditional Galenic anatomy, which was based on animal rather than human dissections. Along with reflections about his life as a young anatomist, Vesalius argued that the new science of anatomy should devote itself less to rhetorical polemics and more to the craft of direct observation based on human dissection. This volume provides annotations to link the Epistle with Vesalius' earlier and more famous work, On the Fabric of the Human Body, and includes illustrations from the famous woodcuts first used in the 1543 edition of the Fabrica.

    • The first translation into a modern language of Vesalius' critique of Medieval and Humanist anatomy
    • Includes illustrations from the famous woodcuts first used in Vesalius' 1543 edition of Fabric of the Human Body
    • Detailed annotations explain the persons and events mentioned by Vesalius and link his statements about anatomy with the 1543 and 1555 editions of the Fabrica
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Non-Latin readers can now compare its contentwith the annotations in Vesalius's own hand to the revised Fabrica of 1555, viewed as a major contribution to anatomical understanding in its own right rather than a mere update of 1543.' Gül Russell, Renaissance Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107026353
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 37 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Dedicatory preface Franciscus Vesalius
    2. Author's greeting to Joachim Roelants
    3. Occasion for writing about the China root
    4. With what success many have used the China
    5. Description of the China root
    6. Method of preparing the China decoction
    7. Quantity of the first China decoction to be delivered, and the time to give it
    8. How a sweat should be induced
    9. What drink is useful
    10. Sleep and wakefulness
    11. Movement and rest
    12. Concern about bodily wastes
    13. What affects of the mind are applicable
    14. Sexual activity
    15. How long the first decoction should be used
    16. A method of taking and preparing a second decoction
    17. A way of administering sparta parilla
    18. Native and familiar drugs should be put to use rather than exotics
    19. Decoction of chamaedrys
    20. No small results can by expected from genuine rhapontic
    21. Hapless people who gratify themselves by publishing something
    22. Occasion for the letter of Sylvius in which it was declared that nothing written by Galen is completely in error
    23. Occasion for the opinion, here to be recorded, of the letter in which Vesalius replied to Sylvius
    24. Galen did not dissect humans, but teaches the study of animals instead of man
    25. A number of conjectures from the bones
    26. Conclusions drawn about the fat, muscles, and ligaments, whereby it is concluded that Galen did not describe the human fabric
    27. Several places taken from the series of veins and arteries in which it is inferred that Galen did not dissect humans
    28. Reasons taken from the nerves by which it is known that humans were not dissected by Galen
    29. Reasons selected from the contents of the peritoneum
    30. Some conjectures based upon the parts that are contained in the thorax
    31. Reasons taken from those contained in the skull
    32. Some places where Galen openly criticized the Ancients because they had dissected humans and not apes, as he did
    33. Not everything in his description of the parts was correctly reported and described by Galen
    34. A number of untrue descriptions in the bones
    35. Several inaccurate descriptions taken from the account of muscles and ligaments
    36. Some false descriptions gathered from the account of veins and arteries
    37. Accepted descriptions in the account of nerves which are not quite true
    38. Descriptions of the parts that are contained in the peritoneum, which are not entirely true
    39. Several untrue descriptions gathered from the parts contained in the thorax
    40. False descriptions among the parts that are surrounded by the skull
    41. Some places where it is known that Galen was not altogether sound in assigning the functions and uses of the parts
    42. In his account of the bones
    43. Several uses and functions not well assigned in Galen's account of the muscles and ligaments
    44. Places collected from the description of veins, arteries, and nerves where it is known that Galen consistently assigned incorrect uses and actions
    45. A description of some things that are contained in the peritoneum
    46. From the description of parts located in the thorax and skull
    47. Some invalid anatomical proofs of Galen are mentioned
    48. How useful the annotations of Vesalius have been in Galenic anatomy, and how little they are to be needed hereafter
    49. Method of administering the water of the China root.

  • Author

    Andreas Vesalius

    Editor and Translator

    Daniel H. Garrison, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Daniel H. Garrison is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Classics at Northwestern University. He is the translator of The Fabric of the Human Body (with Malcolm Hast, forthcoming) and the author of several books, including Sexual Culture in Ancient Greece, The Student's Catullus and Horace Epodes and Odes. A New Annotated Latin Edition.

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