Skip to main content Accessibility help

Vesalius Revised. His Annotations to the 1555 Fabrica1

  • Vivian Nutton (a1)

The De humani corporis fabrica [The Fabric of the Human Body], Basle, 1543, of Andreas Vesalius is deservedly famous as the first modern book of anatomy. A second edition was published in Basle in 1555, but little is known of Vesalius’ activities after that date. This article discusses a recent find: Vesalius’ own copy of the 1555 edition, heavily annotated in preparation for a never published third edition. Vesalius made hundreds of changes to the second edition, the great majority being stylistic, altering the Latin words but not the overall meaning. There are also changes to the plates to give greater clarity or to correct mistakes by the original block-cutter. There is little new anatomical material, although Vesalius continued to meditate about what he had earlier discovered. He shows no sign of being acquainted with the findings of others, like Colombo or Falloppia, that were published after he had moved his residence from Brussels to Spain in summer 1559, perhaps leaving this volume behind. The number of annotations shows Vesalius’ passionate concern not only for accuracy but also for the most effective way of proclaiming his new anatomical message.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Vesalius Revised. His Annotations to the 1555 Fabrica1
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Vesalius Revised. His Annotations to the 1555 Fabrica1
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Vesalius Revised. His Annotations to the 1555 Fabrica1
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Email address for correspondence:
Hide All

1. Nutton, Vivian , ‘An Early Reader of Vesalius’, Fabrica Vesalius, 3 (1998), 7374; Moritz Roth, Andreas Vesalius Bruxellensis (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1892), 244–63, is a useful compendium of reactions, both for and against. Cynthia Klestinec, Theaters of Anatomy. Students, Teachers and Traditions of Dissection in Renaissance Venice (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), 1–4, rightly points out that Vesalius’ injunctions were followed neither immediately nor, even in Padua, consistently.

2. Donald O’Malley, C. , Andreas Vesalius of Brussels, 1514–1564 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964), remains the most detailed and accessible biography of Vesalius. There is much of value in the introduction to André Vésale, Résumé des ses livres sur la fabrique du corps humain, Andreae Vesalii Bruxellensis suorum de humani corpis fabrica librorum epitome. Texte et traduction par Jacqueline Vons. Introduction, notes et commentaire par Jacqueline Vons et Stéphane Velut (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2008). The same French team has embarked on a French translation of the Fabrica, the first part of which is scheduled to appear in 2012.

3. Vesalius, Andreas , De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Basle: J. Oporinus, 1543). A complete English version of this edition was made by William F. Richardson and John B. Carman, Andreas Vesalius, On the Fabric of the Human Body, 5 vols (Novato, CA: Norman Publishing, 1998–2009). A translation of the 1543 edition along with the changes introduced in the second edition has been prepared by Daniel H. Garrison and Malcolm H. Hast, Andreas Vesalius, The Fabric of the Human Body (2003). An early draft of Book I is available on line at; the complete version will be published by S. Karger at Basle in 2014.

4. Kusukawa, Sachiko , ‘The uses of pictures in the formation of learned knowledge: the cases of Leonhard Fuchs and Andreas Vesalius’, in Kusukawa, Sachiko and Maclean, Ian  (eds), Transmitting Knowledge: Words, Images, and Instruments in Early Modern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 7396; Picturing the Book of Nature: Image, Text and Argument in Sixteenth century Human Anatomy and Medical Botany (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011). Relevant also is Andrea Carlino, Books of the Body: Anatomical Ritual and Renaissance Learning, John Tedeschi and Anne C. Tedeschi (trans.) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

5. Cunningham, Andrew , The Anatomical Renaissance. The Resurrection of the Anatomical Projects of the Ancients (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1997); Roger K. French, Dissection and Vivisection in the European Renaissance (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999); Katharine Park, Secrets of Women: Gender, Generation, and the Origins of Human Dissection (New York: Zone, 2006); Klestinec, Theaters.

6. Rocca, Julius, Anatomy’, and Debru, Armelle , ‘Physiology’, in Hankinson, R. J.  (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Galen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 242–62, 263–82, provide a convenient overview of Galen’s work, very little of which was known directly until the Western Middle Ages.

7. Nutton, Vivian , ‘André Vésale et l’anatomie parisienne’, Cahiers de l’Association Internationale des Études Françaises, 55 (2003), 239249.

8. Nutton, Vivian , ‘Wittenberg anatomy’, in Grell, Ole P. and Cunningham, Andrew  (eds), Medicine and the Reformation (London: Routledge, 1993), 1132; Jürgen Helm, ‘Religion and medicine: anatomical education at Wittenberg and Ingolstadt’, in Jürgen Helm and Annette Winkelmann (eds), Religious Confessions and the Sciences in the Sixteenth Century (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 51–68.

9. Cockx-Indestege, Elly , Andreas Vesalius. A Belgian Census (Brussels: Royal Library, 1994), provides a convenient guide to the copies. Cynthia Klestinec, ‘Juan Valverde de (H)Amusco and print culture. The editorial apparatus in vernacular anatomical texts’, in Albert Schirrmeister (ed.), Zergliederungen – Anatomie und Wahrnehmung in der frühen Neuzeit. Zeitsprünge, Forschungen zur frühen Neuzeit, 9, 1–2 (Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann, 2005), 78–94, defends Valverde. Vesalius had little time for the Spaniard, whose reputation as an anatomist he considered unjustified. In general on the notion of plagiarism, see Pamela O. Long, Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

10. Vesalius, Andreas , Epistola rationem modumque propinandi radicis Chynae decocti (Basle: J. Oporinus, 1546), 195; O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 223. Vesalius had long had family connections with the Brussels court through his father, a royal apothecary.

11. For the variant edition, see Michael Horowitz and Jack Collins, ‘A Census of Copies of the First Edition of Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica (1543), with a Note on the Recently Discovered Variant Issue’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 39 (1984) 198–221. For the financial crisis of 1552, see Martin Steinmann, ‘Johannes Oporinus. Ein Basler Buchdrucker um die Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts’, Basler Beiträge zur Geschichtswissenschaft, 105 (1967), 87–8.

12. O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 269–82, is the only detailed survey of the changes, but useful remarks can be found also in Nancy G. Siraisi, Medicine and the Italian Universities (Leiden: Brill, 2001), especially in chs. 12 and 13. The forthcoming Karger edition will include translations of all the substantial changes. For surviving copies, see Stephen N. Joffe, ‘A Census of the Edition of 1555 of Andreas Vesalius’ , International Archives of Medicine, 2 (2009), 26.

13. O’Malley, , ibid., 283–314, covers his last years, but does not mention Gonzaga. Vesalius attended him in Brussels in November 1557, and assisted in his autopsy, see David S. Chambers, ‘A Mantuan in London in 1557: Further Research on Annibale Litolfi’, in Edward Chaney and Peter Mack (eds), England and the Continental Renaissance. Essays in Honour of J. B. Trapp (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1990), 73–108, at 96.

14. The court of Charles V and, from 1556 onwards, his successor Philip II stayed in Brussels until mid-1559 to deal with both the French wars and recalcitrant Netherlanders. The letter of Clusius, Roth, op. cit. (note 1), 243, implies that Vesalius had left by August 1559.

15. Vesalius, Andreas , Anatomicarum Gabrielis Falloppii observationum examen (Venice: F. de’ Franceschi, 1564), 171.

16. Particularly if there were already rumours about the reasons for the pilgrimage. Andreas Dudith strongly doubted the story circulating in Padua in 1582, and ultimately coming from Paré’s De generatione (1573), that it was to atone for an accidental vivisection, see L. Scholzius, Consiliorum et epistolarum medicinalium Ioh. Cratonis a Kraftheim…et aliorum excellentissimorum medicorum ac philosophorum, III (Frankfurt: Wechel, 1592), 301, the earliest printed source to mention Vesalius by name, although his identity is already clear from Paré.

17. O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 306–7; Roth, op. cit. (note 1), 278.

18. The fact that the 1555 Errata contain corrections to pp. 669 and 672 suggests that these pages were lost some time later, perhaps during binding.

19. The cropping certainly took place after a later owner had made his comment on p. 283, for this is also cropped.

20. My transcriptions were initially made from excellent photographs provided by the owner. A later inspection allowed me to check doubtful passages, particularly where the ink had become faint.

21. Multa hic Lugdunensis li(ber) immutauit quae ea ratione (word cropped and illegible and replaced by another illegible word) ibi tradunt, a reference to the Lyons edition (Lyons: J. Tornaesius, 1552), 83, where the chapter is numbered 10. The comment does not fit the Leiden edition of the Opera omnia (J. du Vivié and J and H. Verbeek, 1725), Vol. I, 195, which reprints the 1555 text.

22. Several of the early printings of Latin texts by Vesalius call him Wesalius, as does John Caius, his former flatmate, in his notes on Galen in Eton College, sig. Fc.2.6, but the French spelling is with a ‘V’. The stamped lettering is not as elegant as one might have expected.

23. A flamboyant ‘A’ on the frontispiece could well be the initial letter of an otherwise lost Andreas, but the letter does not entirely correspond to the initial ‘A’ of the ownership mark in two other books from Vesalius’ library (O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), plate 10) or to the signature in known letters.

24. Gerard Vogringic provided me with photographs of the Waller letters, as well as with the detailed comparisons of the hand in both notes and letter that allowed him to identify the annotator. For the Norman notes, see the image in the sale catalogue, Christie’s New York, Sale 8854, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine, 18 March 1998, lot 211. But the single image in the catalogue may not give a full view of the range of scripts used by Vesalius in the volume. For other scripts, see also Hossam Elkhadem, Andreas Vesalius. Experiment en Onderwijs in de Anatomie tijdens de 16e Eeuw (Brussels: Koninklijke Bibliotheek Albert I, 1993), 18–23, 27.

25. The owner of the copy of the 1543 Fabrica, now in the Welch Library at Johns Hopkins University, transcribed all the changes in the 1555 edition, but his enthusiam flagged after Book I and he gave up entirely by Book III. Thomas Lorkyn (1528–1591), Regius Professor of Physics at Cambridge, also wrote copious notes in his copy, Cambridge University Library, sig.N*.1.1 (A), inserting many cross-references and summaries, and using it as a repository for his own anatomical findings, but he plays little or no attention to the language. Lorkyn’s copy is discussed by Kusukawa, Picturing the Book, op. cit. (note 4), in her epilogue, where, 291, n. 10, she also records another much less heavily annotated copy.

26. Sale Catalogue, op. cit. (note 24).

27. O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 269–82. See also Garrison and Hast, op. cit. (note 3).

28. References are given by page and, usually, line. To aid finding a word in the large page, some lines are indicated by their distance from the foot of the page. The following symbols are used in the transcriptions: marks an addition, { } a deletion, (…) the replacement of letters lost in the binding, / a line-break.

29. On p. 452, 30 his initial formulation is altered by replacing ‘Galen’ with ‘him’, and then the sentence is rewritten in a slightly shorter form that still does not agree in wording (although it does in content) with what is given in the Errata.

30. Steinmann, op. cit. (note 11), 38f. and 47f. In general, see Anne M. Blair, Too Much to Know; Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age (Yale: Yale University Press, 2010), 52–5; Anthony T. Grafton, The Culture of Correction (London: The British Library, 2012). For the dates of printing, see O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 270. Steinmann’s calculations from other books suggest that the last two books would have taken around a month to set and the index around 8–10 days.

31. For the background, see Françoise Wacquet, Latin or the Empire of a Sign from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (London: Verso, 2001). Vesalius’ Latin is only briefly mentioned in Wouter Bracke and Herwig Deumens (eds), Medical Latin from the Late Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century (Brussels: Koninklijke Academie voor Geneeskunde van België, 2000), at 49–51.

32. Richardson and Carman, op. cit. (note 3), I, xxv–xxvii.

33. Edelstein, Ludwig , Ancient Medicine (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1967), 441454; Andrea Carlino, ‘Les fondements humanistes de la médecine: rhétorique et anatomie à Padoue vers 1540’, in Andrea Carlino and Alexandre Wenger (eds), Littérature et médecine: approches et perspectives (XVIe–XIXe siècles) (Geneva: Droz, 2007), 25–8. For his acceptance of Arabic authors, see Abdul Haq Compier, ‘Rhazes in the Renaissance of Andreas Vesalius’, Medical History, 56 (2012), 3–26.

34. Pp. 43 A and A; 218 Q; 234, D; 244 u; 248 i. All these have been corrected in the forthcoming Karger edition through digital enhancement of the original images.

35. O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 129, notes a similar correction to the 1543 edition.

36. Celsus interim hanc corporis partem brachium [appellauit] praeter consuetam medicis omnibus rationem appellauit. A similar comment is made on p. 135, 2. See Celsus, De medicina, III, 1, 19–20; 10, 2–3.

37. Hippocrates, p. 18, 9; p. 124, 6, p. 181, 28; Celsus, p. 129, 14; p. 135, 7; Galen, p. 516, bottom; Oribasius, p. 340, 11 from end (but then deleted); Paul, p. 640, 20; Cicero, p. 58, 14.

38. p. 668, 14 from end: vasa simul cum seminis ductibus quo nonnulli de praegnantis venere ridicule solliciti ex testibus in uteri ceruicem praeter veros meatus in illius cornua confingunt . Exactly what Vesalius meant by seminis ductibus is not entirely obvious. Carman, in his preface to the Richardson translation of the Fabrica, Book V, xii, decides that it means the uterine tubes. See Robert Herrlinger and Edith Feiner, ‘Why did Vesalius not Discover the Fallopian Tubes?’, Medical History, 8 (1964), 335–41.

39. p. 721, 24: et prorsus quod sciam , ab aliis scriptoribus neglectum.

40. Quemadmodum hodie adhuc Sceuani Aetiopes {dicto} appellato nobis presbitero Janni Abyssinorum regi subditi, nuper natis puellis carneos istos processus religionis ipsorum iure haud secus prescindunt ac masculis praeputia auferunt, et si interim Christianae {alio} religioni in caeremoniis {alioquin} alias pleraque habeant communia.

41. Siegbert Uhlig and Gernot Bühring, Damian de Góis’ Schrift über Glaube und Sitten der Äthioper, Äthiopische Forschungen 39 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1994), 127, refers to Flavio Biondo, ‘Historiarum quartae decadis liber II’, in B. Nogara (ed.), Studi e Testi 48 (Vatican City, 1927), ch. 42, 25.

42. Damian de Goes, Fides, Mores Religioque Aethiopum (Louvain: R. Rescius, 1540), 70 (available on-line in the edition, (Paris: Wechel, 1541), 69). For some of the religious background, see Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner, ‘Paul and the other: the Portuguese debate on the circumcision of the Ethiopians’, in Verena Böll, Steven Kaplan, Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner and Evgenia Sokolinskaia (eds), Ethiopia and the Missions, Historical and Anthropological Insights (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2005), 31–51.

43. Giovio, Paolo , Historiae sui Temporis (Florence: L. Torrentino, 1550), 304.

44. He had first corrected his earlier (incorrect) reference to Galen’s tract on nerves (signalled also in the Errata).

45. hic ne scilicet planis propemodum superficiebus constans contextus satis dirueretur . The number of successive additions, three in all, is unusual in these notes.

46. E.g magnus, p. 129, 3 from end; p. 145, 28 and 35; p. 177, 3–2 from end; p. 485, 6 from end; p. 493, 6 and 10; crassus, p. 469, 28; p. 478, 33; p. 484, top; p. 486, 26; p. 516, 8 from end; p. 525, 9; amplus, p. 489, 2; p. 492, 25; p. 503, 6 from end; durus, p. 17, 10 from end; insignis, p. 492, 1; p. 496, 7; tenuis, p. 486, 28; exilis, p. 503, 6 from end.

47. p. 788, 17: callosior et veluti membranosior .

48. Quia vero huius humoris dum oculum dissecamus parua & vitrii humoris mole vix comparanda occurrit portio, colligendum est illam magna ex parte spiritu quodam aereaque substantia constare eam sedem occupante, quam aqueo humori inter crystallinum et corneam tunicam pellucentem alioquin vulgo tribuimus. Quamuis enim forte quispiam humorem vitreum ampliorem oculi sedem {implere} quam posteriorem implere hincque crystallinum simul cum vitreo extra centri regionem in anteriori … . There are traces of two or three letters on the line below, which has been lost in the process of binding, but the overall sense is clear. The question of whether there was ‘spirit’ in the eye was hotly debated.

49. Realdo Colombo, De re anatomica (Venice: N. Bevilacqua, 1559), 219: situs quoque eius est anteriora versus, pene in centro oculi. For Platter, Huldrych M. Koelbing, Renaissance der Augenheilkunde, 1540–1630 (Bern and Stuttgart: Verlag Hans Huber, 1967), 68 and 74. One referee points out that, once the bulbus had collapsed after any leakage of the aqueous humour, it would not have been easy to determine the location of the lens.

50. p. 626, 22: (lien) nonnumquam costarum quibus incumbit impressiones referens ; p. 481, 27: parti quae potissimum in muliere posterior existit …illi priuatoque foetus urinae receptaculo inter duo vera illius inuolucra subinde coniuncta . The comments on the foetus are interesting in that this section had been heavily revised in the second edition.

51. p. 638, 12 from end: extruxit, ut quum simul commiscerentur coirentque ac (so?)luti unum animal crearent .

52. On p. 517, 5 he draws a comparison with the visual nerves in a dog and other animals: unaque forsitan expenderunt oris canis aliquotque (for aliquoque?) brutorum processu neruorum visoriorum crassitiem {triplo} vel triplo vinculo (?) turgidaeque admodum et eductae papillae speciem. .

53. On p. 516 the sentence running from conscendere…dicebamus began with angustos iam dictos terminos conscendere incipiunt in cerebri basis medium cessantes. in…cessantes was then deleted and replaced by ad cerebri basim; ad was then in turn deleted and basim replaced by basis before the whole sentence was altered completely and replaced by Non procul ab hac cerebri parte qua angusti ventriculorum termini inter cerebri anfractus (desin)unt (…) que iuxta cerebri basis medium. Transcription is complicated by the crossings out and by the trimming of the margin.

54. p. 515, 6: conspici ac veluti in necessariorum alioqin ossium crassitie inibi sensus {gratis} fere gratia relicto loco ; line 9: instar propriae peculiarisque partis odoribus admittendis forsitan idoneae .

55. p. 516, 26: albus mollisque et nerui in modum longus educitur processus {prodit substantia}.

56. p. 517,top: Quemadmodum vero haec, ita quoque haud negligendum est, quonam pacto isti de quibus agimus processus suis finibus durae membranae {adnascuntur et} cum nulli quapiam penetratione adnascuntur, et quae foramina huius membranae et ossium similes processus admittentibus ad super commemoratas frontis ossis et cuneo correspondentis ossis cauernas pertingunt quo {scriberetur promptius} odores discernentis organi naturam septimo libro {pertractemus} promptius absolutiusque pertractemus. In neruorum namque historia {suffici} sat est dictam seriem explicasse, quos ; then follows line 2. Vesalius’ uncertainties in wording can be seen clearly.

57. p. 65, 14: Imo foraminis huius occasione, liquorum qui ante infunduntur qualitas et interdum ipsa etiam substantia in oris am(pli) /tudinem (?) manare sentiuntur. The cropping of two or three letters in the right margin makes transcription difficult, but the sense of the passage is not affected. Iain Donaldson comments that this would happen only if the eardrum had been perforated and wonders if that was true of Vesalius himself.

58. p. 182, 5 from end: Dein superior cartilago, quae priuatim media in sede versus frontem {instar} propemodum fronticuli gibbum dilatescit molliter dilatatur (all from frontem to dilatatur is then crossed out and replaced by molliter dilatescit). What Vesalius describes as a cartilage may well be the levator muscle, see below, p.

59. p. 4, 6 from end: h]ic quoque palpebrarum extra/…s quibus illae conniuent {ad/…} istae cartilagines harum laxi/(ta)ti ossium instar succurrent et has superiori palpebrae peculiaris est cartilago. Ille mag(is) etiam musculorum insertionem (c)ontinue admittit {Et palpebrarum laxitati continue succurrentes}. Praeterea…. For the significance of this claim by Vesalius, see below, p. 27.

60. p. 139, 14: praeterque quod haec cartilago (lig?)/amenti natura participans ita/ utrimque mollis eleganter (quum (?) licet prompte comprimitur tolliturque rursus) laxam ha(bet?) ossis articulationem, plus in iis illorum motibus dehiscere prohibet .

61. p. 168, 9 from end:et simul laxo utrumque in tibiae flexu motui continuo hac cartilaginis temperie succurvatur .

62. pp. 4, 14–18 and 58, 9. The loss of words in the margin precludes an accurate transcription, but the overall message corresponds to that in the text.

63. p. 132, 11: nam in simii humero hic {hac in parte} aliquid est distinctius . For other references to animals, cf. Vesalius’ annotations on pp. 124, 130, 363, 470.

64. p. 175, 32: ossicula quod etiam universa non sunt ipsa .

65. p. 235, 14: musculus quem interius intercostalibus musculis communicare {nihil prohibet} licet .

66. p. 334, 9 from end: quum inter ilium os et infimam costam velut mollia et ossibus inania destitutaque sunt.

67. p. 196, 3 from end: candescat dein citra submersionem in aquam refrigeretur .

68. p. 287, 6 from end. The sentence Caeterum …deducens is expanded to Caeterum si oculi musculos in ipsa caluaria administrare animus es, posteaque superiorem sinus ipsius quartam trianguli in modum serra ademisti, neruo visorio a calvaria non resecto {ad eum quem primum dixi modum} musculorum capita ab illo sensim auferes, ipsosque ad insertionem deduces.

69. p. 352, 2–5: hos ubi a pectoris osse et cartilaginibus liberaueris cuiusque motus autores sint quique intercostalibus quodammodo admuniculi sint indagaueris, intercostalium musculorum sectionem absolues, corde, pulmone, venis, arteriis, stomacho et siquae alia in thoracis capacitate habentur ablatis.

70. Dan Garrison reminds me the Epistle on the China Root, which will be published in his new English translation by Cambridge University Press in 2012, shows a similarly heavy involvement with the first edition of the Fabrica in the years immediately following its publication. Vesalius’ notes on the Institutiones, above, n. 24, show a similar pattern.

71. Vons, André Vésale, XXXIII, but mistaking the ethnic of the printer (‘from Siena’) for his surname.

72. Vesalius, Andreas , De humani corporis fabrica (Venice: F. de’ Franceschi, 1568).

73. Cushing, Harvey W. , A Bio-bibliography of Andreas Vesalius, 2nd edn (Hamden: Conn.: Archon Books, 1962), 9193 no.VI.A.-4, giving the most detailed account available of this edition; Cockx-Indestege, op. cit. (note 9), no. 34.

74. Vesalius, op. cit. (note 72), sig. * 6v.

75. For example, he does not include the corrections listed in the Errata on p. 9, 32; p. 17, caption, l. 12; p. 632, caption, l. 3; on sig. A 2v. 20 he inserts familiae instead of familia, and on p. 573, 3 relicto instead of relicta. The obvious transposition on p. 155, 15–20 is not made, and the captions on p. 243 are headed DUOCECIMAE. Many of the changes not taken over from the Errata relate to punctuation of the captions, but they are missed nonetheless.

76. O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 289–96, describes succinctly Vesalius’ reactions to Falloppia’s discoveries.

77. Colombo, op. cit. (note 49), 216–7; Vesalus, Examen, 47–8; C. Donald O’Malley, ‘Gabrielle Fallopia’s account of the orbital muscle’, in Lloyd G. Stevenson and Robert P. Multhauf (eds), Medicine, Science and Culture. Historical Essays in Honor of Owsei Temkin (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1968), 76–85.

78. Vesalius, ibid., 24.

79. And particularly if he had a second and complete copy, above, p. . Given the on-going difficulties in the Netherlands, he may also have assumed that Philip II’s stay in Madrid was only temporary.

80. Steinmann, op. cit. (note 11), 113, noting the straitened circumstances of Oporinus’ last years.

81. Carlos Gilly, Die Manuskripte in der Bibliothek des Johannes Oporinus (Basle: Schwabe, 2001), 13 (note 14). The sum of 2582 Gulden, possibly loaned by Vesalius, was higher than most other repayments made by Oporinus in his last years, see Steinmann, op. cit. (note 11), 113. Cf. also O’Malley, op. cit. (note 2), 270, for the costs of publishing the second edition.

82. See the description in the Sale Catalogue, op. cit. (note 24).

83. This is the message of Kusukawa’s Picturing the Book, op. cit.(note 4), as well as of Martin Kemp, “‘The mark of truth”: looking and learning in some anatomical illustrations from the renaissance and eighteenth century’, in William F. Bynum and Roy Porter (eds), Medicine and the Five Senses (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 85–121.

My thanks above all go to Gerard Vogrincic, who invited me to edit the annotations and who provided me with excellent photographs as well as an opportunity to see them in person. Dan Garrison, Malcolm Hast, Sachiko Kusukawa, Claudia Stein and Andrew Wear read drafts of this article and gave me details of their own work in progress. Monica Azzolini and Iain Donaldson answered questions about the Edinburgh copies of the Fabrica. Ueli Dill, Martin Steinmann and Ian Maclean provided helpful advice about Basle book production, and Chris Coppens was a useful guide to matters Belgian. Anonymous readers of this journal raised valuable queries which have clarified my argument. Randall Packard kindly sent me images of the Johns Hopkins copy of the Fabrica for comparison. Gabriella Karger generously arranged for me to attend a meeting to discuss the forthcoming edition of the Garrison and Hast translation, and her production staff, Herbert Waeckerlin and Erich Geschwind, advised about illustrations. Much of this was written in the final days of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, an inimitable institution sadly destroyed. Roger Cooter and Michael Laycock of the former editorial team of this journal gave considerable encouragement. My wife, as always, commented critically on my drafts. Any errors and misperceptions that remain are my own.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Medical History
  • ISSN: 0025-7273
  • EISSN: 2048-8343
  • URL: /core/journals/medical-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed