Gabriele Fallopio, Operum, quae in Gymnasio Patavino dum rem medicam et chirurgicam … publice docuit (Frankfurt, 1606), title page.
The name of Gabriele Falloppio (1523–62) is familiar to us today from terms such as the Fallopian tubes (examined in the female part of the organs of generation section of this online exhibition). He was one of the most important anatomists in sixteenth-century Europe and it is unsurprising to find an edition of his works in the library of the early eighteenth-century Dublin Physician, Edward Worth (1676–1733). As Mortazavi et al. note, Fallopio had initially studied dissection in his hometown of Modena before moving to the universities of Ferrara and Pisa (where he was professor of anatomy from 1548 to 1551), before taking up the position of Professor of Anatomy, Surgery, and Botany at Padua (1551–62).
Fallopio was a gifted teacher and his fame drew students from across Europe to Padua. Like Vesalius (1514–64) before him, Fallopio was unafraid to challenge the Galenic consensus, or, indeed, the Vesalian consensus, for as Mortazavi et al, note, in his Observationes Anatomicae (Venice, 1562) he was keen to correct errors by Vesalius – a fact not appreciated by the Flemish anatomist! Fallopio’s own contributions were many: among them he contributed to early modern understanding of the muscles of the face and eye, ear, head and neck – indeed he was the first to give a clear description of the cochlea and scala vestibuli.
Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente, Opera chirurgica. Quorum pars prior pentateuchum chirurgicum, posterior operationes chirugicas continet. … Accesserunt huic postremae editioni instrumentoru, quae partim autor, partim alij recens invenere. Item, De abusu cucurbitularum in febribus putridis dissertatio (Padua, 1647), portrait of Fabricius ab Aquapendente.
Hieronymus Fabricius of Acquapendente (1533–1619), succeeded his former teacher (and friend) Fallopio on the latter’s death. Since gaining his medical degree in 1559 he had been filling in for Fallopio during the latter’s absences and so, three years later, in 1565, he was appointed to succeed Fallopio as Professor of Anatomy and Surgery. Fabricius proved to be a brilliant researcher and he is known today as the father of embryology on account of works such as his De formato foetu (Venice, 1600), one of the first books on the subject. He wrote many anatomical textbooks, among them a textnook on the organs of vision, voice and hearing De Visione Vocis Auditus (Venice, 1600) and his De Venarum Ostiolis (Padua, 1603), which included a detailed description of valves in the veins.
Fabricius’ role in building Padua’s anatomical theatre, which opened in 1595, was to prove crucial in attracting new students to the university. As Smith et al, note, it was ‘the first permanent theatre ever designed for public anatomical dissections, thus revolutionizing the teaching of anatomy’. During his long tenure he was also responsible for the tuition of many famous students (including his seventeenth-century successor Adriaan van den Speigel (1578–1625)). Perhaps none was as famous as William Harvey (1578–1657), the discover of the circulation of the blood, whose time at Padua, and in particular Fabricius’ teaching on valves, had greatly influenced his student. As Roberts and Tomlinson note, Fabricius and Giulio Cesare Casseri (fl, 1552–1616), jointly signed Harvey’s doctoral diploma 28 April 1602, Fabricius as Professor of Anatomy and Casseri in his capacity as teacher of anatomy, physic and surgery at Padua. Fabricius’ time at Padua was instrumental in consolidating the reputation of the university.
Giulio Cesare Casseri, De vocis auditusque organis historia anatomica singulari fide methodo ac industria concinnata tractativus duobus explicata ac variis iconibus aere excusis illustrata … (Ferrara, 1601), portrait of Casseri.
Giulio Cesare Casseri’s career at the University of Padua began as a servant of Fabricius of Acquapendente. Clearly his experiences with Fabricius inspired him to choose to study medicine and he duly enrolled at Padua, taking a medical degree sometime around 1580. As Housman et al. note, Casseri continued working as Fabricius’ anatomical dissector while at the same time he began offering private classes to students and at times stood in for Fabricius when the latter was ill. He proved popular with his students, a popularity which jarred on Fabricius when he returned to his position. This academic feud was reflected in their works for though both produced texts on the voice at the same time, neither acknowledged the other’s contributions. In 1604 Casseri again was called on by the university authorities to fill in for Fabricius, who had again fallen ill – and did so to the popular acclaim of his students. The rivalry between the two professors grew so great that in 1609 the Venetian authorities decided, for the first time, to split anatomy and surgery, with Fabricius concentrating on the former and Casseri on the latter – a split which continued until Fabricius’ death in 1619, when the two chairs were joined again and Adriaan van den Spiegel (1578–1625), was appointed. The rivalry continued for on his retirement Fabricius evidently recommended Giulio Cesare Sala as his replacement, rather than the popular Casseri. In January 1616 Casseri reached the pinnacle of his academic career, teaching his first anatomy course in Fabricius’ public theatre. Unfortunately, it proved to be his own anatomy course for he died soon after, on 8 March 1616.
Casseri wrote three books, two of which appeared in his lifetime: De vocis auditusque organis historia anatomica singulari fide methodo ac industria concinnata tractativus duobus explicata ac variis iconibus aere excusis illustrata … (Ferrara, 1601), a text on the organs of voice and hearing, explored elsewhere in this exhibition; Pentaestheseion, hoc est de quinque sensibus liber (Venice, 1609), which Worth did not collect; and Tabulae anatomicae, a text published after his death and which was included in Worth’s copy of Adriaan van den Spiegel’s Opera quae extant omnia ex recensione Joh. Antonidae vander Linden (Amsterdam, 1645). In this exhibition we have concentrated on Casseri’s comments on human anatomy but as his book on the organs of the voice and hearing and his Tabulae anatomicae makes clear, he was a noted exponent of comparative anatomy also. One of Casseri’s most famous students was the Danish anatomist, Caspar Bartholin the Elder (1585–1629), father of the even more famous anatomist Thomas Bartholin (1616–80), whose work on the lymphatic system and teaching at Copenhagen is explored elsewhere in this exhibition. Riva et al, report that Caspar Bartholin ‘held Casserius in the highest esteem’ and that Caspar provided a laudatory poem for Casseri’s second work, Pentaestheseion, hoc est de quinque sensibus liber (Venice, 1609). In the above portrait we see Casseri dissecting a hand, possibly a reference to his discovery of the lumbrical muscles of the hand. This was but one of the many anatomical discoveries made by this gifted anatomist.
Text: Dr Elizabethanne Boran, Librarian of the Edward Worth Library, Dublin.
Housman, Brian, et al., ‘Giulio Cesare Casseri (c. 1552–1616): The servant who became an anatomist’, Clinical Anatomy, 27 (2014), 675–80.
Mortazavi, M.M. et al., ‘Gabriele Fallopio (1523–1562) and his contributions to the development of medicine and anatomy’, Childs Nerv. Syst., 29, no. 6 (2013), 877–80.
Riva, Alessandro et al., ‘Iulius Casserius (1552–1616): The self-made anatomist of Padua’s Golden Age’, Anatomical Record (New Anat.), 265 (2001), 168–75.
Roberts, K.B. and J.D.W. Tomlinson, The Fabric of the Body. European Traditions of Anatomical illustration, (Oxford, 1992).
Smith, Sean, B. et al., ‘Hieronymous Fabricius Ab Acquapendente (1533–1619)’, Clinical Anatomy, 17, no 7 (2004), 540–43.
Stolberg, Michael, ‘Learning anatomy in late sixteenth-century Padua’, History of Science, 56, no. 4 (2018), 381–402.
Wysocki, Michal et al., ‘Iulius Casserius: revolutionary anatomist, teacher and pioneer of the sixteenth and seventeenth century’, Anal. Sci. Int., 91 (2016), 217–25.
Żytkowski, Andrzej and Jerzy Walocha, ‘Anatomical studies on larynx and voice production in historical perspective’, Polia Medica Cracoviensia, LX, no. 3 (2020), 85–98.
 Mortazavi, M.M. et al., ‘Gabriele Fallopio (1523–1562) and his contributions to the development of medicine and anatomy’, Childs Nerv. Syst., 29, no. 6 (2013), 878.
 Ibid., 879.
 Smith, Sean, B. et al., ‘Hieronymous Fabricius Ab Acquapendente (1533–1619)’, Clinical Anatomy, 17, no. 7 (2004), 540.
 Roberts, K.B. and J.D.W. Tomlinson, The Fabric of the Body. European Traditions of Anatomical illustration, (Oxford, 1992), p. 259.
 Michael Stolberg, in examining the lecture notes of a German medical student, Johann Konrad Zinn (1571–1636), who studied at Padua between 1593 and 1595, makes the important point that such private demonstrations were often more useful to aspiring students as they could see what was happening more easily than at the bigger public demonstrations. On this see Stolberg, Michael, ‘Learning anatomy in late sixteenth-century Padua’, History of Science, 56, no. 4 (2018), 381–402.
 Riva, Alessandro et al., ‘Iulius Casserius (1552–1616): The self-made anatomist of Padua’s Golden Age’, Anatomical Record (New Anat.), 265 (2001), 172.
 Ibid., 173.