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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502


SCHUMACHER, Gert-Horst. Theatrum Anatomicum in History and Today. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2007, vol.25, n.1, pp.15-32. ISSN 0717-9502.

Human cadaveric dissection was introduced in Alexandria around 300 B.C. performed by Herophilos (335-255) for 30 or 40 years. Then it stopped, until Vesalius (1514-1564) began his work during the Renaissance in the Occident. He replaced the dominating theories of Galen (130-201), who had gained his knowledge from animal sections. In the 14th and 15th century human dissections were arranged in small makeshift rooms. Early designs of anatomical theatre were prepared by Alexander Benedictas from Padua 1497 and Carotas Stephanus from Paris 1564. The 1st temporary anatomical theatres arose in Italy in the 16th century, where the term Teatrum Anatomicum came from. In 1594 the 1 st permanent anatomical theatre was opened in Padua, that became the model for many anatomical buildings. A most representative type was established in Bologna 1649, but the 1st solitary anatomical theatre originated from Paris 1694. Progress of anatomical knowledge gave birth to the foundation of anatomical institutes in some European countries during the 18th century. They arose in different architecture. Common to all of them was the separation between teaching and research facilities. The stylistic elements came from the axial type, e.g. the Senckenberg Institute in Frankfurt 1776 and the institute of Dorpat (1803-1825/27) and from the Sommering type the institute in Greifswald (1854/55). Progress of sciences in the 19th century gave impulses for many architectural solutions, this was the German-European type and the Anglo-Saxon-American type. Technical progress of audio-visual equipment caused a new start for the restoration of the auditory to an "Spectatorium" 1872. The auditory was displaced from its central position and changed to a cinema with audio-visual equipment. This was once and for all the end of the traditional eatrum Anatomicum

Keywords : Medical history; Herophilos; Human anatomical dissection; Galen; Vesalius.

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