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Dissection in Classical Antiquity
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Book description

Dissection is a practice with a long history stretching back to antiquity and has played a crucial role in the development of anatomical knowledge. This absorbing book takes the story back to classical antiquity, employing a wide range of textual and material evidence. Claire Bubb reveals how dissection was practised from the Hippocratic authors of the fifth century BC through Aristotle and the Hellenistic doctors Herophilus and Erasistratus to Galen in the second century AD. She focuses on its material concerns and social contexts, from the anatomical subjects (animal or human) and how they were acquired, to the motivations and audiences of dissection, to its place in the web of social contexts that informed its reception, including butchery, sacrifice, and spectacle. The book concludes with a thorough examination of the relationship of dissection to the development of anatomical literature into Late Antiquity.


‘This book fills a large gap by investigating Greek and Roman ideas about anatomy from early Greece until late Antiquity together in their cultural and historical contexts. It combines a refreshingly critical attitude to the sources with a clear and elegant exposition of the development of early Western ideas about the structures and workings of the body.'

Vivian Nutton - UCL

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