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Anatomical theater

(843 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
An anatomical theater was the site of public anatomical dissection in the early centuries of the modern period. The concept goes back to Alessandro Benedetti (1445-1525), an Italian physician and professor of surgery and anatomy in Padua [5]. He was probably the first to have a separate wooden structure built for anatomical dissections at the University of Padua (ca. 1490). Benedetti’s successful and influental major work,  Anatomice, sive Historia corporis humani (Venice 1502: “Anatomy, or, History of the Human Body”), probably contributed to the spread of the id…
Date: 2019-10-14

Anatomical pathology

(1,069 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition Anatomical (or Solid) pathology denotes the systematic search for the causes of illness (Greek pathología, i.e. the doctrine of the origin, course and symptoms of diseases) and is based on pathological anatomic changes of specific organs or tissues  (Latin solida, “solid constituents”). It is in opposition to humoral doctrine (Humoralism), which treats the non-fluid morphological substratum of the organism merely as the venue of processes based on humoral physiology.Wolfgang Uwe Eckart 2. Beginnings It was not until the 17th century that medical interest …
Date: 2019-10-14

Blood, circulation of

(1,204 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Theories before Harvey From antiquity into the 17th century, people generally believed that the blood circulated centrifugally in the body, according to the canonical theory of the circulation of the blood of the Greco-Roman physician Galen of  Pergamum. Blood was produced by the liver, passed through the vena cava into the right ventricle, and then passed through the cadiac septum into the left ventricle, whence it was distributed throughout  the body; it was finally dissipated at the periphery …
Date: 2019-10-14

Anatomy

(2,104 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Starting points for early modern anatomy There was certainly no routine prohibition of dissections of human bodies in medieval anatomy. This was not what we might call an autopsia in the modern sense, i.e. in the sense of personal observation and interpretation of the findings of the dissection as actually found, because the self-contained dogma of humoral pathology (doctrine of humours; see also Humoralism) and of the anatomy and physiology associated with this doctrine offered a model of explanation and action that cou…
Date: 2019-10-14

Animal

(5,217 words)

Author(s): Smith, Justin E.H. | Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Natural philosophy 1.1. Distinction from humanDirectly or indirectly, the concept of the animal was frequently contrasted with that of the human in the early modern period [10]. Initially, it was used to define the sphere of philosophical anthropology (Humanity). Only later did “animal” come to denote an object of zoological study (Zoology). This anthropocentric perspective is clearly seen, for instance, in Renaissance printed editions of medieval bestiaries, which present all known species of animals – from the real w…
Date: 2019-10-14

Baths, therapeutic

(2,146 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. From the bath-house to the thermal spring The decline of the medieval urban bathing culture and the souring of its reputation probably came about primarily because of the rapid spread of syphilis from the late 15th century In many places, this led to the closure of town bath-houses (Bathkeeper), which were held to be dangerous reservoirs of infection (Illness). As this was happening, however, rising timber prices stimulated by increasing construction in towns and the growth of mining, which consumed …
Date: 2019-10-14

Addiction

(3,353 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The term addiction (from the Latin addictus, “dedicated/devoted [to a thing]”) was originally a neutral equivalent to “penchant” or “inclination,” before acquiring its modern sense of inner compulsion in the context of opium in the 19th century. The German equivalent, Sucht (from the Gothic  saühts, etymologically related to the English “sick”) is found in glossaries dating back to around the 8th century, and lexicographic evidence shows it to have two fundamental senses up to the 19th century. Originally, it referred to outward…
Date: 2019-10-14

Blood

(3,317 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Jarzebowski, Claudia
1. Medicine 1.1. Humoral pathologyUntil the early 18th century, blood was thought of as the moist, well-tempered “sap that fills the blood vessels and is thought [by physicians] to consist of four particular humors: phlegm, yellow and black bile, and the blood proper” [1]. In the view of humoralism, the humors with their associated qualities (blood: warm, moist; yellow bile: warm, dry; phlegm: cold, moist; black bile: cold, dry) are produced by digestion (Latin coctio, literally “cooking”) of food; they are always present in whole blood in varying proportion. The o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Accident

(1,168 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept and terms The German term for accident,  Unfall (Middle High German unval, ungeval; compare chance; French  accident) means an unforeseen event or misadventure, generally relating to personal injury or material damage, and also military defeats as well as the special life and death circumstances of “famous men,” as for instance in the 1570 German translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De casibus virorum illustrium (orig. 1356-1373) by Hieronymus Ziegler as merckliche und erschröckliche unfahl . verderben unnd Sterben großmächtiger Kayser (“noteworthy and shockin…
Date: 2019-10-14

Naturopathy

(1,022 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. ConceptNaturopathy in the strict sense took shape in the German-speaking world in the early 19th century, inspired by Rousseau’s demand “back to nature” (Rousseauism). It vehemently opposed allopathic school medicine, its dangerous drugs, and its excessive use of bleeding and voiding therapies, and promoted instead a turn to natural methods of healing and living. To begin with, the focus was entirely on hydrotherapy (Baths, therapeutic) and vegetarianism. This core was expanded over the course…
Date: 2020-04-06

Medicine, faculty of

(1,239 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition There were already medical faculties (from the Latin  facultas medica; “medical faculty,” “medical power,” figuratively “medical corporation”) at medieval universities. Within the corporation of the university, they formed an autonomous venue of medical training that awarded medical degrees, that is, essentially the title of licentiate (Latin  licentia doctorandi; “licence to teach”) or a medical doctorate (Latin  doctor medicinae), following the passing of an examination. Later, they also acted as regulatory authorities for medical qual…
Date: 2019-10-14

Natural History School

(973 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The Natural History School (German: Naturhistorische Schule) was a tendency of the first half of the 19th century in clinical medicine, distinguished by its strictly empirical procedures and rejecting on principle the use of general theories of illness (e.g. humoralism, vitalism, Broussaiism, Brunonianism, homeopathy, etc.; cf. Therapeutic concepts). It was therefore in conscious opposition to schools of medical thought based on natural philosophy (e.g. that of Schelling). Instead, it advocat…
Date: 2020-04-06

Organism

(1,837 words)

Author(s): Toepfer, Georg | Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Terminological historyThe word “organism” (from the Greek  órganon/Latin  organum, “implement”, “instrument [musical or surgical]”) first appeared in its Latin form in texts of the high Middle Ages. However, only two attestations of the term exist from before the mid-17th century, one from an alchemical context in the 11th century, the other from the context of church music in the 12th [7. 320]. The term “organism” as a derivative of “organic” and “organ,” both known since Greco-Roman antiquity as terms denoting the living structure of the body and its…
Date: 2020-10-06

Gynecology

(1,945 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The term gynecology is modern, and reflects the late establishment of the specialty at 19th-century medical faculties (Medicine, faculty of). It first emerged in competition with the older and more general term gynaikeía (Greek “women's matters”), only in the early 18th century in the treatise by the Dresden city physician Martin Schurig,  Gynaecologia (Dresden-Leipzig 1730). The term first appears in the title of a German-language textbook only in 1820, with Carl Gustav Carus’ Lehrbuch der Gynaekologie (“Textbook of Gynecology”). During the 16th and 17th ce…
Date: 2019-10-14

Psychiatry

(2,069 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. DefinitionThe term psychiatry (from Greek  psychḗ, “soul,” “mind,” and  iatrós, “physician”) was coined in 1808 as a Greek neologism by Johann Christian Reil, a physician in Halle (originally Psychiaterie [4]; [5]; [12]), in the sense of the art or science of healing the soul or mind. Until well into the 19th century, the term also included a broad spectrum of neurological illnesses such as epilepsy and St. Vitus’ dance ( Huntington’s chorea).The history of psychiatry can be divided into three major periods from its beginnings to the early 20 century [14]; [6]. (1) For the pe…
Date: 2021-03-15

Health

(1,727 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept Until the mid-17th century, the concept of health in the early modern period was still dominated by the ancient doctrine of the humors (humoralism and physiology) and dietetics. In the second half of the 17th century, as humoral physiology lost ground, other ideas of health took its place from the 18th to the early 19th centuries, drawing primarily on mechanistic (iatromechanical), animistic, and vitalistic views of human life in health and illness (Animism; Vitalism). Against the backd…
Date: 2019-10-14

Hospital

(2,061 words)

Author(s): Rotzoll, Maike | Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The word “hospital” derives from “hospitality” (Latin  hospitalitas), a derivation found in various forms in a number of European languages (e.g. German hopitalhûs, Spital, Spittel; French hôpital; Spanish hospital; Italian  ospedale) [2]; [1]. From the outset, the concept reflected a double function of care for the sick and responsibility for all forms of need.Maike Rotzoll 2. Middle Ages The development of the hospital in the medieval west was for the most part closely associated with the principle of Christian caritas (Charity). From the early days of Christian…
Date: 2019-10-14

Homeopathy

(1,089 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. DefinitionHomeopathy is a concept of illness and therapy developed by the German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) based on the ideas of vitalism, though its therapeutic conclusions differ radically from the notions of illness in vitalism and earlier ideas. According Hahnemann’s theory, the holistic physical phenomenon of illness is a “disorder” of the vital force caused by pathogenic stimuli. The physician encourages the vital force in its resistance not – as in conventional medicine (allopathy) – by means of antagonists ( contraria contrariis; “o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Iatrophysics

(765 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. BasicsIatrophysics (from Greek  iatrós, “Arzt”; physis, “inanimate nature”) was a 17th and 18th-century theory and practice of medicine that interpreted all phenomena of health and illness as dependent on the internal physical structure of the body, its external form, and mechanical alterability [5]. With reductionistic simplification, it attempted to apply the findings of the new experimental natural sciences to the realm of life, where everything must also be explicable physically, reconstructible mechanically (iatromechanics), …
Date: 2019-10-14

Humoralism

(867 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Introduction Health and illness in the early modern period up to the mid-17th century were essentially understood, both by academics and the general public, in terms of the ancient theory of humors (humoral physiology/pathology, from Latin humores, “fluids”) and dietetics, and this view survived much longer in popular and alternative medicine. Only as the ideas of humoral physiology were superseded in the second half of the 17th century did other concepts of health emerge in their stead. During the 18th and early 19th centuri…
Date: 2019-10-14
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