Annotations de M Laurens Joubert sur toute la chirurgie de M. Guy de Chauliac (Guy de Chauliac’s Surgery - Edited and translated by Laurens Joubert) 1584

Laurens Joubert

Laurens Joubert


Laurent Joubert was an illustrious French physician born in Dauphine, southern France, 175 miles north of Montpellier where he studied medicine. In 1556, at age 27 he succeeded his teacher, Guillome Rondelet as Chancellor of the Medical Faculty. Throughout his career he became royal physician to the queen consort, Catherine de Medici, wife of Henry the II and their son, king Henry III. He died near Montpelier.

Joubert's academic work includes debunking popular superstitions (Erreurs Populaires, 1578). But his main accomplishment was his French edited translation of the 14th century Latin work, Chirurgia Magna (the book in our collection) of the Montpellier surgeon, Guy de Chauliac (1300-1368). Joubert’s translated and annotated version had seen at least 10 editions in the next 100 years. Chirurgia Magna was the most important surgical text for 300 years, but it was inaccessible to those not versed in Latin. Joubert write in French, a trend started by the royal surgeon, Ambroise Pare (1510-1590).

Guy de Chauliac

Guy de Chauliac (a.k.a. Guido or Guigo de Cauliaco

(1300 – 1368)

Guy de Chauliac was the most influential physician and surgeon of the 14th century, author of Chirurgia Magna. Trained in Medicine in Toulouse, Montpellier, Paris and Bologna, he became the most influential surgeon of his time. Invited to Avignon by the Pope he became personal physician to Clement VI, Innocent VI and Urban V. His Chirugia Magna was written in 1363, five years before his death. After the printing press was introduced in 1450, his work was printed in 1493 and translated into several languages including French (the current work), English, Dutch and Italian. His work reflects the sum of those before him including, Hippocrates, Celsus, Galen and Avicenna. A traditional follower of Galenic medicine, de Chauliac never questioned the veracity of those described in his predecessors’ work. De Chauliac made errors that were partially corrected and annotated in this French translation of Joubert.

The volume in our collection describes common surgical procedures such as bloodletting, cauterization, trepanation, but also suturing and bandages but most importantly the instruments used in these procedures. It contains 49 original woodcuts including surgical instruments such as nasal and oral retractors (p384-5), cannulas, catheters, suturing tools, instruments to remove stones, elevators, drilling tools (p388) and trephines (p390). Some instruments were described prior by Abulcasis (p395), others were invented by de Chauliac (hand drill, p393). Several illustrations were inserted into this volume, credited to Ambroise Pare, such as those used for tooth extractions (p395 and 397).

Digital Version

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