Le Maistre en Chirurgie (1735) - Annotations by Laurent Verduc, (?-1703)

Guy de Chauliac (a.k.a. Guido or Guigo de Cauliaco (1300 – 1368)


Le Maistre en Chirurgie (1735) - Annotations by Laurent Verduc, (?-1703)

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. He was born in Chaulhac in the diocese of Mende. Trained in Medicine in Toulouse, Montpellier, Paris, and Bologna (a student of Mondino de Luzzi), his text was used for centuries. 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, 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. Chauliac made errors that were partially corrected and annotated in French translations like Joubert (we have a 1584 copy) and two copies of Laurent Verduc, including one from 1735 (this copy) and one from 1740. 

Laurent Verduc (d.1703) was a sworn surgeon at the Collège Saint Côme in Paris. According to the Heirs of Hippocrates, "the Laurent family of French surgeons were famous. They took it upon themselves to edit a classic French work by the 14th-century Montpellier Surgeon Guy de Chauliac. They reworked it into a text used in the 17th century as a textbook for surgeons preparing to pass their final master's examination. The book is reformulated as question and answers, and a candidate was expected to know all the answers to qualify for the title of Chirurgien Jurée. It was the way surgery was taught at the Collège Saint Côme.

La Chirurgia Magna, also known as Guidon, Chauliac's main work, covers anatomy, wounds, ulcers, fractures, gout, plague, ringworm, hernias), and compounded medications. Chirurgia Magna is divided into theory and practice. The former includes a proper knowledge of anatomy. Chauliac thoroughly reviews the available knowledge from ancient Greek, Roman, and Arab physicians. His style is clear and precise, a reason for his widespread success. In the first chapter, Chauliac defines surgery as part of medicine [which] heals men through incisions and cauterizations, putting bones back into place and performing "[…] other hand operations. Chauliac warns that a good surgeon must be knowledgeable, experienced, ingenious, inventive, wise, and moderate. (Ref: Livia Rapatel, at https://bibulyon.hypotheses.org/12757). 

The Master of Surgery, or the complete summary of the surgery of Guy De Chauliac by Laurent Verduc, was published first in Liège in 1704. Our copies are the fourth and sixth editions (1735 and 1740) of a prevalent text published by Verduc's son, Laurent.

Digital Version