The dawn of the seventeenth century called into existence a new era in medicine—the reformation of anatomy. Western Europe, emerging from the intellectual darkness of the Middle Ages, awoke to the Renaissance; and medicine, with the other branches of knowledge, was invested with a new significance and a new potentiality. Free thought and free inquiry took the place of blind credulity. Truths that had been monopolized by an exclusive caste for centuries became the common property of all that were able to grasp them. This great humanistic struggle for a new birth of intellectual, esthetic and spiritual aspiration revolutionized every department of science, and nowhere did it work greater changes than in the field of anatomy.
The anatomy of the schools was still that of Galen, and it remained for Andreas Vesalius to release the subject from the theologic idea of sanctity and to uphold the right of free
FRANK M. MEDICAL INSTRUCTION IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY. JAMA. 1915;LXIV(17):1373-1380. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570430005002