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December 1966

Elizabethan Military Science: The Books and the Practice.

Arch Intern Med. 1966;118(6):613. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.00290180089021

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Professor Webb, who has written several scholarly accounts of the military arts and practices of the Elizabethan period in England, includes in this volume some observations of military medicine. One finds out how remarkably informal were the arrangements for hiring or hijacking surgeons to follow Queen Elizabeth's troops to Ireland, or for the wars in the low countries, or to work in the Royal Navy. Even before the days of the Spanish Armada, the navy had become an increasingly important element in the protection of Britain and in the development of its overseas dominions. It is not altogether clear whether the almost scandalously low pay was responsible for the fact that a good many ostensible surgeons and physicians were, in fact, frauds who had no training. They practiced by hook or crook.

Manuals for military medical practice and standard textbooks of the day, particularly those of surgical procedures like amputations

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