Andreas Vesalius Quotes

Who on Earth is Andreas Vesalius?

Andreas Vesalius was a 16th-century Flemish anatomist, physician, and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, 'De Humani Corporis Fabrica'.

Fun fact: Vesalius was known for digging up corpses for research.

Born December 31, 1514
Died October 15, 1564

Books by Andreas Vesalius


Best 19 Quotes by Andreas Vesalius

“Aristotle and many others say men have more teeth than women; it is no harder for anyone to test this than it is for me to say it is false, since no one is prevented from counting teeth.”

Andreas Vesalius

“Aristotle in particular, and quite a few others, thought that the nerves took origin from the heart.”

Andreas Vesalius

“Great harm is caused by too wide a separation of the disciplines which work toward the perfection of each individual art, and much more by the meticulous distribution of the practices of this art to different workers.”

Andreas Vesalius

“I am not accustomed to saying anything with certainty after only one or two observations.”

Andreas Vesalius

“I could have done nothing more worthwhile than to give a new description of the whole human body, of which nobody understood the anatomy, while Galen, despite his extensive writings, has offered very little on the subject.”

Andreas Vesalius

“Men today who have had an irreproachable training in the art are seen to abstain from the use of the hand as from the plague, and for this very reason, lest they should be slandered by the masters of the profession as barbers. For it is indeed above all things the wide prevalence of this hateful error that prevents us even in our age from taking up the healing art as a whole, makes us confine ourselves merely to the treatment of internal complaints, and, if I may utter the blunt truth once for all, causes us, to the great detriment of mankind, to study to be healers only in a very limited degree.”

Andreas Vesalius

"De Humani Corporis Fabrica" Quotes

“As for Galen’s netlike plexus, I do not need to pass on a lot of misinformation about it here, as I am quite sure that I have examined the whole system of the cerebral vessels. There is no occasion for making things up, since we are certain that Galen was deluded by his dissection of ox brains and described the cerebral vessels, not of a human but of oxen.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“At this point, however, I have no intention whatever of criticizing the false teachings of Galen, who is easily first among the professors of dissection, for I certainly do not wish to start off by gaining a reputation for impiety toward him, the author of all good things, or by seeming insubordinate to his authority. For I am well aware how upset the practitioners (unlike the followers of Aristotle) invariably become nowadays, when they discover in the course of a single dissection that Galen has departed on two hundred or more occasions from the true description of the harmony, function, and action of the human parts, and how grimly they examine the dissected portions as they strive with all the zeal at their command to defend him. Yet even they, drawn by their love of truth, are gradually calming down and placing more faith in their own not ineffective eyes and reason than in Galen’s writings.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“By not first explaining the bones, anatomists delay the inexperienced student and, because of the difficulty of the subject, deter him from a very worthy examination of the works of God.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“For, however much we may clench our teeth in anger, we cannot but confess, in opposition to Galen’s teaching but in conformity with the might of Aristotle’s opinion, that the size of the orifice of the hollow vein at the right chamber of the heart is greater than that of the body of the hollow vein, no matter where you measure the latter. Then the following chapter will show the falsity of Galen’s view that the hollow vein is largest at the point where it joins the hump of the liver.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“Galen never inspected a human uterus.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“How many things have been accepted on the word of Galen.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“I have done my best to this single end, to aid as many as possible in a very recondite as well as laborious matter, and truly and completely to describe the structure of the human body which is formed not of ten or twelve parts – as it may seem to the spectator – but of some thousands of different parts.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“I strive that in public dissection the students do as much as possible so that if even the least trained of them must dissect a cadaver before a group of spectators, he will be able to perform it accurately with his own hands; and by comparing their studies one with another they will properly understand, this part of medicine.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“I strive that in public dissection the students do as much as possible.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“In our age nothing has been so degraded and then wholly restored as anatomy.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“It was above all in the period after the devastating incursions of the Goths that all branches of knowledge which previously had flourished gloriously and been practiced in the proper manner, began to deteriorate. This happened first of all in Italy where the most fashionable physicians, spurning surgery as did the Romans of old, assigned to their servants such surgical work as their patients seemed to require and merely exercised a supervision over them in the manner of architects... that the art of medicine went to ruin.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“Nature, the parent of all things, designed the human backbone to be like a keel or foundation. It is because we have a backbone that we can walk upright and stand erect. But this was not the only purpose for which Nature provided it; here, as elsewhere, she displayed great skill in turning the construction of a single member to a variety of different uses.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica

“Passing over the other arts in silence, I shall speak briefly of that which concerns the health of mankind; indeed, of all the arts the genius of man has discovered it is by far the most beneficial and of prime necessity, although difficult and laborious.”

Andreas Vesalius
De Humani Corporis Fabrica