open access

Vol 73, No 3 (2014)
REVIEW ARTICLES
Published online: 2014-09-05
Submitted: 2014-02-04
Accepted: 2014-02-24
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Auditorium Anatomicum and Theatrum Anatomicum in Gdansk

A. Szarszewski, M. Bogotko-Szarszewska
DOI: 10.5603/FM.2014.0039
·
Folia Morphol 2014;73(3):239-246.

open access

Vol 73, No 3 (2014)
REVIEW ARTICLES
Published online: 2014-09-05
Submitted: 2014-02-04
Accepted: 2014-02-24

Abstract

The widespread interest in anatomy in the 16th-century Europe echoed in Gdansk (Poland), where in 1552 anatomy was postulated as one of the subjects at the Protestant Academic Gymnasium. This demand was satisfied in 1568, 10 years after the opening of the school. Auditorium anatomicum, one of the early institutions of its kind in Europe, became a research centre before 1616 and its founding was closely connected with the activity of Joachim Oelhaf (1570–1630). The first (supposedly) public dissection of a man’s head took place in 1605. In 1613 Oelhaf conducted an autopsy on a child with multiple congenital defects, which was probably the first public dissection in Central Europe. Auditorium’s further development is attributed to Laurentius Eichstadt (1596–1660). Besides regular classes on anatomy, he performed three public autopsies at the auditorium (1651 and 1655), similarly to Georg Seger (1629–1678), Johannes Glosemeyer (1664–1711) and Johann Adam Kulmus (1689–1745). The dissections were solemn ceremonies attended by the municipal authorities. Auditorium functioned until 1741, when it was allocated for other purposes. Consequently, Gdansk was deprived of a permanent dissection room. Theatrum anatomicum was temporarily arranged in the Wide Gate but soon closed for financial reasons. An attempt to locate it in the Green Gate also failed. In 1778 autopsies were performed in the Bell-Founder’s Gate. The gate, however, was demolished in 1803, and when Ephraim Philipp Blech (1757–1812), the last professor of anatomy, died no one was appointed to the vacancy. Eventually, the Gymnasium closed in 1817.

Abstract

The widespread interest in anatomy in the 16th-century Europe echoed in Gdansk (Poland), where in 1552 anatomy was postulated as one of the subjects at the Protestant Academic Gymnasium. This demand was satisfied in 1568, 10 years after the opening of the school. Auditorium anatomicum, one of the early institutions of its kind in Europe, became a research centre before 1616 and its founding was closely connected with the activity of Joachim Oelhaf (1570–1630). The first (supposedly) public dissection of a man’s head took place in 1605. In 1613 Oelhaf conducted an autopsy on a child with multiple congenital defects, which was probably the first public dissection in Central Europe. Auditorium’s further development is attributed to Laurentius Eichstadt (1596–1660). Besides regular classes on anatomy, he performed three public autopsies at the auditorium (1651 and 1655), similarly to Georg Seger (1629–1678), Johannes Glosemeyer (1664–1711) and Johann Adam Kulmus (1689–1745). The dissections were solemn ceremonies attended by the municipal authorities. Auditorium functioned until 1741, when it was allocated for other purposes. Consequently, Gdansk was deprived of a permanent dissection room. Theatrum anatomicum was temporarily arranged in the Wide Gate but soon closed for financial reasons. An attempt to locate it in the Green Gate also failed. In 1778 autopsies were performed in the Bell-Founder’s Gate. The gate, however, was demolished in 1803, and when Ephraim Philipp Blech (1757–1812), the last professor of anatomy, died no one was appointed to the vacancy. Eventually, the Gymnasium closed in 1817.

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Keywords

anatomical theatre, anatomy teaching, Gdansk Academic Gimnasium, renaissance and early modern medicine

About this article
Title

Auditorium Anatomicum and Theatrum Anatomicum in Gdansk

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 73, No 3 (2014)

Pages

239-246

Published online

2014-09-05

DOI

10.5603/FM.2014.0039

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2014;73(3):239-246.

Keywords

anatomical theatre
anatomy teaching
Gdansk Academic Gimnasium
renaissance and early modern medicine

Authors

A. Szarszewski
M. Bogotko-Szarszewska

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