©Wellcome Library, London

Mondino de'Luzzi was born into a medical family at Bologna and became professor of medicine there. His book, Anatomia Mundini (c. 1316), was a practical guide to human dissection, setting out the order in which the body should be dissected. The abdominal cavity, being the fastest to putrefy, was to be tackled first, followed by the thorax (chest cavity) and brain. Despite the fact that the manual perpetuated anatomical errors derived from the animal dissections of Galen and later Arab physicians, its first printed version of 1478 was followed by at least 40 editions.

Oil painting by Ernest Board (1877-1934).