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human vivisection

A Roman historian of medicine, Celsus, explains the importance of the anatomical studies carried out in Alexandria.

'Herophilus and Erasistratus did anatomical studies in the best possible way, laying open men whilst alive. These were criminals received out of prison. While they were still breathing, the doctors observed parts which beforehand nature had concealed, their position, colour, shape, size, arrangement, hardness, softness, smoothness and whether any part is inserted into or is received into another. For when pain occurs internally, it is impossible for the doctor to learn what hurts the patient, unless he has acquainted himself with the position of each organ. Nor is it, as many people say, cruel that in the execution of criminals (and but a few of them) we should seek remedies for innocent people of all future ages.'

Quoted Ira Rutkow Surgery 1993, pages 28-9

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