Digital Highlights: Medical Education, circa 1900

Reproduction of papyrus page from "History of Medicine."

The University of Edinburgh has a long and distinguished history as a school of medicine. In 1900, they published a History of Medicine: Syllabus and Specimen Extracts, combining what we would think of now as a schedule of lectures with the primary source documents (in modern terms) to be used and discussed in the class.

The lectures included in this volume are for the winter session only and stop in about 200 A.D. with a discussion of Galen. Presumably lectures in other terms would cover more recent developments! The lectures cover biographical and historical topics as well as those related to the history of medicine, surgery, and disease, including the life and work of Hippocrates, quacks, the use of ligatures, and medicine among primitive peoples.

The primary source materials contained in the rest of the volume were presumably meant to supplement information given in lectures or, perhaps, to provide fodder for discussions, whether between students or in the classroom. Comrie, the lecturer credited with the creation of the volume, included some texts in their original languages, including the reproduction of the papyrus at right and the original Greek of Homer and Plato. (Translations are on the facing pages.)

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