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Very often, descriptions of the scientific discovery of the lymphatic system start with Gaspare Aselli, probably because of his so captivating account. Nevertheless, there was prior and even very old evidence of the lymphatic vessels, which was of course known to Aselli himself, as he cited most of these antique references. In fact, the first insights were contributed by the Hippocratic School. The Alexandrian School added quite a lot but unfortunately most of that knowledge isn't extant and can only be appreciated by translations or citations by other authors such as Galen. The 'dark' middle ages didn't add to the anatomical knowledge of the lymphatics, and only the rise of the Renaissance brought new insights. Even at that time, Aselli was not the first to identify at least some components of the lymphatic system, but he was actually the first to present a proper account in a book dedicated to the "lacteal veins". Afterwards the interest rose enormously and cumulated in one of the first priority - or plagiarism - disputes, the Rudbeck-Bartholin feud. Surprisingly, William Harvey, the discoverer of the systemic blood circulation, ignored, at least in part, the progress of the discoveries in lymphatic circulation. This narrative review tries to summarize the major contributions to the anatomical knowledge of the lymphatic system from the ancient times up to the end of the European Renaissance.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Annals of anatomy = Anatomischer Anzeiger : official organ of the Anatomische Gesellschaft
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A species of European freshwater LEECHES used for BLOODLETTING in ancient times and also for LEECHING in modern times.
Geographical sites known to be extant in a remote period in the history of civilization, familiar as the names of ancient countries and empires.
The period of history before 500 of the common era.
The study of ancient Greek and Roman literature, including grammar, etymology, criticism, literary history, and language and linguistic history.
The human being as a non-anatomical and non-zoological entity. The emphasis is on the philosophical or artistic treatment of the human being, and includes lay and social attitudes toward the body in history. (From J. Cassedy, NLM History of Medicine Division)