chapter  12
Ambroise Pare (1510-1590)
Pages 3

France was in a constant state of transition in the 16th century, trying to gain political and religious control over a collection of medieval states. The medical pro­ fession in Paris reflected the country’s instability as the Crown and Parliament loosely regulated the system that was rigidly divided into three classes. The first class in­ cluded the physicians who controlled the medical schools and guarded the Faculte de Medicine’s rights and privileges. They were churchmen who studied medicine along with Latin, Greek, and mathematics at the universities. Medicine was taught in Latin with emphasis on classical authorities like Hippocrates, Galen, and the translations of Arabic texts. Surgery and anatomy were taught theoretically, with hardly any contact, communication, or experience with patients, and field experi­ ence was dismissed as unreliable knowledge based on chance. Students graduated without performing or even watching a dissection. Their texts were sparsely sprinkled with illustrative diagrams. Upon gaining the status of physician they would treat patients by comparing the symptom reports to ancient textbook lists or, in some instances, diagnosing their patients from a distance.