Writing a history of anatomy is rather like writing one of infectious disease. In the latter case the historian can be tempted to see the pathogen as the ultimate reality and accordingly work out how people in the past responded to its manifestations. A commentary on a medical textbook that contains some anatomy, full of disputed questions and designed to generate the best therapy, naturally produces a view of the body different from that of an explicitly philosophical text centring on nature's providence. The bulk of Gabriel de Zerbi's anatomical textbook is divided into sections headed Textus and Additiones. The 'text' is designed to be read in conjunction with the dissection of the body, and the 'additions' in moments in between. It was then, designed as a guide to practice, perhaps at the public anatomy which said so much about university medicine.