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Online ISSN 1827-1847
HISTORY OF VASCULAR SURGERY: PERSONALITIES, TECHNIQUES, TURNING POINTS
From the Department of Vascular Surgery University of Pavia, Italy Division of Vascular Surgery, Polo Universitario Istituto di Cura, Città di Pavia
Miguel Servet y Rives (Michele Serveto), a Spaniard from Saragossa who was born in 1510 and was burnt at the stake in 1543 by the Inquisition, remains one of the most mysterious and fascinating figures of the 16th century. A theologian, philosopher, geographer, astronomer, astrologer and physician, he embodies the purest and most complete expression of Renaissance man projected towards new faiths, in every field. While still a young man, his inquiring and lively mind led him to write “Trinitatis erroribus” whose contents immediately resulted in an inquisitorial trial and subsequent condemnation. The author was forced to take refuge in Lyons where he started his medical studies. He studied medicine under Jacob Dubois (Sylvius) in Paris, and it is from this date that his friendship with Vesalius also dates. The meeting of these two lively minds laid the early foundations for the future Galenic revolution. Serveto then moved to Vienne, a city in the Dauphiné, where he worked as a doctor without abandoning his theological and philosophical studies. He entered into a long correspondence with Calvin, but their ideas and characters were radically different: as a result of this clash, Calvin himself anonymously denounced Serveto’s book “Christianismi restitutio” to the Inquisition. He was imprisoned but managed to escape to Geneva where he was recaptured, tried and sentenced to the stake. In this last book, written against a theological background, Serveto dedicates six pages to his intuitions regarding the pulmonary circulation, overthrowing Galenic dogma on the subject. The description of the lesser circulation is analytical and precise, starting from the presumption that there were no pores in the interventricular septum, as was thought at the time. Above all, his intuition was opposed to the theories of Realdo Colombo, who despite being more accurate than the Spanish author, published his data posthumously in 1559.
language: English, Italian