Medicine and Disease

Ancient Medicine

What advances were made in medicine during the Renaissance?

The chief advance of the Renaissance (1350–1600) was an improved understanding of the human anatomy. This knowledge was the direct result of dissection, which was prohibited during the Middle Ages (500–1350). The scientific spirit of the Renaissance saw those laws relaxed, and researchers were free to dissect human corpses for study.

Among those who practiced dissection was Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). While the Italian artist may be better known for the Mona Lisa, he also contributed greatly to the understanding of human anatomy, producing more than 750 anatomical drawings as a result of his studies in dissection.


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