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Table of Contents
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-70

Essays in the History of Medicine

Exhibition and Publicity Department, Shanghai TCM Museum, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China

Date of Web Publication19-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Lei Xu
Shanghai TCM Museum, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CMAC.CMAC_23_19

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Professor Karl Sudhoff had spent most of his career time researching the history of medical development in medieval Europe. The book collects the source fragment of the evidence of Professor Sudhoff's job.

Keywords: Essays in the Histoyr of Medicine, hygiene, Karl Sudhoff, medical history, medieval Europe

How to cite this article:
Xu L. Essays in the History of Medicine. Chin Med Cult 2019;2:69-70

How to cite this URL:
Xu L. Essays in the History of Medicine. Chin Med Cult [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Feb 22];2:69-70. Available from: http://www.cmaconweb.org/text.asp?2019/2/2/69/260709

Essays in the History of Medicine[1] was written by the German historian of medicine Karl Sudhoff M.D.. The book was translated into English by many people, prefaced by F.H. Garrison M.D., and published in 1926 [Figure 1]. The book was collected by the first curator of Shanghai Museum of TCM, Academician Wang Jimin, in the 30s of last century, as an interesting evidence of the in-depth study of the medical history and culture about Europe before and after the Middle Ages.
Figure 1: Inside front cover of the History of Medicine

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Karl Sudhoff was the professor of Medical History at the University of Leipzig during 1895–1924.[2] In his long educational career, he had focused on certain topics, most were about the medieval medical environment in Europe, and he would give a summary of his research on each topic [Figure 2]; therefore, we have this essay book [Figure 3] and [Figure 4] today.
Figure 2: Content of the History of Medicine

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Figure 3: Cover of the History of Medicine

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Figure 4: Cover

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According to F.H. Garrison, the Surgeon General of Army Medical Museum and Library of the USA in 1925, who had composed the foreword and biographical sketch for this book, Professor Sudhoff had obtained “massive achievement in the history of medicine, a prodigious lifework which has not been approached in variety, extent and importance by that of any other medical historian of the past or present.”

F.H. Garrison M.D., had listed the scientific achievements of investigation of Professor Sudhoff, let's take a look following the order of importance [Figure 5] and [Figure 6].
Figure 5: Goethe (1832)

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Figure 6: Goethe (1828)

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First of all, Paracelsus Studies. Before Professor Sudhoff's study, Paracelsus was regarded as a mystic or mountebank in the Middle Ages. Through the deep excavation by Sudhoff, a historical bibliography was published. In the bibliography contents, it enumerates the medical achievement of Paracelsus traced by the year: the treaties on open wounds (1529), on syphilis (1530), on the mineral bath at Pfeffers (1535), etc. The enormous popularity of Paracelsus who was a “people's physician” in a sense never realized before is evidenced by all records in the publications.

Second, Basil Valentine Hoax. Before Sudhoff's publication of Paracelsus bibliography, Basil Valentine was supposed to be an actual monk of the fifteenth century who was the discoverer of some chemical elements. Sudhoff found that Basil Valentine is a fictional character in the book of the seventeenth century by Johann Tholde.

Third, Iatromathematicians of 15th and 16th centuries. Thispart is quitesimilar as TCM. Iatromathematicians means the application of astrology to medicine. Throughout the research on Paracelsus who was regarded as the “father of astrological medicine,” Sudhoff believed that the Iatromathematicians becomes the strict analog of the iatrochemist of the 16th century.

Fourth, Study in the anatomy of the Middle Ages.

Fifth, Researches in the History of Hygiene. Comparing the perfunctory histories of hygiene in any modern script with Sudhoff's Dresden Catalogue (1911), you would perceive at once that the history of hygiene and the history of medicine are two entirely different subjects.

Sixth, German Medical Incunabula. Sudhoff's academic research and methodology have laid the foundation for the future research in German medical history and built a framework for research methods since him [Figure 3] and [Figure 5].

Seventh, Studies in Alexandrian Medicine. It is the investigation on the cultural aspects of Greek medicine in Alexandrian period, including the social status of physicians and the ritual of temple.

Sudhoff's studies and researches also involved Ancient Balneology (the custom of bath); Manuscript of pest examination; Early History of Syphilis; Medical School in Salerno of Middle Age [Figure 7];and History of Dentistry and other minor contribution.
Figure 7: Salerno – Medieval health resort and medical school

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Let's go through the directory, to find out the hard achievement of the respective medical historian.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Sudhoff K. Essays in the History of Medicine. New York: Medical Life Press; 1926.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sudhoff K, Hemmeter JC. Disease Demonology and Healing Customs of the Teutons. Whitefish, Montana: Literary Licensing, LLC; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 2


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7]


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