The Most Excellent Worckes of Chirurgery made and set forth by maister John Vigon, head Chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, translated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and unknowen symples, belongynge unto the arte.
Imprynted by Edward Whytchurch, 1550.
Vigo was an "Italian surgeon from Genoa who came to Rome during the time of Michelangelo and was surgeon to Pope Julius II in 1503. He gave an account of the first epidemic of syphilis in Europe in Practica in arte chirurgica copiosa printed in 1515 and running to 52 editions" (Dictionary of the History of Medicine, p. 750).
It is the only work before Pare's time which deals with the two great problems of Rennaissance surgery, epidemic syphilis and wounds from fire arms. Vigo, first surgeon to Pope Julius II, 1503 was one of the first physicians to mention syphilis. The translator Bartholomew Traherin was with Bullinger at Zuich, entered Cromwell's service 1539, joined Calvin at Geneva 1546, was Keeper of Edward VI's library 1549 and tutor to the Duke of Suffolk. He was a protigé of Richard Tracy, the protestant reformer, to whom he dedicated this book. Vigo's fame rests on his Treatise on surgery, which for two hundred years remained the chief text book on the subject. It represents surgical knowledge as it existed at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and is for this reason of great historical importance.
Vigo has two special claims to our notice: According to Sudhoff he is " a landmark in the history of dentistry"; and according to Power he "introduced the crown trepan."
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Revised: May 11, 2000