Dix livres de la Chirurgie, avec le magassin des instrumens necesaires a icelle.
Ambroise Pare is recognized as the "father of modern surgery". A rustic barber's apprentice when he came up from the provinces to Paris, he became an army surgeon in 1537 and was at once thrown into the wars, where he soon made himself the greatest surgeon of this time by his courage, ability and common sense. Like Vesalius and Paracelsus, he did not hesitate to throw aside superstition if it stood in his way. His greatest contribution to surgery hinges on the baneful effect of the pseudo-Hippocratic doctrine that "diseases not curable by iron are curable by fire" upon the treatment of gunshot wounds, the new feature of Renaissance surgery. In addition, Pare invented many new surgical instruments and made amputation what it is today by reintroducing the ligature, which had almost fallen into abeyance since the time of Galen.
Pare embarks here on his first work of magnitude. Much of it corresponds to his treatise on gunshot wounds which has been called the "first scientific book written in French." To this he added three new books on urology. The volume is important for containing Pare's first description of the use of the ligature in amputations, together with the definite discarding of the cautery. This departure by Pare from the accepted treatment of wounds and amputations provoked his opponents to vehement objections. In the fourth edition of his Oeuvres, 1585, Pare, in the "Apologie et traicte," was to give a stinging, albeit good-natured, reply to these enemies.
The "Ten Books" are preceded by a "Dicours sur ce qu'il pleust un iour a la majeste dudit Seigneur luy demander touchant le fait des harquebusades and d'autres bastons a feu." This was Pare's reply to an inquiry of the king who watned to know why at the siege of Rouen in 1562, so many soldiers had died, even among those only slightly wounded. Pare emphatically denies the venomousness of gunshot wounds and compares the effect of gunshot to that of lightning.
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Revised: May 11, 2000