00976 - History of Medicine (A-K)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Medicine and Surgery (cod. 8415)

Learning outcomes

The student will acquire knowledge of the development of medical science: the concept of disease through the ages, the progress of medical and surgical sciences, together with the therapeutic sciences, over the centuries. The student will be able to recognize how the cultural matrices of the medical profession find their pillars not only in scientific progress, but also in solid humanistic values, which can only derive from the knowledge of the history of medicine.

Course contents

Evolution of the concept of disease. Definition of "health" and "disease". Origins of medicine. The myth of Asclepius and the medicine of the temples. The hippocratic revolution. The Alexandrian school and Hellenistic medicine. Medical schools in ancient Rome. Galen. Medieval medicine. The Salerno School. The birth of Universities. The Renaissance, the anatomical revolution: Vesalius. The physiological revolution: Harvey and the discovery of blood circulation. Iatrophysics and iatrochemistry. The microscope and the origins of pathological anatomy. Giovan Battista Morgagni: the birth of anatomo-clinical medicine. The emergence of cell pathology: Rudolph Virchow. The birth of experimental physiology: Claude Bernard. The microbiological revolution: Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch and the postulates of medical bacteriology. The evolution of surgery: antisepsis and anesthesia. The development of immunology. Psychoanalysis and psychiatry. Molecular medicine. Genomic medicine. From the disease to the patient.


RA Bernabeo, GM Pontieri, GB Scarano. Elementi di Storia della Medicina. Piccin, 1993

Conforti M, Corbellini G, Gazzaniga V. Dalla cura alla scienza. EncycloMedia, EBOOK. 2011

Armocida G, Zanobio B. Storia della Medicina. Seconda Edizione Aggiornata. EDRA MASSON. 2015

Cosmacini G. L'arte lunga. Storia della Medicina dall'Antichità ad oggi. Laterza 2009

Teaching methods

Lectures with slide presentations and references to ancient sources and scientific, literary and artistic works.

Assessment methods

The written test will consist of 4-choice questions. Students will be asked 31 questions. For each question, only one answer will be correct. The test must be completed in 30 minutes. There will be no penalty for blank or wrong answers. Marks: by correctly answering all the questions the Student will achieve full marks cum laude; with one wrong answer: 30/30; with two wrong answers: 29/30; and so on.

30 L or 30 in the History of Medicine test will allow the Student to add 1 point to the mark obtained in the Anatomy test; grades below 24 in the History of Medicine test will result in the subtraction of one point from the grade obtained in the Anatomy test.

Teaching tools

The slides illustrated by Professor in the classroom presentations will be provided directly to the Students of the Course or made available to the Students in the teaching support platform "Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna: Insegnamenti OnLine [https://iol.unibo.it]", search by teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Carla Renata Arciola


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.