Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: barber-surgeons

  • The barber-surgeons

    JMS PearceHull, England Today, the conjunction of two such opposite functions as haircutting and surgery seems incongruous. Amongst early monasteries in England were St. Augustine’s in Canterbury, founded in AD 598 by St. Augustine, and Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island in Northumbria, founded by St. Aidan in AD 635. The monks employed barbers to have…

  • Blood and bandages

    Patricia A. UnsworthBolton, England, United Kingdom The notorious Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, is possibly the first thought that comes to mind at the mention of barber surgeons, but how far from reality was this character of Victorian fiction? Perhaps not so far removed as one might imagine. Todd was obviously a…

  • Bloody beginnings of hematology

    Sherin Jose ChockattuBengaluru, India His pole, with pewter basins hung,Black, rotten teeth in order strung,Rang’d cups that in the window stood,Lin’d with red rags, to look like blood,Did well his threefold trade explain,Who shav’d, drew teeth, and breathd a vein – John Gay (The Goat Without a Beard, 1727) For over three millennia, self-taught physicians…

  • The barber-surgeons: Their history over the centuries

    Anusha PillayRaipur, India “His pole, with pewter basins hung,Black, rotten teeth in order strung,Rang’d cups that in the window stood,Lin’d with red rags, to look like blood,Did well his threefold trade explain,Who shav’d, drew teeth, and breath’d a vein.”– The Goat without a Beard by John Gay Barbers today are primarily engaged in caring for…

  • Monkeys as barber-surgeons

    Monkeys play a great role in the work of Coryn (Quirjin) Boel the Younger (1620–1668), engraver of Brussels and Antwerp. Specialized in making engravings of old masters, especially those of David Teniers, he often shows monkeys playing backgammon, giving concerts, or enjoying sophisticated breakfasts. At a time when most of healthcare in Europe was provided…

  • Dentistry by candlelight

    Thanks to modern anesthesia a visit to the dentist is now a pretty painless affair. This was not the case until relatively recently, and certainly not so in the seventeenth century, when dental services were often rendered by itinerant barber-surgeons. In the painting by Leiden artist Gerrit Dou, the tooth puller is extracting a tooth…

  • It is good to be the king: the French surgical revolution

    Julius Bonello Ayesha Hasan Peoria, Illinois, United States   Charles-François Tassy, Source: Wiki A belief held by the common people is that it is good to be royalty, a sentiment supported by descriptions in novels and depictions in movies. The best food, the finest clothes, and the most extravagant and opulent dwelling in the kingdom…

  • Nicholas Culpeper and Herbal Medicine

    JMS PearceHull, England Apart from crude measures such as amputation and surgery without anesthesia, most medical treatments were ineffective until the twentieth century. Herbal remedies dominated from the time of ancient Hindu and Chinese cultures. Herbals were used by the Greek scholar Theophrastus (371 – 287 BC) and by Pedanius Dioscorides (AD 40 – 90),…

  • Tooth extraction in art: from the dental key to the forceps

    Vicent RodillaAlicia López-CastellanoChristina Ribes-VallésValencia, Spain Tooth extraction has been practiced for centuries, being carried out first by often itinerant barber-surgeons, and, once the profession became regulated in the late 1800s, by licenced dentists. Hippocrates gives one of the oldest written accounts of tooth extraction, which he considered along with cauterization to be a remedial measure…

  • Apothecaries vs. physicians

    Two paintings of pharmacies are shown here: a Medical practitioner taking a lady’s pulse in a pharmacy (Wellcome Library) by Emili Casals I Camps (1882) and The Apothecary by Pietro Longhi, from the Accademia in Venice (1752). The man taking the woman’s pulse in the Casals painting is probably a physician, and the one looking…