Tag Archives: De Motu Cordis

William Harvey before King Charles I

In 1628 William Harvey published his classic work De Motu Cordis (Of the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals) demonstrating that the blood passed from the left ventricle to the capillaries at the periphery and back through the veins to the right side of the heart. He received many honors for his work, and […]

“Blood made White”: the relationship between blood and breastmilk in early modern England

Jennifer Evans Sara Read United Kingdom   Womb (uterus), enlarged, Hendrik Bary, after Reinier de Graaf, 1672, Rijksmuseum. The early modern body was thought to be composed of and ordered by an intricate balance of fluids, the most important of which was blood. Blood was universally understood to have two origins: the heart and the […]

A theologian answers questions about the heart: St. Thomas Aquinas’ De Motu Cordis

Michael Potts North Carolina, United States   An altarpiece in Ascoli Piceno, Italy by Carlo Crivelli (15th century) Suppose you are a high school teacher in a basic biology class and you have a question about the function of the heart. You decide to ask an expert, so you dial a university and ask for […]

William Harvey

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States William Harvey (1578-1657)   The impression that William Harvey (1578-1657) discovered the closed circulation of the blood is not entirely accurate, although after Harvey there was never any doubt about it. Regardless of what credit you ascribe to him, it is clear that his research benefited from more […]