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Surgeons' Hall On Demand

Our Surgeons' Hall On Demand Series features pre-recorded lectures which last approximately 1 hour and are delivered specially for Surgeons Hall Museums. Ticket holders will receive exclusive access to view this lecture at their leisure. 

Dr. Robert Knox: More Than the Boy Who Bought the Beef

Most people’s opinion of Robert Knox is entirely one-dimensional, superficial and prejudiced by the standard narrative of the Burke and Hare affair. Knox was vilified in the press yet the 10 or so private anatomy schools that flourished around Edinburgh University, had they been approached, would not have turned Burke and Hare away. They all needed bodies and none of them delved into the source of the hundreds of bodies they all received each year from shady and anonymous ‘resurrectionists’. In fact Knox was a brilliant anatomist and a complex and interesting individual. He treated the wounded at Waterloo, served in South Africa as an army surgeon and spent a year in Paris along with the most forward thinking of UK surgeons, learning the new science of anatomical pathology. He was no doubt a conceited and difficult person and he did have shocking and unacceptable views regarding race.

An Exploration of Syphilis

The Great Pox was rarely talked about in the nineteenth century but its effects were everywhere. Primarily sexually transmitted, it’s devastating effects could last a lifetime, leading to the saying “One night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury”. Human Remains Conservator Cat Irving will show specimens from Surgeons' Hall's collections demonstrating what this dreaded disease does to the body, how the treatments could often be worse than the disease itself, and why it wasn't always a good thing if your husband brought you chocolate...

The Gaelic-speaking physicians & scholars of late medieval Europe

In the 14th to 16th centuries, medical texts written in Latin were translated into the major vernacular languages of Europe. Somewhat surprisingly, Gaelic was one of the key languages involved in this movement. This talk follows the activities of Gaelic doctors and translators as they travel between Scotland and Ireland, through continental universities, like Montpellier in France, and into wider contact with European medicine. Along the way, we consider the manuscripts they produced, the patients they treated, and the surgeries and remedies they practiced.

No prior knowledge of Gaelic required.

Dr Sharon Arbuthnot is scholar of Gaelic language and texts, currently based at the University of Cambridge and at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in the Isle of Skye, where she works on the historical dictionary of Scottish Gaelic. She has particular research interests in medieval manuscripts and in the development of Gaelic medicalese.

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