Notes: Episode 43, Surgery (Part 1)

As with every show, I’ll list any corrections or clarifications here. If there’s anything I’ve overlooked, please contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll edit the notes to reflect the new information.


14:02 – Notable victims of bloodletting include King Charles II and George Washington. It was really quite popular, and possibly even more likely to be used on someone well-to-do than a lower class person who couldn’t afford the luxury of a doctor or even a barber to let blood. With no real method of determining how much spilled blood is too much, death from blood loss was hardly uncommon.

20:04 – I know I was a bit vague on the timeline for Homer, but the truth is there isn’t really a good time to point to for his composition of either of his most famous works, as there isn’t even consensus on the existence of a single blind poet named Homer composing these works. There seem to be three main camps: that Homer existed and composed the works as we know them; that Homer existed but the epics were altered and refined by numerous authors over many years, being distilled into the classics we’re familiar with; and that Homer was more of an idea than a man, existing as a stand-in for countless authors who borrowed his name and credibility in order to tell their stories or their versions of existing stories. The only thing that can be said with any certainty for the origins of these stories is that well-documented sources like Herodotus or Hippocrates considered Homer ancient when thy were alive, and that there is much in the Homeric epics that point to the Hellenic bronze age – at least 800 years BCE, and possibly older.

23:15 – Let’s make that more like 1300 years, but it’s not like that makes over a millennium of status as the most important anatomist any less impressive. You break that thousand year mark and a century here or there is basically splitting hairs.

28:28 – Of course it’s even too early to call the warriors of the 9th century in Europe “Crusader knights”. It does a decent job of evoking the type of society I want to compare the Islamic golden age to, though.

40:40 – This was the first result I found for The Graph; I didn’t do much further searching, as it’s been reposted in so many places around the internet that I don’t know if it’s possible to verify who first developed it. Suffice it to say that it’s complete nonsense.

58:52 – Vasalius’ name at birth was Andries van Wesel.

1:12:00 – I got a bit carried away with the consequences of the Burke and Hare murders and forgot to tell the end of the story, which is probably the best part: both were sentenced to be dissected, and Burke’s skeleton is still on display today at Edinburgh Medical School.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *