8 thoughts on “Medieval Wound Man

  1. I find this picture frightening!
    It reminds me of war and death.
    But it reminds me also of a painter who painted a wounded man. This picture emits rest and silence. Even if death and war seem to be close.
    It is interesting, nevertheless. I ask me, whether statistics and researches were pursued, before the drawing was made.

    1. War and death, every day occurrences in the Medieval world.

      Unfortunately, medical knowledge was very limited in the Medieval world. Bodies were sacred things, and it was very much a part of Christian theology that the body was needed after death, and so to cut up a body was desecration. What good would a sliced up body be to someone in the after life? Of course a lot of medical knowledge was being gained through illegal dissection, particularly in the time when the first “Wound Man” drawings were being produced. Additionally, there were always living wounds to inspect, and no harm was done there.

      At this point, some medical professionals (to use the term useless) had knowledge of Greco-Roman medicine, particularly Galen. Thanks to Arab scholars.

      Of course, it was still medical standard that body humours and astrology governed principles of the body.

      1. Mixed uses for this knowledge, of course… I am sure that many physicians who understood what Medieval Wound man taught them were valued for their knowledge of how not to kill a man, while decorating him like the picture above.

        What is the date on this, Marius? Did the Romans conduct studies similar to this? I am sure I remember reading that Roman skeletons ahve been found with holes drilled into the skull to relieve the pressure of a blood clot beneath, and a coin inserted to seal it. Something that i was amazed at to read, have you come across this?

        1. The Wound Man as it is above originates in the late 15th century, and I believe it was of Italian design when first published. Of course it is of a limited design as it could not depict the traumatic injuries caused by cannon, or a visual representation of limb severing or decapitation. I suppose we need an intact body as a canvas and some injuries must be overlooked. By this point, also, the arquebus was in (small) use and physicians had were only beginning to understand the nature of injury related to gunshot wounds. The good thing is (good being a term used liberally) that war was happening on an increasing scale, and encompassing increasingly large portions of the European continent. So doctor’s had a great deal of injury to study on bodies that were still, though miserably, at least alive.

          I think people fail to give civilisations of the past enough credit for their scientific and medical knowledge. Did Romans understand that there were very small invisible microbes in the air that caused disease (germ theory in short)? No. But they still understood that dirty water made people ill. Just the same, while knowledge of the human body and the process of body’s organs and many functions may have been somewhat lacking, there was still a surprising amount of knowledge in other fields. Roman doctors could perform some minor cosmetic surgery to repair delicate areas like the nose, doctor’s could repair skull fractures, remove and replace teeth, repair a cataract of the eye, and even remove excess skin from the body by simply slicing it away and stitching the skin left back together much like it is done today.

      2. War and death are also everyday in the present. Drawings like the Wound Man wake up in me (example), just recollections of the present misery, how to the last centuries. Sometimes I ask, why I can move into such events, even if I have never contact with it.

        My feeling is, that the millenniums have changed nothing in the substance.

        Battles are hit, people die and suffer. There is a clergy and a aristocracy, like before hundreds years ago. However, nowadays not more is carried under a guise.

        I have very little knowledge about the life after the death. Against zero. I foresee that the body has no more meaning for the dead after the death. But what is a presentiment worth?

        However, should the body not remain for all time an sacred thing?
        We seem to pay the progress with the high price that all investigated of his holiness is robbed. I see it in this way.
        The bridge was not built between these things.
        Can the body not remain a holy temple, even if he reveals all secrets of the science?
        Can the body not remain for everybody his sanctum?
        Yes, to me it seems in such a way that we desecrate the world and everything in it. Not because we are curious and try to understand this world. Not because we want to know how work the things.
        Because we use and take the world and everything what we have discovered in it for grandet. It is a abusing from things up to the unrecognizability and only thereby a desecration. Only because we feel above, because we believe to understand. However, for the question of all the origin, we grope about in the darkness. Often I think that is our only luck.
        Nevertheless, I left the subject. Other thoughts follow … maybe. I apologise.

        1. Thousands of years of written history and it seems people have changed little. We enjoy a different quality of life, yes, but the fundamentals of human nature are eternal. I admit I am a bit of a cynicist. After death, the body means nothing. But while alive, the body is everything. Perhaps I am every bit the Roman I once was, but I believe that the body is a temple because it exists to serve our needs. Enjoy life. Eat good food, travel, wear what you like, have an adventure, succumb to sensual pleasure, and do it all without regret. It is not without a lot of mirth that I quote the line, “life is too short.” The body is sacred because it is ours and we only have this one life in which to use it. Why suffer under denial, the weight of sin, conservative morality that would have people be ashamed of who and what they are.

  2. I came across another woundman in my current book: “The greatest benefits to mankind. A medical history of humanity from antiquity to present” by Roy Porter. According to this book the wound man pictures developed from zodiac men and bloodletting men.

    1. And do they give illustrations of both for comparison? If not, I must seek these out myself and study all three together. Though it certainly makes sense given medical understanding of the time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.