Skip to main content

Semen in Flux

  • 98 Accesses

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Medicine book series (PSMEMM)


Investigations relating to semen and gonorrhoea helped formalise pathology as a separate discipline. Historians have often characterised eighteenth-century disease theory by two inventions: morbid anatomy and nosology—the classification of symptoms into coherent taxonomies. But while observations of symptoms and body parts focused on the effects and end results of disease, they provided no indication as to the possible cause of a disease (aetiology). Hieronymus Gaubius, therefore, developed a new disease theory, which was based on the chemistry of fluids. By exploring semen and gonorrhoea in relation to pathology, Verwaal argues that chemistry helped explain the causes of disease, and hence furthered the establishment of a new pathology. It fostered a new understanding of disease by dissemination across Europe.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-51541-6_7
  • Chapter length: 34 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-51541-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 7.1


  1. 1.

    Herman Boerhaave, ‘Tractatus medicus de lue venerea praefixus Aphrodisiaco’, in Aphrodisiacus (Leiden, 1728); idem, A Treatise on the Venereal Disease and its Cure in all its Stages and Circumstances, trans. John Barker (London, 1729).

  2. 2.

    Much has been written about the discovery of sperm and the debates about its role in procreation. See for example Clara Pinto-Correia, The Ovary of Eve: Egg and Sperm and Preformation (Chicago, 1997); Matthew Cobb, The Egg and Sperm Race: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth (London, 2006); Shirley A. Roe, Matter, Life, and Generation: Eighteenth-Century Embryology and the Haller-Wolff Debate (Cambridge, 1981).

  3. 3.

    In the early modern period, physicians considered venereal disease and gonorrhoea as the same disease. The fundamental distinction was made in the nineteenth century. On the conflation of gonorrhoea and syphilis as merely different degrees of the same disease, see Kenneth M. Flegel, ‘Changing Concepts of the Nosology of Gonorrhea and Syphilis’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 48 (1974), 571–588; Ludwik Fleck, Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, ed. Thaddeus J. Trenn and Robert K. Merton, trans. Fred Bradley (Chicago, 1979).

  4. 4.

    Jon Arrizabalaga, John Henderson, and Roger French, The Great Pox: The French Disease in Renaissance Europe (New Haven, 1997), 56–87. Some surgeons accused physicians of negligence because they refused to research and treat gonorrhoea. See for example Abraham Titsingh, Cypria tot schrik van haar bondgenooten, en redding der gestruikelden ter eere van de heelkonst en tot dienst der heelmeesteren geschreven, 2 vols (Amsterdam, 1742).

  5. 5.

    Hieronymus David Gaubius, Institutiones pathologiae medicinalis (Leiden, 1758), 175; idem, The Institutions of Medicinal Pathology, trans. Charles Erskine (Edinburgh, 1778), 116.

  6. 6.

    The word pathology derives from the Greek pathos: ‘suffering, disease’ and the Latin logia: ‘study’.

  7. 7.

    Nosology derives from the Greek nosos: ‘disease, sickness’. On nosology, see for example Jacalyn Duffin, History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction, 2nd ed. (Toronto, 2010), 73–76.

  8. 8.

    Thomas Sydenham, The Whole Works of That Excellent Practical Physician Dr. Thomas Sydenham Wherein Not Only the History and Cures of Acute Diseases Are Treated of, after a New and Accurate Method: But Also the Shortest and Safest Way of Curing Most Chronical Diseases, trans. John Pechy (London, 1701).

  9. 9.

    Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit of Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity (New York, 1999), 260–262; Julian Martin, ‘Sauvages’s Nosology: Medical Enlightenment in Montpellier’, in The Medical Enlightenment, ed. Andrew Cunningham and Roger French (Cambridge, 1990), 111–137.

  10. 10.

    In the late eighteenth century, the terms pathological anatomy and morbid anatomy were synonymous. See for example Eduard Sandifort, Observationes anatomico-pathologicae, 4 vols (Leiden, 1777–1781); idem, Museum anatomicum academiae Lugduno-Batavae descriptum, 2 vols (Leiden, 1796). Part 2 was titled ‘Tabulae anatomico pathologicae’.

  11. 11.

    Porter, The Greatest Benefit, 263–265; Mary Lindemann, Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1999), 86–87; Jürgen Konert and Holger G. Dietrich, ‘Giovanni Battista Morgagni und der Beginn der Pathologischen Anatomie’, in Anatomie, ed. Jürgen Helm and Karin Stukenbrock (Stuttgart, 2003), 127–138; Fabio Zampieri, Alberto Zanatta, Cristina Basso, and Gaetano Thiene. ‘Cardiovascular Medicine in Morgagni’s De Sedibus: Dawn of Cardiovascular Pathology’, Cardiovascular Pathology, 25 (2016), 443–452.

  12. 12.

    Early modern savants were dedicated to ‘truth-to-nature’. Applying objectivity to early modern science would be anachronistic. See Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (New York, 2007).

  13. 13.

    As propagated by, for example, Matthew Baillie in Andrew Cunningham, The Anatomist Anatomis’d: An Experimental Discipline in Enlightenment Europe (Farnham, 2010), 219. See also the classic essay by Owsei Temkin, ‘The Role of Surgery in the Rise of Modern Medical Thought’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 25 (1951), 248–259.

  14. 14.

    Lindemann, Medicine and Society, 87; Russell C. Maulitz, Morbid Appearances: The Anatomy of Pathology in the Early Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1987).

  15. 15.

    Cunningham, The Anatomist Anatomis’d, 196.

  16. 16.

    Advertisements in ’s Gravenhaegse Courant, 16 December 1748 and Leydse Courant, 18 December 1748. Others advertised ‘Arcane pills’ and ‘bottle of balsam’ against gonorrhoea for ƒ3 in Oprechte Haerlemsche Courant, 30 May 1754. By comparison, many books in octavo were sold for less than ƒ1. See also De groote zonden van vuile zelfs-bevleckinge, door jonge en oude, mans- en vrouwspersoonen, ontdekt, trans. J. van Hode (Rotterdam, 1730). Michael Stolberg, ‘An Unmanly Vice: Self-Pollution, Anxiety, and the Body in the Eighteenth Century’, Social History of Medicine, 13 (2000), 1–21; idem, ‘Self-Pollution, Moral Reform, and the Venereal Trade: Notes on the Sources and Historical Context of Onania (1716)’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 9 (2000), 37–61. On the commercialisation of medicinal substances in the eighteenth century, see Frank Huisman, ‘Gezondheid te koop: Zelfmedicatie en medische advertenties in de Groninger en Ommelander Courant, 1743–1800’, Focaal, 21 (1993), 90–130.

  17. 17.

    See A.E. Leuftink, Harde heelmeesters: Zeelieden en hun dokters in de 18e eeuw, 2nd ed. (Zutphen, 2008), 121–128.

  18. 18.

    See for example Philip K. Wilson, ‘Exposing the ‘Secret Disease’: Recognising and Treating Syphilis’ in his Surgery, Skin and Syphilis: Daniel Turner’s London (1667–1741) (Amsterdam and Atlanta, 1999), 149–189.

  19. 19.

    Boerhaave, ‘Lue venerea’; idem, Venereal Disease.

  20. 20.

    John Hunter, A Treatise on the Venereal Disease (London, 1786); George Qvist, ‘John Hunter’s Alleged Syphilis’, Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 59 (1977), 205–209.

  21. 21.

    António Nunes Ribeiro Sanches, Dissertation sur l’origine de la maladie vénérienne (Paris, 1750); idem, Examen historique sur l’apparition de la maladie vénérienne en Europe (Lisbon [Paris], 1774). These works were published anonymously. The edition published by Gaubius in Leiden in 1777 was the first to mention Sanches by name: António Nunes Ribeiro Sanches, Dissertation sur l’origine de la maladie vénérienne, pour prouver que ce mal n’est pas venu d’Amérique, mais qu’il a commencé eu Europe par une epidémie. Suivie de l’examen historique sur l’apparition de la maladie vénérienne en Europe, new ed. (Leiden, 1777).

  22. 22.

    António Nunes Ribeiro Sanches, Observations sur les maladies vénériennes (Paris, 1785), 3. On Sanches, see David Willemse, António Nunes Ribeiro Sanches, élève de Boerhaave, et son importance pour la Russie (Leiden, 1966); idem, ‘Gerard van Swieten in zijn brieven aan Antonio Nunes Ribeiro Sanches (1739–1754)’, Scientiarum Historia, 14 (1972), 113–143; Luuc Kooijmans, De geest van Boerhaave: Onderzoek in een kil klimaat (Amsterdam, 2014).

  23. 23.

    Johannes Daniel Schlichting, Syphilidos mnemosynon criticon of vrye en oneenzydige gedachten over ongemakken, door ’t gebruyk der teeldeelen, 3rd ed. (Amsterdam, 1755), 649. These elements included crocus martis (saffron from steel, or red iron oxide), sal neutrum (a salt neither acid nor alkali), and spiritus mineralis (the distilled spirit from minerals).

  24. 24.

    Gaubius to Sanches, Leiden, 21 July 1758, in Sophia W. Hamers-van Duynen, Hieronymus David Gaubius (1705–1780): Zijn correspondentie met Antonio Nunes Ribeiro Sanches en andere tijdgenoten (Assen and Amsterdam, 1978), 107.

  25. 25.

    Johan Frederik Gronovius to Carl Linnaeus, Leiden, 17 March 1739, in The Linnaean Correspondence,, Letter L0278 (consulted 28 April 2017). It remains unknown whether it were the contents, or the style and language of Van Royen’s lecture that abhorred the students.

  26. 26.

    De Brunn to Von Haller, Leiden, 30 September 1753, in Albrecht von Haller, ed. Epistolarum ab eruditis viris ad Alb. Hallerum scriptarum, 6 vols (Bern, 1773–1775), vol. 3, 419. De Brunn, who was already a medical doctor, matriculated at Leiden on 5 August 1753.

  27. 27.

    See for example ‘Dictata Gaubii in Pathologiam Boerhavii’, 2 vols, 1745. Copenhagen, Royal Library, Thott 691, 692 kvart; ‘H.D. Gaubius, Institutiones pathologicae’, 4 vols, Leiden, University Library, BPL 850; ‘Viri Celeberrimi H.D.Gaubii M.D. […] Praelectionum Theoreticarum Secundum Institutiones Medicas H. Boerhaave’, 6 vols, Leiden: Philip Bonk, 1751. Leiden, University Library, BPL 1475. According to a contemporary, Boerhaave’s Institutiones was an ‘intelligible, regular, and rational System’. Cited in Andrew Cunningham, ‘Medicine to Calm the Mind: Boerhaave’s Medical System, and Why It Was Adopted in Edinburgh’, in The Medical Enlightenment, ed. Andrew Cunningham and Roger French (Cambridge, 1990), 40–66, here 41.

  28. 28.

    Boerhaave had defined pathology as ‘The second Branch of Physic [i.e., medicine] treating of Diseases, their Differences, Causes and Effects, or Symptoms; by which the human Body is known to vary from its healthy State’. Albrecht von Haller, ed. Dr. Boerhaave’s Academical Lectures on the Theory of Physic: Being a Genuine Translation of his Institutes and Explanatory Comment, 6 vols (London, 1742–1746), vol. 1, 77.

  29. 29.

    Herman Boerhaave, Institutiones medicae in usus annuae exercitationis domesticos digestae, 5th ed. (Leiden and Rotterdam, 1734). Gaubius, ‘Praelectionum Theoreticarum’, Leiden, University Library, BPL 1475, vols 1–3.

  30. 30.

    ‘Compendium Praelectionum H.D. Gaubii Med. Prof. in Pathologiam Nosologiam & Aetiologiam’, Leiden, c. 1750, 1768. Leiden, University Library, BPL 1476. This manuscript follows exactly the same structure as BPL 1475, except that it leaves out the sections on physiology and symptomatology, and starts with a definition of pathology instead. Interleaved sheets of paper preserve notes in another hand, and some are dated 1768, giving proof of the continued use of these manuscripts by different persons.

  31. 31.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 337.

  32. 32.

    Gaubius to Kaau, Leiden, 14 August 1754 in Hamers-van Duynen, Hieronymus David Gaubius, 219–222. Emphasis added.

  33. 33.

    William Cullen, First Lines of the Practice of Physic, 4th ed., 4 vols (Edinburgh, 1784), x–xi.

  34. 34.

    Ibid., xxv.

  35. 35.

    Ramspeck to Von Haller, Leiden, 4 November 1755 in Von Haller, Epistolae, vol. 3, 525.

  36. 36.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, [*2r].

  37. 37.

    Gaubius to Sanches, Leiden, 29 December 1756 in Hamers-van Duynen, Hieronymus David Gaubius, 102.

  38. 38.

    Hieronymus David Gaubius, Institutiones pathologiae medicinalis, 2nd ed. (Leiden, 1763), [*4v]; idem, Institutions, vi.

  39. 39.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 2nd ed., [*3r]; idem, Institutions, iv. Emphasis added. This rationalist attitude was similar to Boerhaave’s, who had also argued for observation in combination with ‘rigorous and disciplined reasoning’. Cited in Lester S. King, ‘Rationalism in Early Eighteenth Century Medicine’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 18 (1963), 257–271, here 257.

  40. 40.

    On how the method of observation changed in the early modern period, see Gianna Pomata, ‘Sharing Cases: The Observationes in Early Modern Medicine’, Early Science and Medicine, 15 (2010), 193–236; ead. ‘Observation Rising: Birth of an Epistemic Genre, 1500–1650’, in Histories of Scientific Observation, ed. Lorraine Daston and Elizabeth Lunbeck (Chicago, 2011), 45–80.

  41. 41.

    Roger French has argued how the genre of Institutes was necessarily a rationalist account to be useful in education in Medicine before Science: The Rational and Learned Doctor from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2003), 225–229.

  42. 42.

    Gaubius discussed the noxious powers in Institutiones, 200–312. The seeds of disease were discussed at 312–320. See also Thomas H. Broman, ‘The Medical Sciences’, in The Cambridge History of Science, ed. Roy Porter (Cambridge, 2003), 463–484, here 478.

  43. 43.

    Lelland J. Rather, ‘The “Six Things Non-Natural”: A Note on the Origins and Fate of a Doctrine and a Phrase’, Clio Medica, 3 (1968), 337–347; Peter H. Niebyl, ‘The Non-Naturals’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 43 (1971), 486–492; Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey, Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy (Oxford, 2013); James Kennaway and Rina Knoeff, eds., Lifestyle and Medicine in the Enlightenment: The Six Non-Naturals in the Long Eighteenth Century (London, 2020).

  44. 44.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 155–160; idem, Institutions, 103–106.

  45. 45.

    On phlogiston, see Hasok Chang, Is Water H2O? Evidence, Realism and Pluralism (Dordrecht, 2012), 1–70.

  46. 46.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 56–58; idem, Institutions, 36–38.

  47. 47.

    See s.v. ‘Seed, semen’ in Ephraim Chambers, Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences, 2 vols (London, 1728), 2: 46.

  48. 48.

    On principlism and compositionism, see Robert Siegfried, From Elements to Atoms: A History of Chemical Composition (Philadelphia, 2002); Hasok Chang, ‘Compositionism as a Dominant Way of Knowing in Modern Chemistry’, History of Science, 49 (2011), 247–268.

  49. 49.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 136; idem, Institutions, 90.

  50. 50.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 452; idem, Institutions, 314.

  51. 51.

    With epidemics, ‘diseases acquired a weightier ontology’. See French, Medicine before Science, 191–192.

  52. 52.

    Andrew Cunningham, ‘Thomas Sydenham: Epidemics, Experiment and the “Good Old Cause”’, in The Medical Revolution, ed. Roger French and Andrew Wear (Cambridge, 1989), 164–190.

  53. 53.

    Thomas Sydenham, The Entire Works of Dr Thomas Sydenham, Newly Made English from the Originals, ed. John Swan (London, 1742), 596–599.

  54. 54.

    Boerhaave to Boissier de Sauvages, Leiden, 24 April 1731 in G.A. Lindeboom, ed. Boerhaave’s Correspondence, 3 vols (Leiden, 1962–1979), vol. 3, 166–167.

  55. 55.

    Volker Hess and J. Andrew Mendelsohn, ‘Sauvages’ Paperwork: How Disease Classification Arose from Scholarly Note-Taking’, Early Science and Medicine, 19 (2014), 471–503.

  56. 56.

    François Boissier de Sauvages, Nouvelles classes de maladies, qui dans un ordre semblable à celui des botanists, comprennent les genres & les espèces de toutes les maladies, avec leurs signes & leurs indications (Avignon, 1731).

  57. 57.

    François Boissier de Sauvages, Nosologia methodica sistens morborum classes, genera et species, juxta Sydenhami mentem et botanicorum ordinem, 3 vols (Amsterdam, 1763).

  58. 58.

    François Boissier de Sauvages, Nosologie methodique, dans laquelle les maladies sont rangées par classes, suivant le systême de Sydenham, & l’ordre des Botanistes, trans. Pierre François Nicolas, 3 vols (Paris, 1771), vol. 3, 186–191. For a different arrangement, see for example William Cullen, Nosology: Or, a Systematic Arrangement of Diseases, by Classes, Orders, Genera, and Species (Edinburgh, 1800), 174.

  59. 59.

    As translated by S.E. Starkstein and G.E. Berrios, ‘The “Preliminary Discourse” to Methodical Nosology, by Francois Boissier de Sauvages (1772)’, History of Psychiatry, 26 (2015), 477–491. See also Elizabeth A. Williams, A Cultural History of Medical Vitalism in Enlightenment Montpellier (Aldershot, 2003), 80–111.

  60. 60.

    ‘Bibliotheca Gaubiana sive Catalogus librorum viri celeberrimi Hieronymi Davidis Gaubii’, (Leiden, 1783), 112.

  61. 61.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 337; idem, Institutions, 236.

  62. 62.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 338–461.

  63. 63.

    Ibid., 288–289; idem, Institutions, 195.

  64. 64.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 312; idem, Institutions, 220.

  65. 65.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 289; idem, Institutions, 195.

  66. 66.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 290; idem, Institutions, 196.

  67. 67.

    Johannes de Gorter, De perspiratione insensibili Sanctoriana-Batava tractatus experimentis propriis in Hollandia (Leiden, 1725), 179–180.

  68. 68.

    Albrecht von Haller, ed. Praelectiones academicae in proprias institutiones rei medicae, 6 vols (Göttingen, 1739–1744), vol. 5, pt. 1, 401; idem, Academical Lectures, vol. 5, 82.

  69. 69.

    Gerard van Swieten, ed. Commentaria in Hermanni Boerhaave Aphorismos de cognoscendis et curandis morbis, 5 vols (Leiden, 1742–1772), vol. 2, 46; idem, The Commentaries upon the Aphorisms of dr. Herman Boerhaave, 18 vols (London, 1744–1773), vol. 5, 106.

  70. 70.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 451–452; idem, Institutions, 313–314. Torpidity inferred a ‘diminished sensibility of the living solid’.

  71. 71.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 36–51; idem, Institutions, 24–33.

  72. 72.

    Cunningham , The Anatomist Anatomis’d, 186. In Leiden, Eduard Sandifort (1742–1814) was mainly responsible for introducing pathological anatomy to the medical curriculum. See Marieke M.A. Hendriksen, Elegant Anatomy: The Eighteenth-Century Leiden Anatomical Collections (Leiden, 2015), 63–65.

  73. 73.

    Steven Blankaart, Anatomia practica rationalis, sive Rariorum cadaverum morbis denatorum anatomica inspectio (Amsterdam, 1688); Hunter, Venereal Disease; Frederik Ruysch, Alle de ontleed- genees- en heelkundige werken, trans. Ysbrand Gysbert Arlebout, 3 vols (Amsterdam, 1744).

  74. 74.

    Herman Boerhaave to Giovanni Battista Morgagni, Leiden, 1718–1737 in Lindeboom, Boerhaave’s Correspondence, vol. 2, 78–91.

  75. 75.

    Giovanni Battista Morgagni, De sedibus et causis morborum per anatomen indagatis (Venice, 1761). The first three books in Morgagni’s magnum opus, printed in folio and spanning almost a thousand pages, grouped all diseases by body part: diseases of the head, thorax, and stomach. The fourth book concerned diseases treated with surgery across the entire body; the fifth and final book contained additions relating to all preceding books.

  76. 76.

    See for example François Paoli, Jean-Baptiste Morgagni, ou, La naissance de la médecine moderne (Paris, 2013).

  77. 77.

    An ‘old’ versus ‘new’ pathology can be considered to run parallel to the ‘old’ and ‘new’ physiology, as argued by Andrew Cunningham, ‘The Pen and the Sword: Recovering the Disciplinary Identity of Physiology and Anatomy before 1800 – I: Old Physiology–the Pen’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 33 (2002), 631–666.

  78. 78.

    Fabio Zampieri, Alberto Zanatta, and Gaetano Thiene, ‘An Etymological “Autopsy” of Morgagni’s Title: De sedibus et causis morborum per anatomen indagatis (1761)’, Human Pathology, 45 (2014), 12–16.

  79. 79.

    Morgagni, De sedibus, 180; idem, The Seats and Causes of Diseases Investigated by Anatomy, trans. Benjamin Alexander, 3 vols (London, 1769), vol. 2, 545–546.

  80. 80.

    Morgagni, De sedibus, vol. 2, 194; idem, The Seats, vol. 2, 592.

  81. 81.

    Morgagni, De sedibus, vol. 2, 196; idem, The Seats, vol. 2, 597–598.

  82. 82.

    Gaubius owned Giovanni Battista Morgagni, Adversaria anatomica omnia, 6 vols (Leiden, 1723); and Epistolae anatomicae duae novas observationes, et animadversiones complectentes (Leiden, 1728). See ‘Anatomici’ in ‘Bibliotheca Gaubiana’, 54.

  83. 83.

    Herman Boerhaave, A New Method of Chemistry: Including the Theory and Practice of that Art: Laid down on Mechanical Principles, and Accommodated to the Uses of Life, trans. Peter Shaw and Ephraim Chambers, 2 vols (London, 1727), vol. 2, 191.

  84. 84.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 137; idem, Institutions, 90–91.

  85. 85.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 453; idem, Institutions, 315.

  86. 86.

    Johannes de Gorter, Gezuiverde geneeskonst, of kort onderwys der meeste inwendige ziekten, 3rd ed. (Amsterdam, 1761), [*2v].

  87. 87.

    Ibid., 85.

  88. 88.

    Ibid., 85–86. Emphasis added.

  89. 89.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 453; idem, Institutions, 315.

  90. 90.

    Gaubius, Institutiones, 138; idem, Institutions, 91.

  91. 91.

    Rudolf Virchow, Hundert Jahre allgemeiner Pathologie (Berlin, 1895); idem, Disease, Life and Man: Selected Essays, trans. and ed. by Lelland J. Rather (Stanford, CA, 1958), 174, 93.

  92. 92.

    Gaubius to Sanches, Leiden, 21 July 1758 in Hamers-van Duynen, Hieronymus David Gaubius, 107.

  93. 93.

    Gaubius to Sanches, Leiden, 23 September 1761 in ibid., 124.

  94. 94.

    The translations were: Hieronymus David Gaubius, Pathologie de M. Gaubius, trans. Pierre Seu (Paris, 1770); idem, Pathologie de M. Gaubius, trans. Pierre Seu, rev. ed. (Paris, 1788); Alexander Balthazaar, Pathologia chirurgicalis of heelkundige ziektekunde (Leiden, 1772–1776); idem, Pathologia chirurgicalis of heelkundige ziektekunde, 2 vols (Leiden, 1777). Gaubius, Institutions. Idem, Anfangsgründe der Krankheitenlehre des Menschen, trans. Daniel Andreas Diebold (Zurich, 1781); idem, Anfangsgründe der Medicinischen Krankheitslehre, trans. Christian Gottfried Gruner (Berlin, 1784). A revised and expanded edition of Gruner’s translation appeared in 1797. Finally, a Russian translation appeared by Petr Martynovich Gofman as idem, Начальныя основанiя врачебныя пафологiи, то есть науки о свойствѣ, причинахъ, припадкахъ и различiяхъ болѣзней, въ человѣческомъ тѣлѣ случающихся, trans. Petr Martynovich Gofman (St Petersburg, 1792).

  95. 95.

    J.H. Sypkens Smit, Leven en werken van Matthias van Geuns M.D., 1735–1817 (Assen, 1953), 27. As a student Van Geuns had followed Gaubius’s lectures on pathology and kept notes. See Matthias van Geuns, ‘Ad Gaubii Instit. patholog’. Leiden, 1759. Amsterdam, University Library, MS 1377 I F 66.

  96. 96.

    Matthias van Geuns, ‘Schema institutionem pathologiae medicinalis Cl. Gaubii’. Harderwijk, c. 1775. Amsterdam, University Library, MS 1382 I E 61, ff. 1r–16v.

  97. 97.

    Jan Bleuland, Oratio, qua memoria Hieronymi Davidis Gaubii cum omnibus, tum praesertim medicinae studiosis commendatur (Harderwijk, 1792), 7. On Bleuland, see Ruben E. Verwaal and Reina de Raat, ‘Verzameldrift: De anatomische collectie van professor Jan Bleuland’, Geschiedenis der geneeskunde, 14 (2010), 138–145.

  98. 98.

    Hieronymus David Gaubius, Institutiones pathologiae medicinalis, ed. Johann Christian Gottlieb Ackermann, 3rd ed. (Nuremberg, 1787). By this time, Gaubius’s textbook had already been reprinted twice in Leipzig in 1759 and 1781. Ackermann’s edition included his commentaries and Hahn’s short biography of Gaubius.

  99. 99.

    Charles Blagden, ‘Cullen’s Comment on Gaubius’s Pathology’. Edinburgh, 1767. Wellcome Library, London, MS 1927.

  100. 100.

    Roger French, Robert Whytt, the Soul, and Medicine (London, 1969), 9.

  101. 101.

    Cited in John Thomson, An Account of the Life, Lectures and Writings of William Cullen, M.D., 2 vols (Edinburgh, 1832–1859), vol. 1, 325–326.

  102. 102.

    A reprint of the Latin textbook had already appeared as Hieronymus David Gaubius, Institutiones pathologiae medicinalis, 2nd ed. (Edinburg, 1762).

  103. 103.

    Tobias George Smollett, ‘The Institutions of Medicinal Pathology by H.D. Gaubius’, The Critical Review: Or, Annals of Literature, 47 (1779), 183–186, here 183.

  104. 104.

    Ibid., 184, 6.

  105. 105.

    David MacBride, A Methodical Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Physic (London, 1772). A Latin translation appeared as Introductio methodica in theoriam et praxin medicinae, trans. Johannes Fredericus Clossius, 2 vols (Utrecht, 1774). The original was reissued in an enlarged edition in Dublin in 1776.

  106. 106.

    MacBride, Physic, 85–87.

  107. 107.

    James Makittrick, Commentaries on the Principles and Practice of Physic (London, 1772), iii. Emphasis in original.

  108. 108.

    Ibid., 75, 233.

  109. 109.

    Broman, ‘The Medical Sciences’, 481.

  110. 110.

    François Boissier de Sauvages, Pathologia methodica, seu de cognoscendis morbis (Amsterdam, 1752), 1. Emphasis in original. With ‘Arabs’, Sauvages mainly referred to Ibn Sina.

  111. 111.

    French, Medicine before Science, 231.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ruben E. Verwaal .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Verwaal, R.E. (2020). Semen in Flux. In: Bodily Fluids, Chemistry and Medicine in the Eighteenth-Century Boerhaave School. Palgrave Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Medicine. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-51540-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-51541-6

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)