Aranzio, Giulio Cesare

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Aranzio, Giulio Cesare

(b. Bologna, Italy, ca. 1529/1530; d. Bologna, 7 April 1589)

surgery, anatomy.

Since Aranzio’s parents, Ottaviano di Jacopo and Maria Maggi, were poor, he was aided in his medical education by his maternal uncle, Bartolomeo Maggi (1477–1552), lecturer in surgery at the University of Bologna and principal court physician of Julius III. He was a favorite pupil of this uncle, whom he loved and esteemed so highly that he assumed his surname, calling himself Giulio Cesare Aranzio Maggio. He studied at the University of Padua, where in 1548, at nineteen, he made his first anatomical discovery: the elevator muscle of the upper eyelid. He received his degree at Bologna on 20 May 1556, and shortly thereafter, at the age of twenty-seven, he became lecturer in medicine and surgery at the same university.

The excellent scientific and practical preparation Aranzio had received from his uncle immediately brought him fame. He discovered the pedes hippocamp; the cerebellum cistern; and the fourth ventricle, the arterial duct between the aorta and the pulmonary duct, which discovery was erroneously attributed to Leonardo Botallo.

In 1564 Aranzio published De humano foetu opusculum, and fifteen years later his Observationes anatomicae appeared. In these he presented the new direction of anatomy, based not merely on simple description of the organs of the body but also on experimental investigations of their functions.

Aranzio was the first lecturer at the University of Bologna to hold a separate professorship of anatomy; prior to him, instruction was given by lecturers in surgery. He himself began as a lecturer in surgery, but in 1570 he was able to have the two subjects separated so that each would have its own professorship. He held both professorships all his life, beloved and esteemed by his students.

Aranzio’s De tumoribus secundum locus afectum (1571) is devoted to surgical subjects and gives a very good idea of the quality of his surgical lectures. He performed rhinoplastic surgery several years before Gaspare Tagliacozzi, but he wrote nothing on these operations. One of his pupils, Oczok Wojciech, who graduated from Bologna in 1569, did publish Przymiot (Cracow, 1581), a treatise on syphilis, however. In this treatise, in discussing the loss of the nose as the result of an attack of syphilis, he mentions rhinoplastic surgery and then states that in Bologna he frequently saw Aranzio perform such surgery successfully by using the “skin of the arm.” It was Tagliacozzi, though, who gave the first scientific description of facial plastic surgery, illustrating the account with splendid charts.


I. Original Works. Aranzio’s writings are De humano foetu opusculum (Rome, 1564; Venice, 1571; Basel, 1579); De tumoribus secundum locus affectum (Bologna, 1571); and Observationes anatomicae (Basel, 1579; Venice, 1587, 1595).

II. Secondary Literature. Works on Aranzio are A. Malati Benedicenti, Medici e farmacisti, 2 vols. (Milan, 1947); T. G. Benedict, Collectanea ad historiam rinoplastices Italorum (Bratislava, 1843); Biographie medicate: Dizionario delle scienze mediche (Paris, 1820–1825); A. Castiglioni, “La scuola bolognese e la rinascita dell’anatomia,” in Annali Merck (1931); U. Cesarano, “Giulio Cesare Aranzi,” in Comune di Bologna, 1 (1929); E. Dall’Osso, “Giulio Cesare Aranzio e la rinoplastica,” in Annali di medicina navale e tropicale, 61, no. 5 (Sept.–Oct. 1956), and “Un contributo al pensiero scientifico di Giulio Cesare Aranzio : la sua opera chirurgica,” ibid., no. 6 (Nov.–Dec. 1956); O. Dezeimeris and Rainge-Delorme, Dizionario storico delta medicina antica e moderna (Paris, 1828–1829); Dizionario classico di medicina interna ed esterna (Milan, 1838–1847); G. Fantuzzi, “Aranzio,” in Notizie degli serittori bolognesi, I (Bologna, 1790); A. Gallassi, “Chirurgia plastica. Ars medica per saecula,” in Collana di studi e ricerche (Bologna, 1950–1951); G. Marini, Degli archiatri pontifici (Rome, 1784); G. Martinotti, L‘insegnamento dell’anatomia a Bologna prima del secolo XIX (Bologna, 1910); G. M. Mazzucchelli, Gli scrittori d‘Italia (Brescia, 1753); M. Medici, Compendio storico della scuola anatomica di Bologna (Bologna, 1857); L. Münster, “Un precursore bolognese della rinoplastica del ‘400,” in Atti del 10 Con vegno Società Meduica Italo-Svizzera (Bologna, 1953); A. Pazzini, Storia della medicina (Milan, 1947), Bio-bibliografia di storia della chirurgia (Rome, 1948), and “Breve storia della rinoplastica,” in La chirurgia plastica, 1 , no. 1; A. Sorbelli and L. Simeoni, Storia dell’Università di Bologna (Bologna, 1949); and J. P. Wester and M. Tesch Gnudi, The Life and Times of M. Gaspare Tagliacozzi (New York-Bologna, 1953).

Eugenio Dall‘Osso

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Aranzio, Giulio Cesare

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