Hundt (Hund, Canis), Magnus

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Hundt (Hund, Canis), Magnus

(b. Magdeburg Germany, 1449; d. Meissen, Germany, 1519)

anatomy, medicine.

Magnus Hundt the Elder is known to have been associated with Leipzig University from at least 1485. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1483, a baccaluareate in medicine in 1499, and a licentiate in theology in 1504, and was a professor at Leipzig for many years. The university was removed to Meissen, near the end of his life, on account of the plague.

Hundt’s best-known work, Antropologia de hominis dignitate, natura et proprietatibus de elementis, published in 1501, is one of the three or four earliest printed books to include anatomic illustrations. At one time, Hundt’s work was looked upon as the oldest printed book with original anatomic illustrations, but that is no longer believed to be the case. His Antorpologia included five full-page woodcuts, including two idential reproductions of the human head, which appeared on the back of the title page as well as later in the book. The woodcuts are crude and schematic and not done from nature, and although one of the woodcuts pictures the entire body and lists the various external parts, there is no attempt to equate the anatomical term with the actual representation. There is also a full page woodcut of a hand with chiromantic markings, and of the internal organs of the throax and abdomen. Smaller woodcuts, including plates of the stomach, intestines, and cranium, are inserted throughout the text. The work gives a clear idea of anatomy prior to the work of Berengario da Caripi, and can be regarded as typifying late-fifteenthcentury concepts. Hundt held that the stars exert more influence on the human body than on other composites of elements, and his book includes generalizations about human physiognomy and chiromancy as well as anatomy. He subscribed to the notion of the seven-celled uterus, which he apparently derived from Galen.


I. Original Works. Hundt’s Antropologia de hominis dignitate, nature et proprietatibus de elementis was published by Wolfang Stöckel (“Monacensis”) at Leipzing in 1501. Hundt also edited or commented on Introductorium in universalem Aristotelis Phisician Parvuauls Philosophiae naturalis vulgariter appellatum (1500), today at the British Museum, and annnotated works by St Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. The Nütliches Regiment, Sammt dem Bericht der Ertzney, wider etliche Kranckhiet der Brust sometimes listed under his name, should be attributed to Magnus Hundt the Younger.

II. Secondary Literature. The best account of Hundt is in Karl Sudhoff, Die Medizinische Fakultät zu Leipzing im ersten Johrhundert der Universität (Leipzing, 1909), pp. 115–121. His anatomical illustrations are discussed in Ludwig Choulant, History and Bibliography o Anatomic Illustration, translated and annotated by Mortimer Frank (New Yorkm 1945), pp, 125–126.

Vern L. Bullough