Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog sponsored by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community, medical students, and the medical industry. We will post a workweek daily medical or surgical term, its meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. Be warned that some of the images used depict human anatomical specimens.

Click on the link below to subscribe to the MTD newsletter. If you think an article could be interesting to somebody else, click on the mail link at the top of each article to forward it. 

You are welcome to submit questions and suggestions using our "Contact Us" form. The information on this blog follows the terms on our "Privacy and Security Statement"  and cannot be construed as medical guidance or instructions for treatment. 

Click here to subscribe to the Medical Terminology Daily Newsletter

fbbuttons sm

We have 366 guests online

A Moment in History

Johann Gottfried Zinn

Johann Gottfried Zinn

Anatomist and botanist, Johann Gottfried Zinn was born on December 6, 1727 in the city of Ansbach, Germany. He started his medical studies in his native city, becoming later a student of Dr.  Albrecht von Hallers at the University of Göttingen, and received his MD in 1749.

He left for Berlin to continue his studies but came back shortly thereafter. He became a professor of anatomy at the University of Göttingen and in 1753 he also became the director of the botanical garden in the same city.

He is known for his anatomical treatise on the anatomy of the human eye: “Descriptio anatomica oculi humani iconibus illustrata”. Because of this, his name has become an eponym in the “Zonule of Zinn”, a ring of strands that forms a fibrous band connecting the ciliary body with the capsule of the lens of the eye. Zonule of Zinn is sometimes referred to as the suspensory ligaments of the lens, or the “ligament of Zinn”. His name is also attached to the anular ring tendon found in the posterior aspect of the eye, the "anular tendon of Zinn". This ring serves as attachment for all the extraocular muscles of the eye and the optic nerve passes through the center of the ring.

Carol Linné (Carolus Linneaus) named a genus of flowers in the family Asteraceae known vernacularly today as “Zinnia” in his honor. Hover your cursor over his portrait to see the flower.

The chapter on orbital anatomy of his anatomy book, taken from the second edition in 1780, has been translated and the first of three parts is published in an issue of “Strabismus”

His book "Catalogus Plantarum Horti Academici Et Agri" can be seen online here.

His life was short, dying at the early age of 32, but his name lives on in the name of a beautiful flower.

1. “Johann Gottfried Zinn" Simonz, HJ Strabismus – 2004, Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 125 
2. "Anatomical Description of the Human Eye" Zinn, JG Strabismus, 13:45–52, 2005 
Images: Public Domain by Wikipedia Commons. 1. Own work I_am Jin, and H. Wilhem Dietz

 "Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc., and the contributors of "Medical Terminology Daily" wish to thank all individuals who donate their bodies and tissues for the advancement of education and research”.

Click here for more information

abebooks banner

Mondino de Luzzi

This article is part of the series "A Moment in History" where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.To search all the articles in this series, click here.
Mondino de Luzzi (ca.1270 – 1326). Italian anatomist, born Raimondo de Luzzi in the city of Bologna circa 1270.  He was also known as Mondino, Remondino, or Mundinus de Leutiis, de Lentiis, de Lucci, and other variations of his name. His father Nerino Franzoli was an apothecary, and Mondino also started working as such.

In 1290 he enrolled in the Medical School at the University of Bologna obtaining his medical degree circa 1290. Mondino stayed at the university, where he continued to teach until his death in 1326.

His major publication is “Anothomia Corporis Humani”, written circa 1316 and found only in manuscript form. It was finally printed in movable type in 1478, making it easily available to the public. While some authors like Singer, 1925 contend that this is his only publication, others discuss the possibility that Mondino de’ Luzzi wrote other books that have been adjudicated to other authors as at the time the name “Mondino” was very common.

“Anothomia Corporis Humani” is the first anatomical book based on actual dissections, and the book was organized almost as a dissection manual, explaining dissection techniques to visualize specific structures. Initially this book had no illustrations, but some were added in later publications.

Title page of Anathomia Corporis Humanis by Mondino de Luzzi. Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine
Title page of Anathomia Corporis Humanis by Mondino de Luzzi
With over 40 editions, the last one in 1668, this book was used for almost 250 years. Mondino restarted human dissections in medical schools almost 1,500 years the medical school of Alexandria, leading many to call Mondino the “restorer of anatomy”.

It is said that Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) used one of Mondino’s books as a dissection manual to guide his own. Because Mondino followed Galen’s dictums and teachings, he was harshly criticized for his errors by Andreas Vesalius (1514 – 1564).

Although it is not clear if Mondino himself performed the actual dissections (he says he did), it is clear that he directed them. We know of two of his assistants:  Otto Agenio Lustrolanus and Alessandra Giliani, the first woman prosector and anatomist. When Mondino died the same year as Alessandra Giliani, the expectation was that his assistant would continue the work of the master. Sadly Otto Agenio Lustrolanus died before he was 30 years old.

In the introduction to “Anothomia” Mondino says: "A work upon any science or art-as saith Galen-is issued for three reasons: First, that one may satisfy his friends. Second, that he may exercise his best mental powers. Third, that he may be saved from the oblivion incident to old age. Therefore, moved by these three causes, I have proposed to my pupils to compose a certain work on Medicine.”

"And because a knowledge of the parts to be subjected to medicine (which is the human body, and the names of its various divisions) is a part of medical science, as saith Averrhoes in his first chapter, in the section on the definition of medicine, for this reason among others I have set out to lay before you the knowledge of the parts of the human body which is derived from anatomy, not attempting to use a lofty style, but the rather that which is suitable to a manual procedure."

1. “Mondino de' Luzzi's commentary on the Canones Generales of Mesue the Younger” Welborn, MC. Isis  , 22: 1 (1934) , 8-11
2. “Medieval neuroanatomy: the text of Mondino dei Luzzi and the plates of Guido da Vigevano” Orly R. J Hist Neurosci. 1997 6 (2):113-123
3. “Mondino de Luzzi (1270-1326) Restaurador de la Disecci?n Anat?mica” Rever?n, RR. Informe Medico 2007; 9 (12):589-592
4. “The history and illustration of anatomy in the Middle Ages” Gurunluoglu, R, et al. J Med Biogr 2013 21: 219 – 229
5. “The Mondino Myth” Pilcher, LS. 1906
Original image courtesy of NLM