Gunpowder, the Prince of Wales's feathers and the origins of modern military surgery

Pearn, John (2012) Gunpowder, the Prince of Wales's feathers and the origins of modern military surgery. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 82 4: 240-244.


Author Pearn, John
Title Gunpowder, the Prince of Wales's feathers and the origins of modern military surgery
Journal name ANZ Journal of Surgery   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-1433
1445-2197
Publication date 2012-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2011.05993.x
Volume 82
Issue 4
Start page 240
End page 244
Total pages 5
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract Background:
The history of military surgery claims many forebears. The first surgeon-soldiers were Homer's Machaon and Podalirius, followed a thousand years later by the Roman surgeons-general, Antonius Musa and Euphorbus; and later, e.g. Ambrose Paré, John Hunter and Sir John Pringle; and the 19th century innovators, Dominique-Jean Larrey (France), Friedrich von Esmarch (Prussia) and the Russian, Nikolai Pirogoff. The singular feature that distinguished modern military surgery from its earlier practice was the use of gunpowder. It was one of two inventions (the other was printing) that by the empowerment of individuals, lifted Western humankind from the medieval to the modern era.

Methods:
Research of primary and secondary archives.

Results and conclusion:
Gunpowder was first used in European warfare at Algeceras (1344-1368). Hitherto, the destruction of tissue had been the result of (relative) low-energy wounding with tissue damage caused by incisional or crushing wounds. The founder of modern surgery, Master John of Arderne (1307-1380), wrote of his experience gained as a military surgeon on the battlefield at Crecy (1346). Following Crecy, Arderne was the only chronicler who described the origins of the Prince of Wales's feathers as a royal and later commercial symbol, and the motto 'Ich Dien', 'I serve', as that of hospitals in the Western World. Later advances in military surgery incorporated both clinical experimentation and the innovation of new systems of pre-hospital battlefield care.
Keyword Emblems and badges
Gunpowder
John of Arderne (1307-1380)
Military surgery
Surgeons-General
Wounds
Wars
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 11 January 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
 
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