The Montpellier physician Bernard de Gordon flourished in the late Middle Ages in the era when university education first evolved in the training of European physicians. Fragmentary details of his life and medical influence are known from seven books, particularly his extensive (163 chapters) text Lilium Medicine and from Chaucer's reference to him in the Canterbury Tales. Chaucer lists Bernard de Gordon as one whose writings were part of the core curriculum of the best-trained European doctors of medieval Europe. Bernard de Gordon was one of that small group of medieval physicians who reverently followed Galenic lore which had endured for a thousand years yet who began to challenge its details and to experiment clinically with new methods of treatment. In his writings, Bernard de Gordon made the first reference to spectacles and to the hernial truss. His writings also contained detailed desiderata for the ethical best practice of medicine of his day, extending the principles of both Hippocrates and Haly ibn Abbas. Unlike many of the surviving writings of other medieval medical teachers, his texts have within them a tone of humility and acknowledged fallibility. Bernard de Gordon holds a small but significant place in the evolving pre-Renaissance chronology of medical professionalism.