Monday, March 26, 2007

Giliani the Prosector

Alessandra Giliani died on this day in 1326 at the age of 19.

A student at the University of Bologna, Giliani became an assistant to Mondino dei Luzzi, a leading anatomist, serving as the first woman prosector, or preparer of dissections for anatomical study. She developed a method of draining blood from the corpse and replacing it with quick-hardening colored fluids, thus allowing scientists to see the smallest blood vessels with ease. She may be said to have been the lynchpin of Mondino's success, for he seems to have disappeared from the stage of history after her death.

When Alessandra died (her cause of death is not known), it is said that her boyfriend Otto Agenius (also one of Mondino's assistants) died a short time later from grief.

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