Public anatomies have been characterized as carnivalesque events: like the Carnival, they took place in January and February and celebrated bodily existence. However, in late sixteenth- century Padua and in its famous anatomy theater, the annual, public anatomy was a formal, ceremonial event. Girolamo Fabrici, the leading anatomist, gave a philosophical presentation of his research, a presentation organized by topic rather than by the gradual dissection of corpses. For medical students, the annual anatomy and the theater itself encouraged silence, obedience, and docility, reinforcing the virtues of civility that permeated the late humanist environment of Renaissance Padua.
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