A short introduction to the
The interest in the circulatory
system is ancient; one of the first documented studies was performed
by Herophilus (335-280 BCE). He invented a type of water clock to be
able to quantify how fast the heart was beating; considering the
limited knowledge of the cardiovascular system at this time, this was
an advanced study for its time. Later, but still almost 2000 years
ago, the scientist Galen (130-201 CE) showed that both the arteries
and veins contained blood, something that had not been shown earlier.
In the 13th century the scientist Ibn an-Nafis (1205-1288 CE)
described the circulation through the lungs, but it was not until the
17th century –when William Harvey wrote his book "De motu cordis"–
that the circulatory system was described in more detail, based on
truly scientific studies. In the preface to his book he writes:
"Most Serene King
heart is the basis of its life, its chief member,
the sun of
its microcosm; on the heart all its activity depends,
heart all its liveliness and strength arises."
William Harvey M.D.
Movement of the heart and blood in animals.
An anatomical essay
Frankfurt: William Fitzer, 1928