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Caius [Keys, Kees], John

1. Dates
Born: Norwich, 6 Oct. 1510
Died: London, 29 July 1573.
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 63
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
We know only that his name was Robert Caius.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: English
Career: English
Death: English
4. Education
Schooling: Cambridge, M.A.; Padua, M.D.
Cambridge University, 1529-33; Gonville Hall; B.A., 1533; M.A., 1535.
Created M.D. in Cambridge in 1558 on the occasion of the refoundation, through his endowment, of his college as Gonville and Caius.
University of Padua, 1539-41; M. D., 1541.
At Padua he studied under Montanus and Vesalius, and lived in Vesalius' house for a number of months.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic.
He remained a Catholic despite the increasing pressure during the Elizabethan reign.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine
Subordinate: Zoology, Anatomy, Natural History
Caius was a firm Galenist who believed that Galen had settled medical knowledge once and for all. He collected and published Galenic texts and, in 1544, he published a Galenic treatise, Methodus medendi. He also restored a couple of Hippocratic treatises, and he collated a printed work of Celsus with manuscripts in Italy.
His Boke or Counseill Against the Disease Commonly Called the Sweate, 1552, was a classic study of a single disease.
As an anatomical demonstrator, Caius made contributions to the development of anatomy in England.
De rariorum animalium atque stirpium historia, 1570, was a description of flora and fauna around London.
De canibus britannicis, 1570.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Patronage
Secondary: Scientific Society, Academia
In 1533, Principal of Physwick's Hostel, an annex of Gonville Hall. Also in 1533, Fellow of Gonville Hall; he continued to hold the fellowship until his return from Italy.
1541-2, Professor of Logic and Philosophy (in Greek) at Padua. Caius remained on the continent, first in Italy and then in Basel, until at least 1544.
Appointed anatomical demonstrator to the Company of Barber Surgeons, 1546-63. (The beginning date is in question; possibly it was 48 or 49.)
Medical practice in London from c. 1548, gaining considerable wealth. In his practice he was frequently called out of London by the aristocracy and gentry.
Appointed physician succesively to Edward VI, Mary and Elizabath.
Caius was Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, 1559-73. The college itself was Caius' benefaction; he accepted no salary.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Aristrocrat, Gentry, Eccesiastic Official, Physician
Caius began to lecture on anatomy in London in 1546 on the express command of Henry VIII. He dedicated Galeni libri aliquot Graeci, 1544, to Henry.
He dedicated Galeni de tuenda valetudine libri sex, 1549, to Edward VI.
He was physician succesively to Edward VI, Queen Mary, and Elizabeth by royal commands. The appointment with Elizabeth was terminated in 1568 because of Caius' Catholicism. (Source on patronage: C.D. O'Malley, English Medical Humanists, pp. 26-46, R489 .C3O5)
Caius dedicated A Boke Against the Disease Commonly Called the Sweate, 1552, to the Earl of Pembroke. He dedicated the Latin edition, 1556, to the Bishop of Arras.
He dedicated Galenus de propriis libris, 1556, to the Bishop of Chichester.
Caius was called to attend the aristocracy and gentry in the neighborhood of London--e.g., the Countess of Oxford and a son of Sir John Baker of Kent in 1557.
He dedicated his first book, Methodus medendi, 1544, when he was returning to England to set up practice, to Dr. Butts, physicians to Henry VIII.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Medical College
Informal Connections: friendship with Gesner, Framingham, Parkhust, Claymound, Bullock.
The College of Physicians of London, 1547-73; Elect, 1550; Consilarius, 1550-1; President, 1555-60, 1562-63, 1571. Caius made a major effort to extend the College's control over medical practice throughout England.
  1. C. D. O'Malley, English Medical Humanists, (Lawrence, Kan., 1965), pp. 26-46. R489 .C3 O5. C. Raven, English Naturalists from Neckam to Ray, (Cambridge, 1947), pp. 138-40, 148. QH26 .R25. William Munk, The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (London, 1878), 1, 37-49.
  2. Dictionary of National Biography (repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1949-1950), 3, 673-7. John Venn, "John Caius," in E.S. Roberts, ed. The Works of John Caius, M.D., (Cambridge, 1912), pp. 1-78.
  3. John Venn, Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1897-1901), 1, 27; 3, 30-63.
  4. John Aikin, Biographical Memoirs of Medicine in Great Britain from the Revival of Literature to the Time of Harvey, (London, 1780), pp. 103-36.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. John L. Stender, "Master Doctor Caius," Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 8 (1940), 133-8.
  2. Paul Wohlfarth, "Dr. Caius, a French Physician," Sudhoff's Archiv, 40 (1956), 97-105.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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