The Galileo Project
site map

Paré, Ambroise

1. Dates
Born: c. 1510
Died: 22 Dec. 1590
Dateinfo: Birth Uncertain
Lifespan: 80
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
Nothing certain is known of his antecedents. His father has been thought to have been either a cabinet-maker, or a barber-surgeon and valet to the Duke of Laval. From the facts that one of his brothers was a master barber-surgeon and his sister married a master barber-surgeon in Paris it has seemed that his father was probably a barber-surgeon.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: No University
He apprenticed to Vialot, Master Barber-Surgeon of Vitre in 1523, then to a barber-surgeon in Paris in 1531. In 1533 he became house surgical student at the Hotel-Dieu, studying anatomy by dissection until 1535.
He was licensed as Master Barber-Surgeon in 1541. In 1554 he passed examination by College of Surgeons as Bachelor of Surgeon, and licensed as sworn surgeon.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
Although often reported to have been a Huguenot, Paré remained a Roman Catholic throughout his life.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Surgery
He reported his discovery that gunshot wounds were not in themselves poisonous and did not require cautery in his first treatise, La methode de traicter les playes faites par les arquebuses et aultres bastons a feu (1545). The treatise brought him immediate fame. He left a powerfully reactivated surgical tradition at his death. His many publications circulated throughout Europe, and had considerable influence during his life and well into the following century.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Patronage
In 1535, began his medical practice as a barber-surgeon in Paris.
1536-8, surgeon in military service under Duke de Montejan.
1538-42, 1552-90, practice in Paris.
1542-52, surgeon in military service under Vicount de Rohan.
1552-9, Surgeon in Ordinary to Henry II.
1560-2, Surgeon in Ordinary to Charles IX.
1562-74, Premier Surgeon to Charles IX and Valet-de- Chambre.
1574-90, Premier Surgeon, Councillor and Valet de Chambre to the court of Henry III.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Aristrocrat
Duke de Vendome, the commander of the force at Chateau le Comte, sent a complete report of his activities to the King, commending him highly on his surgical skill in 1562. As a result, the King ordered his premier physician to record him as a Surgeon in Ordinary to the King.
After Henry II's death in 1559, he remained at the court as surgeon in ordinary to the new King, Charles IX, and was appointed premier surgeon to the King in 1662. He had been in the court during almost the entire lifetime of Charles IX, to whom he was a great friend and favorite.
On the death of Charles IX, he was reappointed premier surgeon to Henry III. In 1574 he obtained the King's privilege for 9 years to publish a book of his collected works. He held his position at court until his death.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
He discovered new treatment of gun wounds.
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Medical College
He was admitted to the College of Surgeons in 1554.
  1. Wallace B. Hamby, Ambroise Paré, (St.Louis, Mo., 1967).
  2. R507.P2H19 F.P. Packard, ed., The life and Times of Ambroise Paré, (New York, 1926). R507.P2
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Bernard Crenn, ed. Ambroise Paré et son temps. Actes du Colloque international 24 et 25 novembre 1990 ŕ Laval (Mayenne), (Laval, 1990).
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
Last updated
Home | Galileo | Biography | Chronology | Family | Portraits |
Science | Christianity | Library | About | Site Map | Search

Please note: We will not answer copyright requests.
See the copyright page for more information.