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Riolan, Jean, Jr.

1. Dates
Born: Paris, 15 Feb. 1580
Died: Paris, 19 Feb. 1657
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 77
2. Father
Occupation: Physician
His father was a leading member of the Paris Medical Faculty, serving as dean in 1585-6. His mother was of the Pietre family, which was very prominent in Parisian medicine during the 16th and 17th centuries.
The family was wealthy.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: Paris, M.D.
After receiving his bachelor's, he was named archdeacon of schools which placed him in charge of the material for anatomy courses including the cadavers.
He studied chiefly under his uncle Simon Pietre and took his M.D. in 1604. As always, I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
He was buried in the church at St. Germain-l'Auxerrois.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Anatomy, Medicine
He was a trained anatomist and dissector and emphasized the superiority of active anatomical observation over long reading and profound meditations. Like his father he was a stern defender of traditional medicine and declared himself an enemy to chemical healers.
He established his reputation through a series of textbooks, the most important being the second edition of Anthropographia (1626). These works reveal a mastery of original observation and of the classical and modern literature. In his later Encheiridium (1648) he included a systematic presentation of both morbid and normal anatomy.
Though in his later years he tried to accept new discoveries, he continually tried to uphold Galenic medicine and opposed the anatomical interpretations of Pecquet, Bartholin, and Harvey.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia, Patronage, Medicine
1604-40, Professor of anatomy and botany at the University of Paris and professor of medicine at the Collège Royal.
1640-57, dean of the Collège Royal. Though he never officially held the Dean of Faculty position he was so esteemed by his colleagues that he was called 'doyen' in an honorific sense.
In 1633, he became the principal physician of the Queen Mother.
Although I do not have an explicit statement, I assume that he must have practiced medicine.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Physician
He became the principal physician of the Queen Mother, Maie de Madicis. He accompanied her on her foreign travels, and attended her final illness at Cologne in 1642.
He was also physician to Henry IV and Louis XIII.
André de Laurens, chief physician of Henry IV, obtained for Riolan the chair of anatomy, botany and pharmacy.
(Thomas Bartholin dedicated his book on the discovery of the lymphatic vessels to Riolan.)
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. R. Tabuteau, Deux anatomistes français: Les Riolan, (Paris, 1929). T. Vetter, "Jean Riolan, second du nom, qui ne fut pas doyen des écoles de Paris, " Presse médicale, 73 (1965), 3269-74.
  2. N. Mani, "Jean Riolan II (1580-1657) and Medical Research, " Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 42 (1968), 121-44.
  3. R131.A1J6 (on his works only).
  4. Dezeimeris, J.E. Ollivier and Raige-Delorme, Dictionnaire historique de la medecine ancienne et moderne, 4 vols. (Paris, 1828-39). The names, without first names or initials except for Ollivier, appear this way on volume 1; Dezeimeris alone appears on the remaining volumes.
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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