Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Eucharius Rösslin (c 1470–1526) of Germany and the rebirth of midwifery
  1. Peter M Dunn
  1. University of Bristol Department of Child Health Southmead Hospital Bristol BS10 5NB
  1. Professor Peter Dunn.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Little is known of Eucharius Rösslin’s early life. In 1493 he became an apothecary in Freiburg and 13 years later was elected physician to the city of Frankfurt on Main. From there he moved to a similar post in Worms in the service of Katherine, Princess of Saxony and Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg. One of his responsibilities was to examine and supervise the city midwives. These he found to be ignorant, careless, and responsible for many unnecessary deaths. His response, in 1513, was to publish a book on midwifery in Strasburg called Der Rosengarten. The full title, loosely translated was “The rosegarden for pregnant women and midwives.”1 The text was written in German and contained several engravings (fig 1) by Martin Caldenbach, a pupil of Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). Rösslin dedicated the book to his patron, Katherine. In truth, to a great extent the text was based on the writings of Moschion (circa 6th century AD), who in his turn, had based his own manuscript on the works of Soranus of Ephesus and other writers from classical times. The book was an immediate success.2Emperor Maximillian granted him the copyright for six years.

Figure 1

Woman on the delivery stool (from Der Rosengarten, 1513).

Rösslin returned to his job in Frankfurt in 1517 and remained in that post until his death in 1526. His son, also named Eucharius Rösslin, succeeded him as town physician. In 1532 he published a Latin translation of his father’s book as Du partu Hominis and in 1540 a “studious and …

View Full Text