The death of Henry II of France

J Neurosurg. 1992 Dec;77(6):964-9. doi: 10.3171/jns.1992.77.6.0964.


On June 30, 1559, King Henry II of France (1519-1559), against the advice of his court ministers, participated in a fateful joust. The wooden lance of his younger opponent pierced the King's headgear, shattered into fragments, and penetrated his right orbit and temple. The King survived for 11 days following the mortal wound and was treated by two of the most distinguished physicians of the Renaissance: Ambroise Paré (1510-1590), the master surgeon, and Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), the great anatomist. The unfortunate event, the nature of the injury, and the medical consultation between these eminent physicians should all be of interest to neurosurgeons. The historical consequences of this event are briefly reviewed.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / history*
  • Encephalitis / history*
  • Famous Persons*
  • France
  • History, 16th Century
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgery / history*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / history*

Personal name as subject

  • I I King Henry
  • A Paré
  • A Vesalius