This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to add to the academic history of surgical institutions, medicine in general, and of Scotland itself, as well as celebrating 500 years of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh' continuous existence. It then provides an overview of the history of the College, which falls into two main divisions: ‘The Incorporation’ and ‘The College’, and then turns to theories and professions.
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