Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them]

Chapter 13 On the Bone Resembling the Greek Upsilon 1

[Figures of Chapter 13]


Key to Figures and Characters set forth here
The first figure of the present chapter represents the anterior face of the bone [corpus ossis hyoidei] resembling the letter u [Greek upsilon], together with its lesser or more elevated sides [cornua minora] and the ossicles which are connected to them as far as the processes of the temporal bones that are shaped in the fashion of a stylus [processus styloideus].
The second figure shows the posterior region of the bone resembling a u, along with the more elevated ribs [cornua]: but for the moment we have not drawn those ossicles which extend to the processes that resemble a stylus and are drawn in the previous figure. 2

ABC 1 Larger and middle ossicle [corpus] of the hyoid bone, visible on its anterior side. A and B indicate the protuberant region of this surface. In between these characters appears the particular tubercle of this region, marked *. C indicates the transversely elongated depression discernible in the superior part of this middle ossicle.
D 2 Posterior side of the larger ossicle [corpus], depressed and concave.
E F 1 , 2 Lower sides [cornua majora] of the hyoid bone, which with the middle ossicle represent a figure like a u.
G 1 , 2 Joint of the lower side [cornu majus] with the broader and larger ossicle of the hyoid bone.
H 1 , 2 Apex of the lower side, which is attached to the process of the laryngeal cartilage that resembles a shield [cartilago thyroidea, cornu superius].
I K 1 , 2 Upper sides [cornua minora] of the hyoid bone, considerably thinner and more smoothly rounded than the lower ones.
LMN 1 Three ossicles, very often 3 joined to the upper sides [cornua minora]. Besides the fifth plate of the muscles at the letter L, several earlier illustrations of Book Two, Chapter Twelve 4 at A, B, C, and D further represent the hyoid bone.

Location and names of the hyoid bone
A bone taken collectively for the sake of unity but constructed of many different ossicles is placed before the most prominent part of the larynx; some call it u(yiloeide/j 5 from the shape of the letter u, others more succinctly u(oeide/j: those without experience in dissection, misled by this term, have translated it in Galen as “the bone resembling a pig.” 6 This bone is named elsewhere lambdoeide/j [“lambda-shaped”] from the look of the letter L; translators deceived by this name have become accustomed to render it “the lambda-like suture of the head” (C, D in figs. 3, 4, ch. 6; B in the third skeleton). But I for my part have recently removed errors of this sort from a version of Galen which both Italy and Germany published in Latin. Herophilus 7 is also said to have called this bone parasta/thj [”companion”], perhaps because it is located next to the tongue, or the larynx, or the jaws, just as in the organs serving generation he calls certain items parasta/thj kirsoeidh/j “the varicose companion” [i.e., spermatic duct] (from d to e in figs. 22, 23, bk. 5) and parasta/thj a)denoeidh/j (c, B in the same figs.) “the glandular companion” 8 . Moreover, there are some who, because it is located in the throat, have called it the faru/ggetron. 9 I have made it my practice throughout to name this “the bone resembling a u,” or more succinctly “the hyoid.”

Middle ossicle of the hyoid bone
The human has this bone quite differently constructed than the quadruped, which until now we have dealt with, and it is the broadest ossicle of the hyoid bone (A, B, *, C in fig. 1, D in fig. 2), convex on the outside and jutting forward with its own protuberance; but inside, or in the posterior surface, it is concave. On the anterior, it is indented on top as in an elongated depression, because the shape is suitable to it, and because of the muscles and ligaments attached to it. For into the upper depression are implanted the third and fourth muscles (R in the 4th table of muscles) [musculi mylohyoidei] peculiar to this bone;


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on the protuberance visible in this location, at the sides which are somewhat impressed in the area where it swells, the first two muscles [musculi sternohyoidei] peculiar to this bone make their insertion (S and T in the 4th table of muscles; the other muscles of this bone are Q [m. stylohyoideus] and V [m. omohyoideus]). From the hollow of the posterior side the first two muscles [radix linguae] that move the tongue have their principal origin (see D, D in figs. 1 and 2, Bk. II, Ch. 19). Moreover, because the hyoid is convex on the outside but hollow inside, the muscles are also conveniently placed farther from the path of injuries coming from the outside. This larger ossicle [corpus ossis hyoidei], positioned slightly above the larynx, may be found by touch, but its sides [cornua] are a little more deeply hidden. To this wider ossicle two others [cornua minora et majora] are united on each side. 10 One of these is lower, the other higher.

Lower sides of the hyoid bone
The lower ossicle [cornu majus] is somewhat shorter and broader than the upper [cornu minus], and is connected to no other bone than the side (G in figs. 1, 2) of the middle, wider ossicle of the hyoid bone, to which it is firmly attached by cartilage and cartilaginous ligament over a noteworthy breadth. The end of this bone (H in figs. 1 and 2) is joined [ligamentum thyrohyoideum laterale] to the superior process [cornu superius] of the laryngeal cartilage that looks like a shield [cartilago thyroidea] (A, B in figs. 3 and 4, ch. 38). We rightly call this lower ossicle or side, together with its mate on the other side, the lower side of the hyoid bone, suited for admitting and bringing forth a certain number of muscles. And these lower sides, along with the middle or greater ossicle [corpus], nicely make the figure u.

Superior sides and attached ossicles
To the upper ossicle or side [cornu minor], which appears more rounded, are joined in turn other long, rounded ossicles (L, M, and N in figure 1) in a continuous series, until their ends are inserted in the temporal bone near the base its process, which we have often mentioned looks like a writer’s stylus [processus styloideus]; this can be seen most clearly in quadrupeds. 11 These ossicles, attached to the superior sides of the hyoid bone, are not always observed in an equal number, but usually three or four are seen on each side. From time to time, however, especially in women, we have seen these ossicles and the upper sides missing altogether, and in their place a certain rounded, strong, elongated ligament [l. stylohyoideum] attached to the hyoid bone and the styloid process. This has been called to my attention more than once by my good friend Renaldo Colombo 12 , now a professor of sophistic at Padua, a most diligent student of anatomy. The hyoid bone is therefore neither free-floating nor contiguous to any bone, as the connection of the superior sides to the temporal bones shows. The lower sides also, attached by a ligament [membranea thyrohyoidea] to the processes of the shield-like cartilage, attest to the same fact. For the cartilages of the larynx, like the cartilages of the ribs, perform the function of bones, and so far as their contiguity is concerned, are counted in the same class as bones.

How the hyoid bone is secured; its use
Inasmuch as the hyoid bone does not rest on as firm a base as the other bones, we shall explain in Book Two that it is drawn into every kind of position by its own muscles, in such a way that it cannot be dislocated from its place either to the sides, up and down, or forward and backward. And though in humans it happens to be extremely small, it performs the greatest and most numerous functions; these will be explained when we show that several muscles of the tongue (D, D, E in figs. 1, 2, ch. 19 Bk. 2) [Mm. hyoglossi] originate from it, that it is placed beneath the tongue like a foundation and very steady base, and that the beginnings of certain muscles of the larynx (F in figs. 1, 2, ch. 21, Bk. 2 and K in figs. 2, 3) [mm. thyrohyoidei] extend from it.


Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them]