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 1 The Nature, Use, and Diversity of Bone

Differentiation of bones by use

Some bones, because of their strength, are made to be as it were the supports of the body; among these are the bones of the tibia and femur, the dorsal vertebrae, and nearly the entire structure of bones. Others 4 are like bulwarks for the other parts, thrown up by nature as the safest walls and fortifications, as for example the skull, the spines of the vertebrae and their transverse processes, the sternum, the ribs. Others are put in charge of the joints of other bones, to keep them from being moved too loosely, or bent in angles that are too sharp. 5 For this function ossicles are formed, compared in size by professors of anatomy to sesame seeds [ossa sesamoidea]; among these are certain bones articulated to the second joint of the thumb, the first joints of the other four fingers, and the first joints of the five toes. 6 The teeth are variously suited to cutting, breaking, crushing, and grinding food, and likewise two ossicles [malleus et incus] 7 of the hearing mechanism serve a particular function in the work of hearing. The chief function of each bone will be shown more fully in the chapters on individual bones; for the present it suffices to enumerate the use of bones in general; how (in a word) they support the entire mass of the body like a prop, and everything is attached to them, strengthened by them, and hung from them to such a degree that, as we have just now said, the type of bones can be chosen from their use and function.



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 1 The Nature, Use, and Diversity of Bone