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

Size and shape

Bones vary in size, since several are large, like the femur, the tibia, the humerus, and bones attached to each side of the sacrum; there are several small bones, like the bones of the carpus, the teeth, and the ossicles that are like sesame seeds. Others again are broad, like the bones [os ilii] joined to the sides of the sacrum, the scapulae, the sacrum, the bones of the vertex [os parietale], frontal bone [os frontale], and occiput [os occipitale]. Others are narrow, slender, and long, like the fibula, the radius, the ulna, and the ribs, among many others. It will be better to reserve all the varieties that can be derived from shape (since they are innumerable) to the individual descriptions of bones. It would in fact be difficult, before the bones have been described, to explain which of these are rough, as we shall call those in the base of the skull stony because they look like a broken rock [os temporale, pars petrosa]. Likewise those that are smooth, like the bones of the vertex [os parietale], the frontal bone, and the sternum. Then there are those that resemble a triangle like the scapula, quadrangular like the bones of the vertex, those that have the look of a wedge, like the bone in the head named sfhnoeide/j [os sphenoidale] after a wedge; 8 and those that look like yokes, called zugw/mata [os zygomaticum] by the Greeks 9 and iugalia, yokelike, by us; those that imitate our figure ∫, like the clavicles, and show the effigy of a sword, like the sternum; also those that recall the letter u, like the bone called the u(oeide\j, hyoid; 10 the bones that resemble a shuttle with which wider threads are woven, like the bone of the forearm that is given the name of a shuttle, radius. Also those that we compare to the cube or tessera in a mosaic, 11 like the foot bone named kuboeide/j 12 [os cuboideum] because of its cube shape, and those that approach the look of a skiff, like the foot bone named after a skiff by the Greeks, skafoeide/j 13 [os naviculare, formerly os scaphoideum]; those said to be like a millstone, a shield, or a little plate, patella, like the bone at the front of the knee joint; those that slightly suggest the outline of all Italy, like the femur; and which resemble a pin, fibula, like the thin bone in the shin called the os fibula: those that resemble the beak of the cuckoo (Lat. coccyx or cuculus), like the bone at the bottom of the sacrum, which is called the coccyx; those that somehow have the look of an anvil or a molar, like the smaller ossicle [os incus] of the organ of hearing; or a hammer, like the larger ossicle [os malleus]


page 2

of the same organ; in addition, those which have gotten their name from the shape of a pivot or whorl, like the vertebrae of the back; and which correspond to a nail, called go/mfoj by the Greeks, like the teeth; 14 those that present the form of half a rather large pea or chick-pea, like the two ossicles of the foot underneath the first joint of the toe. 15 A large number of bones of this type that have variations from one to the other may not be understood in passing by those to whom the bones are still unknown.

Inset text with illustration, page 2 Since the varieties of bone are not as obvious in the illustrations preceding individual chapters describing particular bones as they are in the bones discussed in this chapter, we have illustrated here a part of the arm bone, or (as we should say with Celsus) 17 the humerus, sectioned longitudinally. It shows at its head, which is articulated to the scapula, small cavities shaped like those in pumice, marked A 18 ; scale covering those cavities, marked B. 19 The exterior portion of the bone is marked C [cartilago articularis], clearly visible here. 20 D marks the large hollow space [cavitas medullaris], surrounded by the extremely solid and thick part of the bone, marked E and F [osseus compactus], and extending along the longitude [shaft] of the humerus. At G, near the top of the hollow, and at the bottom, where H is seen, bony lines [trabeculae] occur, woven in the marrow enclosed in this cavity. In addition, under the humerus we have shown the bone resembling a small boat [os naviculare], which will be represented in the eleventh figure of Chapter 33; here it is dissected through the middle, marked I and K, so that the substance of the bone may appear, constructed like pumice. On each side, L marks the porous or spongy material [osseus spongiosus] of this bone. M is the scale [osseus compactus] that makes up the bone’s surface and everywhere surrounds its spongy substance. Beneath this bone we have added one of the ossicles [ossa sesamoidea] that is attached to the first joint of the toe [os hallicis] and is marked w and y in the second figure of the thirty-third chapter. This, marked N, we have divided all the way through the middle, so that a completely solid bone, totally without small cavities, could somehow be seen.




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