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 8 On the Ossicles That Enter Upon the Construction of the Organ of Hearing

The use of ossicles of the organ of hearing

Whether the incus and the malleus function as their shapes suggest, and the second ossicle [malleus] is moved by the slightest breath (as it is in dissection) along with the membrane to which it is attached, while the first ossicle remains more or less at rest, I would not want to say, because I do not understand the mechanics of hearing as well as I would like. This is not because I am unaware of that common refuge of medical experts to the mixture of parts 10 and the circles of air; we are all persuaded by the fall of pebbles into water that these waves are carried into the ear from an impact upon the air, and that they strike a certain membrane: but at the same time we are completely ignorant about the construction of this organ. 11 The Maker of things devises things here with his clever artifice that are far too divine, whose structure I demonstrate clearly enough in classes, but whose use and way of working I can explain no better than I can the eye itself. But because much more will be said later about the organ of hearing, it has sufficed here to have described the ossicles. If you have not followed this account, put on the table the head of a calf, lamb, or some other animal, divide the bone of the temples in both directions, and study the construction of these bones. 12 It is much better to examine them in a raw head than in one that has been boiled, and rather in a human than in any other animal. For by the former procedure you will not only encounter a construction of ossicles that is extremely pleasant to view, you will also marvel that the way nearly all musical instruments are made is taken from the structure of the organ of hearing.



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 8 On the Ossicles That Enter Upon the Construction of the Organ of Hearing