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 14 On the Spine and its Various Bones

Key to the Figure which Follows, and its Characters

In the figure on the next page we have illustrated the spine [columna vertebralis], which is called by the Greeks a/xij and nw=ton, 2 from the side: first so that the structure of bones of the entire spine may be seen, and afterward so its individual parts may be shown in separate chapters. 3 Since the three figures that are placed at the end of this Book, especially the third of them, also illustrate the spine, you will do well to see them there in passing along with the figures of the third Book 4 illustrating the series of nerves originating from the dorsal medulla [medulla spinalis], placed at the beginning of the eleventh chapter of that Book.

A, B The neck, consisting of seven vertebrae [vertebrae cervicales] which are marked by numbers engraved next to their inner surface.
C, D Portion of the spine making up the thorax [vertebrae thoracicae], which many have simply called the dorsum. Others, because it is located as it were behind the transverse septum, call it the metaphrenum; others, as we were just now saying, the part of the spine where the thorax is. This is most often made up of twelve vertebrae, to which the ribs [costae] of the thorax are articulated; whence they are also called the costal and thoracic vertebrae. 5
E, F Portion of the spine constituting the five lumbar vertebrae [vertebrae lumbales].
G, H The sacrum [os sacrum], which you will grant is fashioned in humans of six bones or vertebrae 6 after I have completed my separate description of the sacrum.
I, K The coccyx, which you will also agree is made up of four ossicles 7 when I shall have described it too.


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L, L, etc. We have marked some vertebrae L, to wit the second, ninth, eighteenth, and twenty-fourth, to indicate the part or region of the vertebra which we call their body [corpus vertebrae].
M, M, etc. This letter is seen on the same vertebrae where L occurs, marking the processes [processus transversi] extended to the sides, and hence called by us transverse or lateral. I believe no one will fail to see that in fact the vertebrae marked L are not the only ones with a body, and those marked M not the only ones with transverse processes, even though I have not covered every vertebra with letters. This was our judgement about the identifiers that follow; if something applies only to a single particular vertebra, we have decided not to explain it in this chapter. 8
N, N, etc. You will observe an N on the eighth vertebra of the whole structure of the spine, and on the seventeenth and twenty-third. This letter marks certain processes [processus articulares inferiores] of the vertebrae that bend downward, by which the upper or incumbent vertebrae are articulated with those below. Because these processes go downward, we shall call them the descending processes in our account.
O, O, etc. O is seen on the vertebrae that are placed beneath the ones just mentioned, and marks the vertebral processes [processus articulares superiores] that face upward, by which the upper are articulated to the lower. These we shall rightly call the descending 9 processes.
P, P, etc. P is inscribed on those vertebrae which we previously marked with L, M, and O. It marks vertebral processes [processus spinosi] put forth to the posterior of the body, not unlike a thorn or spike, 10 whence they are called a)/kanqai by the Greeks and spinae by the Latins; from this we call the whole structure of the vertebrae a)/kanqa and spina. In this account, we shall as a rule call these processes the posterior vertebral processes or spines, and shall call the entire backbone by this name more rarely.
Q, Q, etc. You will find Q next to the same vertebrae where we inscribed the last-named letters. Q does not mark part of the vertebra: it identifies the foramen [foramen intervertebrale] on the sides of the vertebrae that transmits the nerves coming out of the dorsal medulla. It will be explained fully how this foramen varies in the bones of the spine in the description of each. 11
R, R, etc. Cartilaginous ligament [discus intervertebralis] intervening between the bodies of the vertebrae. Galen contends this is pure cartilage, contrary to the opinions of the ancients. But how rightly he does so we will show in the twenty-seventh chapter 12 of the second Book, and we will provide an illustration there that is not useless for this account, representing some bodies of vertebrae that show this cartilaginous ligament, epiphyses of the vertebral bodies, and the cartilage that comes between the body of the vertebra and its epiphysis (as these are in children).



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 14 On the Spine and its Various Bones