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 15 On the Vertebrae of the Neck or Cervix

Description of the occipital bone where it is articulated to the first vertebra 36

The occipital bone, near the sides of the foramen [f. magnum] that provides a path for the dorsal medulla (A in fig. 1), puts forth on each side a single capitulum [condylus occipitalis] (the right one is shown as B in fig. 1), tending more to the anterior part of the foramen than the posterior. If you inspect the anterior (C in fig. 1) and posterior (D in fig. one) ends of these capitula, they are oblong and narrow, and constructed very much as if some bony head such as the femur’s (A in figs. 1 and 2, ch. 30), which is articulated with the hip bone, had been cut into two pieces and one piece of that head had been relocated at either side of the foramen carved in the occipital bone. For if you imagined each of the capitula of the occiput joined together on their inner sides, you would see that a round (though in man rather flat) head is made of the two of them. Since these things are so, it is clear that each capitulum is, as we said, oblong and protrudes 37 more on the inside (E in fig. 1) than on the outside (F in fig. 1), in the same way that in the round head of a bone the middle and more prominent part in the whole surface bulges farther than the parts located on the circumference. These are the capitula 38 which I shall presently write are articulated into the first cervical vertebra [atlas, facies articularis superior]. 39 But for now attention must be paid to a roughness and thickness (G in figure 1) [os occipitale, pars basilaris] in the occipital bone between the two capitula just mentioned, prepared so that a stronger insertion may be effected of the smoothly rounded ligament 40 (I in the fig. later to be added to the margin) attaching the dens of the second vertebra (H in the same fig.) to the occipital bone. This roughness sometimes appears so prominently as to justify calling it a kind of tubercle, projecting for the sake of the ligament mentioned as well as for the insertion of the muscles [m. longus capitis] that flex the neck (A and B in the 8th table of muscles). The area behind the foramen transmitting the dorsal medulla is also rough but not so thick as the anterior. Also, there is seen at the posterior region of either capitulum a slight depression [fossa condylaris] (H in figure 1), prepared so that a foramen [f. intervertebrale] will be made on each side with the other depression [facies articularis superior] of the first vertebra, through which the first pair of nerves of the dorsal medulla (F in fig. 3, ch. 11, Bk. 4) is to pass.



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 15 On the Vertebrae of the Neck or Cervix