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

Nature of the ascending and descending processes.

The ascending (d in figs. 9 and 11 and nos. 3 and 4 in fig. 8) and descending (g in figs. 6, 7, 110 9, 11) processes [p. articularis superior] [p. articularis inferior], 111 by which the vertebrae are articulated to each other, are similar in all the neck vertebrae below the second; the second also has descending processes not unlike those of the other vertebrae. Those that face downward and are joined to the vertebra beneath possess a circular depression [facies articularis inferior] not at all deeply carved, leading from the anterior surface obliquely downward to the posterior. The ascending processes, which are articulated to the vertebra above, have a rounded tubercule that bulges so lightly and superficially that you would not know whether to assign it to the number of capita or depressions. This tubercule of the ascending processes [facies articularis superior] matches the depression and is coated with cartilage [c. articularis] like the depressions, running downward from the anterior surface posteriorly and somewhat obliquely as well — something not to be considered in a cursory way. For that oblique course in the vertebrae of the neck which are nearer to the thorax always turns out smaller and straighter along the longitude of the body 112 because those vertebrae should not be moved so loosely as the upper vertebrae and therefore should not be so loosely articulated. And so the ascending processes enter the depressions of the descending processes with their own tubercule, and the second vertebra of the neck is attached to the third by a double joint [articulationes zygapophysiales] as the third is to the fourth, and so all the rest in order as far as the thorax. The seventh receives the ascending processes of the first vertebra of the thorax. 113 But Nature not only gave looser joints to the neck vertebrae: she also, so that the neck can be moved more conveniently and fittingly than the remaining parts of the backbone and with a remarkable and most necessary usefulness, bestows on the vertebrae of the neck another special capacity.

Measure the oblique course from a to b.




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