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 18 On the Sacral Bone and the Coccyx

The anatomical negligence and ignorance of physicians

Just as many facts already mentioned, and others to be enumerated often in this and subsequent books, attest the negligence of doctors who succeeded Galen and their outright gross ignorance in dissections, so assuredly to no lesser degree does a description of the sacrum and coccyx, which everyone will understand. For why, I pray, should we not say those anatomists are rough and untrained who have passed on to posterity Galenic descriptions that are false in some respects and in most cases apply to apes and dogs but not humans, as if they had observed them in man, and were in no way afraid, like scribes, to enumerate things they never saw even in a dream, and often misunderstood in Galen’s books? Where, I ask, after the times of Galen, is mention made of the sacrum and coccyx other than what is passed down by a Galen who is inconsistent in various places? Yet none altogether fits the picture of human bone. For the present, let us dismiss the remaining Galenists, who have obstructed rather than aided the understanding of human anatomy, and reconsider at greater depth the opinion of Galen, who is easily the leader of all professors of anatomy, lest we seem discreditably to have neglected his authority as well.



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 18 On the Sacral Bone and the Coccyx