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 19 On the Bones of the Thorax

Comparison of the pectoral bone to a sword

But you will not infrequently find it is missing, and you will see a pointed cartilage (k in fig. 1, h in figs. 6 and 7) attached where the cartilages of the seventh ribs meet and are articulated to the second pectoral bone. If you now join the three pectoral bones together, you will see the image of a sword handle. The upper part of the first bone, which is rather wide, will correspond to that part of the handle which lies below the little finger when gripped. The second bone will match that part which the entire hand embraces within it, where the depressions made for the rib cartilages will be like the ones in which the fingers can be braced. 70 This is the function the depressions would have which we seek in swords from the roughness of the handle, whenever we take the trouble to cover the handle with twisted and knotted cords


page 93

or the scaly skin of a fish. The third bone together with the cartilage 71 could be compared to the remaining part of the sword, and many as a result have called this whole bone structure cifoeidh/j 72 from its resemblance to a sword. Others, who have looked at dogs and apes rather than humans, consider only the pointed cartilage worthy of that name; because it resembles the shape of a sword’s point, but the pectoral bone of dogs cannot as aptly be compared to a sword’s shape as the human bone. This comparison of images confirms that human cadavers had been employed in dissection by the ancients, while Galen used the bodies of apes.



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 19 On the Bones of the Thorax