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 21 On the Scapuli

A third bone enumerated by Galen in the joint of the acromion with the clavicle

He also adds that some place here a third bone besides this process and the clavicle, in humans only, and that they call this “acromion” and kataklei/j. 74 In the thirteenth book of De usu partium Galen counts this third bone in humans and denies that simians have it; 75 likewise in his books De anatomicis administrationibus and in his commentary on Hippocrates’ De articulis. For he writes that besides this upper process of the scapula and the clavicle there is a third cartilaginous bone which is placed in the joint of the clavicle with that process of the scapula, and from it originate membranes and ligaments by means of which this joint is more strongly held together. In the fifth book of De anatomicis administrationibus Galen says that such a bone is called a)krw/mion by Hippocrates, and he himself calls it by that name in the same place, just as he testified in his book De ossibus that certain people place a third bone here and it is called by them a)krw/mion. But at the same time, he sometimes in his books De usu partium, De anatomicis administrationibus, and in almost all his commentaries on Hippocrates, he called this process of the scapula a)krw/mion, or at least the joint of this process of the scapula with the clavicle. I therefore wonder greatly at the inconsistency of Galen here and will wonder much more until I discover this third cartilaginous bone in man. For by no means do I believe that Galen considered the above mentioned special cartilage of this joint to be a bone, since cartilages of this sort generally resemble true cartilage less than the do ligament and are not by any means osseous, and furthermore since it is found in the ape as much as in man. Even if it were to be considered a bone, apart from the fact that Galen would have mentioned it differently and would have written that it occurs in the joint instead of being laid upon it, he would still not escape censure for not having established the peculiar bone 76 in the joint of the clavicle with the pectoral bone [sternum] (the larger part of the 4th fig. in ch. 22) and again in the joints of the lower maxilla with the upper (marginal fig. in ch. 10), 77 and in the knee 78 (fig. 8, ch. 31). Cartilages of that type [cartilago fibrosa] are in fact easier to find there than here in the acromion, but they seem to have been unknown to Galen and overlooked by him. It would therefore be much better now not to call this peculiar cartilage a bone (even if it were osseous), than tacitly to imply that so many bones escaped Galen’s notice. 79 I have so far never been able to find a third bone here, for all my diligent dissection with Hippocrates in mind. 80 I think it is clear enough that Galen never saw it either, and should I dare venture so far in impiety toward him, I would affirm that he invented a bone of this sort from its similarity to bones which resemble a sesame seed [ossa sesamoidea] (V, V in fig. 1 ch. 25, y, w in fig. 2, ch. 33), which 81 you will learn are put in front of joints and junctures of other bones in the same way Galen gave out that a cartilaginous bone is situated here. I will gladly therefore admit that I have found this third bone no more in man than in ape, nor has anyone been present when I was dissecting where one was observed by even a single person, though I always adminish all present to watch closely for it. 82 And accordingly if someone shows me this bone or anything like it in addition to the process of the scapula and the clavicle (Q and l in the skeletons), I assure him I will more quickly demonstrate something else of that kind in the joint [articulatio glenohumeralis] of the humerus with the scapula that is far worthier of close consideration and intensive study. For this reason only, I now knowingly pass it by.



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 21 On the Scapuli