The basic principle of life, in the Galenic physiology, is a spirit, anima or pneuma, drawn from the general world-soul in the act of respiration. It enters the body through the rough artery (τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία, arteria aspera of mediaeval notation), the organ known to our nomenclature as the trachea. From this trachea the pneuma passes to the lung and then, through the vein-like artery (ἀρτηρία φλεβώδης, arteria venalis of mediaeval writers, the pulmonary vein of our nomenclature), to the left ventricle. Here it will be best to leave it for a moment and trace the vascular system along a different route.
The idea of a close parallelism between the structure of man and of the wider universe was gradually abandoned by the scientific, while among the unscientific it degenerated and became little better than an insane obsession. As such it appears in the ingenious ravings of the English follower of Paracelsus, the Rosicrucian, Robert Fludd, who reproduced, often with fidelity, the systems which had some novelty five centuries before his time.
An anatomical diagram of about 1298
The first printed picture of dissection
The figure shows a professor and pupil. The former is demonstrating the bones of a skeleton.
Title-page of Mellerstadt’s edition of the Anatomy of Mondino, Leipzig, 1493. The scene is laid in the open air
A dissection scene
The first picture of dissection in an English-printed book
a lecture on anatomy
Roger Bacons diagram of the Eye
Leonardo Da Vincis diagram of the heart
The figure shows the ten layers of the head
The layers of the head
Venice, 1496, showing the ventricles of the brain
Diagram of the senses, the humours, the cerebral ventricles, and the intellectual facultie
Illustrating the general ideas on anatomy current at the Renaissance
Diagram of the ventricles and the senses with their relation to the intellectual processes according to the doctrine of the Renaissance anatomists.
From Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica, Basel, 1543, p. 643.
a, Crystalline humour;
o, Albugineous humour;
c, Vitreous humour;
The Anatomy of the Eye
Pear-shaped cells are set round a felt-work of nerve-fibrils (neuropil). A neuro-sensory cell is shown with one fibre directed peripherally, branching on the surface; and one directed centrally, ramifying in the neuropil. Several very slender fibrils from the neuropil pass up the stalk of each ganglion-cell. They join a network near its surface. This net is connected by radiating fibrils with a coarser net which surrounds the nucleus. From the central net a relatively stout fibril passes to muscle-fibres.
Half a dozen nuclei of as yet undeveloped granules are seen lying beneath the pia mater. From this level to the bottom of the drawing granules are shown in successive stages of growth. These developing granules, selected from various preparations of the cortex of the cerebellum, were drawn from nature.
In its centre is a large clear spherical nucleus, with a nucleolus. The body-substance is prolonged into five dendrites and an axon. Neuro-fibrillæ are seen in dendrites and axon. They traverse the body of the cell in all directions, in little bundles which are separated by angular granules of stainable substance (tigroids).
Sensory areas are enclosed by broken lines; certain centres in the association-zones are marked by dots. The sensory area of smell is on the inner aspect of the brain; so also is the area of vision which borders the calcarine and retrocalcarine fissures, and only rarely extends on to the external surface, as shown in the diagram. The sensory area of hearing is largely hidden within the fossa of Sylvius, the opening into which is indicated by the dark line above it. The kinæsthetic-sensory areas for the various muscles of the body occupy the territory between the dotted line in front and the bottom of the fissure of Rolando behind. They do not extend on to the posterior wall of this fissure. It is impossible at present to define the boundaries of any of the centres in the association-zones.
These sense-organs are groups of elongated epithelial cells, set vertically to the surface. Their cells are of two kinds—the one fusiform, slender, bearing each a bristle-like process which projects through a minute pore left between the superficial cells of the general epithelium; the other thicker and wedge-shaped. Nerve-fibres are connected with the fusiform cells.
The slight depression in the retina in the axis of the globe is the fovea centralis, or yellow spot; the optic nerve pierces the ball to its inner or nasal side. The lens, with its suspensory ligament, separates the aqueous from the vitreous humour. On the front of the lens rests the iris, covered on its posterior surface with black pigment. On either side of the lens is seen a ciliary process, with the circular fibres of the ciliary muscle cut transversely, and its radiating fibres disposed as a fan.
A, after Exposure to Bright Light;
B, After Resting in the Dark.
The arrow shows the direction in which light traverses the retina.
C, Retinal epithelium, with its pigmented fringe. 1, Layer of rods and cones, separated by the external limiting membrane from 2, the layer of the nuclei of the rods and cones. 3, The ganglion-cells of the retina, which are homologous with the cells of the afferent root of a spinal nerve. Their peripheral axons ramify beneath the sensory epithelium (rods and cones and their nucleus-bearing segments), their central axons in 4, the inner molecular layer.
D, Collecting cells on the front of the retina; a a a, their axons which conduct impulses to the brain; b, an efferent fibre from the brain.
x, The common centre of curvature (nodal point of the several media). Rays which pass through this point are not deflected.
y, The principal focus of the system. All rays which are parallel to the optic axis converge to this point. The image of the point A is formed at a, the spot at which a ray parallel with the optic axis meets an unbent ray—the image of B at b.
From right to left, the figure shows the concha and lobule of the ear in profile; the external meatus (abbreviated); the drum, divided vertically, its posterior half visible; the hammer-bone, with the tip of its long arm attached to the drum, an arrow indicating the point of attachment and line of action of the tensor tympani muscle; the anvil attached by a ligament to the bony wall of the middle ear; the stirrup, with its foot-plate almost filling the oval window; the labyrinth, with the three semicircular canals above, and the scala vestibuli below. The curled black line shows the situation of the scala media, or ductus cochleæ (which contains the organ of Corti). Pulsations of sound which move the membrana tympani are transmitted by the three bones to the oval window. They shake the perilymph, producing waves which travel along the scala vestibuli to the apex of the cochlea, whence they return by the scala tympani to the round window (if they do not take a shorter course through the ductus cochleæ). The Eustachian tube opens out of the lower part of the middle ear.
The spiral lamina, on the left of the drawing, gives attachment to the membrane of Corti, which stretches to the opposite wall. Below the membrane is a bloodvessel which runs its whole length beneath the tunnel of Corti. The tunnel is formed by pillars—the inner on the left, the outer on the right—which meet above it. On the left of the inner pillar is a hair-cell; to the left of this a nerve-cell with two nuclei. To the right of the outer pillar is a space; to the right of this four hair-cells alternating with four supporting cells, which hold up the reticulated membrane through apertures in which the tufts of hairs project. Three nerve-fibres are seen in the spiral lamina; they cross the tunnel to ramify between the rows of outer hair-cells. The lamina tectoria rests upon the tufts of hairs.
All are formed on essentially the same plan; a fibrous capsule invests a group of epithelial cells amongst which a nerve ramifies. The simplest form is known as a Grandry’s corpuscle-a nerve ending in one or two plates between two or three epithelial cells. These organs are found in great numbers in the bills of aquatic birds. If a duck is watched whilst it is gobbling mud at the margin of a pond, it will be seen to have a remarkable capacity for discriminating between the shells of small snails, which it can crush, and stones, which it needs to drop from its bill. Its bill is also provided with small Pacinian corpuscles.
The drawing shows the folds of mucous membrane, the vocal cords, which stretch from the tips of the arytenoid cartilages to the recess behind the median portion of the thyroid cartilage. To the outer side of each vocal cord is seen the thyro-arytenoid muscle (cut across), consisting of a broad outer portion, chiefly concerned in closing the glottis during the act of swallowing, and a smaller internal portion, which regulates the length and the thickness of the segment of the cord allowed to vibrate.
The ribs from the first to the tenth have been cut across in the lateral line. The eleventh and twelfth ribs do not reach sufficiently far forwards to be cut. With the exception of a short segment near its junction with the ascending colon, the small intestine has been removed. The trachea is seen to divide into bronchi beneath the arch of the aorta. The right lung has three, the left two lobes. The kidneys are situated behind all the other viscera. On their upper ends rest the two suprarenal capsules. The lower edge of the right lobe of the liver follows closely the line of the ribs and costal cartilages. Below the left lobe of the liver the stomach comes to the anterior abdominal wall. The transverse colon (large intestine) comes to the anterior wall below the stomach. Below the latter the wall is in contact chiefly with coils of small intestine. The vermiform appendix rests on the posterior wall. Spleen and pancreas are not shown in the diagram.
Diagram of a Lobule of the Liver divided vertically through its Axis.
In its centre is a space, the intralobular vein, through which the blood falls into a branch of the hepatic vein, on its way to the heart. An interlobular branch of the portal vein, which brings the blood from the digestive organs, pours it by many smaller vessels over the surface of the lobule. It filters into the lobule through innumerable pseudo-capillary vessels, or spaces, between the radiating columns of liver-cells. Arterial blood is brought to the lobule by a twig of the hepatic artery. Bile is drained away from it by an affluent of the hepatic duct. In the lower part of the diagram seven liver-cells are shown, forming a divided column, magnified about 300 diameters. The cells are loaded with glycogen, and contain minute globules of fat. Red blood-corpuscles and two leucocytes are seen between the columns of liver-cells. One of the leucocytes has ingested two blood-corpuscles.
Chordæ tendineæ attach the margins of the auriculo-ventricular valves to musculi papillares which project from the inner aspect of each ventricle.