Anatomical Science International

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 23–38 | Cite as

The emergence of modern muscle names: the contribution to the foundation of systematic terminology of Vesalius, Sylvius, and Bauhin

  • Tadashi SawaiEmail author
Review Article


Although its history is complicated, today’s anatomical nomenclature, including muscle terminology, has acquired a system of naming using epithets. The objective of this literary research paper was to ascertain the founder of modern muscle terminology. The texts of four anatomists, Galen, Andreas Vesalius, Jacobus Sylvius, and Gaspard Bauhin, who have all been identified as being influential in the establishment of early modern anatomy and its nomenclature, were analyzed. Particular emphasis was given to the naming method, and to the consistency of that method. The analysis shows that each of these four anatomists had a different conception of muscle naming, and that three early modern anatomists, Vesalius, Sylvius, and Bauhin, contributed to the development of modern muscle terminology. This investigation revealed the types of contributions they made: Vesalius was an originator of rule-governed muscle terminology with a univocal naming method, Sylvius was an inventor of epithet naming, and Bauhin applied Sylvius’s epithet naming method to Vesalius’s concept of rule-governed terminology with a univocal naming method.


Anatomist History Muscles Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Terminology 



This study was funded by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP 25350386. This paper benefited greatly from discussions with Professor Tatsuo Sakai at the Department of Anatomy and Life Science, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine. The author wishes to thank Professor Emerita Shizu Sakai at the Department of History of Medicine, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine for constant encouragement.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Anatomists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History of MedicineJuntendo University Graduate School of MedicineTokyoJapan

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