The carotid and vertebral arteries discovery – initial findings
ResumoThe studies on the vascular system, including the cervicocephalic arteries (carotid and vertebral arteries), present a long trajectory, having their deep roots in the far past, considering the Western authors, having as representatives the Greek sages Alcmaeon, Diogenes, Hippocrates, Aristoteles, Rufus, and Galenus. They produced pivotal knowledge dissecting mainly cadavers of animals, and established solid bases for the later generations of scholars. The information assembled from these six authors makes it possible to build a quite clear picture of the vascular system, here specifically focused on the cervicocephalic arteries, and mainly of the extracranial segments. Thus, the carotid system became fairly well identified, origin, course, and name, as well as the origin of the still unnamed arteries running through the orifices of the transversal processes of the cervical vertebrae, and entering into the cranium. Almost all that was then known about human anatomy, since this period, and then throughout the Middle Ages, was extrapolated from animal dissections. This state of affairs was maintained until the 14th century, when human corpses dissections were again allowed.