Julius Caesar Arantius (Giulio Cesare Aranzi, 1530–1589) and the hippocampus of the human brain: history behind the discovery

Shyamal C. Bir Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana Health–Shreveport, Louisiana

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Sudheer Ambekar Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana Health–Shreveport, Louisiana

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Sunil Kukreja Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana Health–Shreveport, Louisiana

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Anil Nanda Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana Health–Shreveport, Louisiana

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Julius Caesar Arantius is one of the pioneer anatomists and surgeons of the 16th century who discovered the different anatomical structures of the human body. One of his prominent discoveries is the hippocampus. At that time, Arantius originated the term hippocampus, from the Greek word for seahorse (hippos [“horse”] and kampos [“sea monster”]). Arantius published his description of the hippocampus in 1587, in the first chapter of his work titled De Humano Foetu Liber. Numerous nomenclatures of this structure, including “white silkworm,” “Ammon's horn,” and “ram's horn” were proposed by different scholars at that time. However, the term hippocampus has become the most widely used in the literature.

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