Anatomical nomenclature is medicine’s official language. Early in their medical studies, students are expected to memorize not only the bodily geography but also the names for all the structures that, by consensus, constitute the anatomical body. The making and uses of visual maps of the body have received considerable historiographical attention, yet the history of production, communication, and reception of anatomical names—a history as long as the history of anatomy itself—has been studied far less. My essay examines the reforms of anatomical naming between the first modern nomenclature, the 1895 Basel Nomina Anatomica (BNA), and the 1955 Nomina Anatomica Parisiensia (NAP, also known as PNA), which is the basis for current anatomical terminology. I focus on the controversial and ultimately failed attempt to reform anatomical nomenclature, known as Jena Nomina Anatomica (INA), of 1935. Discussions around nomenclature reveal not only how anatomical names are made and communicated, but also the relationship of anatomy with the clinic; disciplinary controversies within anatomy; national traditions in science; and the interplay between international and scientific disciplinary politics. I show how the current anatomical nomenclature, a successor to the NAP, is an outcome of both political and disciplinary tensions that reached their peak before 1945.

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