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The external carotid artery begins at the upper border of thyroid cartilage, and curves, passing forward and upward, and then inclining backward to the space behind the neck of the mandible, where it divides into the superficial temporal and maxillary artery within the parotid gland.
It rapidly diminishes in size as it travels up the neck, owing to the number and large size of its branches.
At its origin, this artery is closer to the skin and more medial than the internal carotid, and is situated within the carotid triangle:
As the artery travels upwards, it supplies: