The medial branch of the posterior division of the second cervical nerve is called from its size and distribution the greater occipital nerve (n. occipitalis major; great occipital nerve ; Arnold’s), it ascends obliquely between the Obliquus inferior and the Semispinalis capitis, and pierces the latter muscle and the Trapezius near their attachments to the occipital bone.

It is then joined by a filament from the medial branch of the posterior division of the third cervical, and, ascending on the back of the head with the occipital artery, divides into branches which communicate with the lesser occipital nerve and supply the skin of the scalp as far forward as the vertex of the skull. It gives off muscular branches to the Semispinalis capitis, and occasionally a twig to the back of the auricula. 

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from http://www.bartleby.com/107/).




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