Posted by Outlander Anatomy | Anatomy Lessons

I begin my first blog (does this make me a virgin? <G>) with a huge shout-out to Diana Gabaldon whose Outlander series of big books are the modern-day equivalent of The Odyssey, Homer’s epic poem of Greek mythology. Her vision and scope, erm, coupled with numerous medical, and anatomical vignettes have inspired me to pursue my own anatomical odyssey – may you enjoy and learn!

Now, onto Anatomy 101!

Physique: Grateful kudos to the casting crew who chose Sam Heughan to play the role of James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (a.k.a JAMMF). Sam fits the notion of our beloved hero to a capital-T! In Outlander book, Claire observes that Jamie has:

…long legs, with the smooth line of muscling that indented the thigh from hip to knee and another that ran from knee to long, elegant foot.

And again,

Jamie was large, powerful and fair as a ruddy sunbeam.

Sam exactly matches these descriptors sans Claire’s comparison of Jamie to the biblical, hairy Esau (he’s not). Using only an expert’s eye (like Claire, I promise), I can confidently avow that Jamie’s body is the most splendid example of human male anatomy that I have ever witnessed (and I have seen many)! At 6’ 3”, he enjoys a large skeleton, a well-proportioned muscle mass overlying that bony frame (neither too lean nor too “pumped”), and verra low body fat! Using William Sheldon’s decades-old (and out-dated) system of body types, Sam is also a pretty convincing example of a mesomorph (look it up).

Oh, before I forget: for the remainder of this and future anatomy lessons, I use only character’s names. This grants each actor a wee bit of dignity as I ask them to hop up on the dissection table so we can enjoy an intrusive look-see!

Next, and let’s get this behind (hah) us, Claire got to enjoy all of Jamie in Starz episode 107, The Wedding. Today, let’s settle for a lesson about Jamie’s bottom. Good for you? Good for me! Snort!


Now, Diana has averred to me, personally, that buttocks are her fav body part to write about! So, it is fitting that our first anatomy topic deals with this spectacular region.

Prosthesis: First, Jamie does NOT have a big booty as so rudely insinuated by a few early critics. His hips are in exact proportion to his muscled torso and looong lower limbs. The illusion of a slightly robust tush is due more to the latex prosthesis of whip lashes that covers his lower back. This special effect flattens and thickens the region between back and hips causing the eye to miss the natural nip at the lumbar spine and insinuating the illusion of a broader-than-actual derrière.

As proof of this contention, return to Starz episode 102, Castle Leoch, and take a gander at Jamie’s back during the first flogging administered by the “mad bastard.” This scene occurred before the deep wounds and scars were produced by the second and third floggings. Sans the prosthesis, you clearly see the pinch to which I refer. Erm, yum! So, kindly bare this in mind should we be so fortunate as to spy his heinie in future episodes.


Buttocks: The buttocks are two round fleshy parts that form the lower rear area of the human torso. Their design gives us something to sit upon, thus relieving stress on the feet. Understand that tush anatomy involves several separate layers:

  • First, for protection from abrasion and pressure, the buttocks are covered with skin that is thicker than that of the front body.
  • Second, a variable layer of fat for padding underlies the skin. This is for support and protection in both sexes, Aye, gals, I know fanny fat is thicker in women, but everyone ken this: extra female fat is necessary for the production of estrogens. Queen belted it out with joy: “Fat-Bottomed Girls, You Make the Rocking World Go Round.” Be proud!
  • Third, eight muscles form the contour of each buttock, with gluteus maximus the largest of this group.
  • Fourth, the deep-lying bony pelvis supplies support and muscle attachment sites.

Ergo, four major layers conspire to produce the lovely contours of the hindquarters.

Gluteus Maximus Musculus (pl. musculi): This Latin phrase means the gluteus maximi muscle, so named because it is the largest and bulkiest muscle of the human body! Each gluteus maximus covers most of the ipsilateral (same side) bony pelvis plus the back of the upper thigh (Fig. A).


Fig. A

Attachments: Gluteus maximi (pl.) are essential for thigh extension used in activities such as rock climbing, ascending stairs, and rising from a squatted position (think MPC exercises!). These muscles are anchored (Fig. B – red origins) to ileum (bone of the pelvis), sacrum, and coccyx (vertebrae) and a couple of ligaments. The fibers then slope sideward and downward to end on the back of the femur (Fig. B – blue insertions).


Fig. B

Some fibers of gluteus maximus also insert on the iliotibial tract or IT band, a broad strap of connective tissue that sheaths the side of the thigh (Fig. C). Such an arrangement helps anchor this hard-working muscle!


Fig. C

Jamie bares and shares an excellent example of rump contour as seen in episode 107, The Wedding. Admiring, Claire palms her hand over the back of Jamie’s left thigh (at the IT band) and then over his handsome backside. When well-developed like Jamie’s, these broad muscles provide most of buttock contour.

Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus Musculi: Butt, wait there’s more! Did you know that there are actually two other pair of muscles named “gluteus?” Removing gluteus maximus allows us to view the deeper lying  gluteus medius and gluteus minimus along with five smaller muscles (Fig. D – marked with Xs), for a total of eight buttock muscles per side!  Even these smaller muscles contribute to bun contour. Their functions include abducting (lifting to the side) and externally rotating (turning outward) the thigh. Not to be too cheeky, but imagine the physical labor that Jamie endured to compose the final opus that is his caboose!

Just so you ken, those muscles labelled with Xs are (from top to bottom):

  • piriformis
  • gemellus superior
  • obturator internus
  • gemellus inferior
  • quadratus femoris (not the same as the quadriceps femoris)

Some with anatomical backgrounds will ken these muscles, as well as folks who have injured them.


Fig. D

I will spare you minutia regarding nerves, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments of the keister region – their inclusion would make this lesson too long! Suffice it to say, perhaps your imagination is now joined with sufficient scientific underpinnings to more fully appreciate this verra important anatomical region.

As we all now ken, we were fortunate enough to glimpse Jamie’s backside in several later episodes. One of my favs is from Starz episode 204, La Dame Blanche. Enjoy! Och, Jamie! Claire doesna like that thing on your thigh! Big trubble in the bedchamber tonite!

The end!

That’s it for now.  Future Anatomy Lessons will cover Jamie’s and Claire’s (and other character’s) anatomy as I am inspired to do so and not by any pre-determined sequence. Happy reading and watching!

The deeply grateful,

Outlander Anatomist

Photo Credits:


Frank Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy, 4th ed., Figs. A, B, C, D