Fig. 50-14. The last four cranial nerves below the base of the skull. The glossopharyngeal nerve passes between the carotid arteries. The vagus descends between the jugular vein and the internal and common carotid arteries, the accessory nerve crosses the internal jugular vein. The hypoglossal nerve, superficial to the great vessels, winds around the origin of the occipital artery. The maxillary artery disappears deep to the neck of the mandible. Click for high resolution image.