The hippocampus (Hc) and the amygdala (Am) are two cerebral structures that play a central role in main cognitive processes. Their segmentation allows atrophy in specific neurological illnesses to be quantified, but is made difficult by the complexity of the structures. In this work, a new algorithm for the simultaneous segmentation of Hc and Am based on competitive homotopic region deformations is presented. The deformations are constrained by relational priors derived from anatomical knowledge, namely probabilities for each structure around automatically retrieved landmarks at the border of the objects. The approach is designed to perform well on data from diseased subjects. The segmentation is initialized by extracting a bounding box and positioning two seeds; total execution time for both sides is between 10 and 15 minutes including initialization for the two structures. We present the results of validation based on comparison with manual segmentation, using volume error, spatial overlap and border distance measures. For 8 young healthy subjects the mean volume error was 7% for Hc and 11% for Am, the overlap: 84% for Hc and 83% for Am, the maximal distance: 4.2mm for Hc and 3.1mm for Am; for 4 Alzheimer's disease patients the mean volume error was 9% for Hc and Am, the overlap: 83% for Hc and 78% for Am, the maximal distance: 6mm for Hc and 4.4mm for Am. We conclude that the performance of the proposed method compares favourably with that of other published approaches in terms of accuracy and has a short execution time.