Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of History of Animals

Previous | Next

History of Animals   

externally have the womb situated above the stomach, and all the
ovipara underneath, near to the loin. Animals that are viviparous
externally and internally oviparous present an intermediate
arrangement; for the underneath portion of the womb, in which the eggs
are, is placed near to the loin, but the part about the orifice is
above the gut.)
Further, there is the following diversity observable in wombs as
compared with one another: namely that the females of horned
nonambidental animals are furnished with cotyledons in the womb when
they are pregnant, and such is the case, among ambidentals, with the
hare, the mouse, and the bat; whereas all other animals that are
ambidental, viviparous, and furnished with feet, have the womb quite
smooth, and in their case the attachment of the embryo is to the
womb itself and not to any cotyledon inside it.
The parts, then, in animals that are not homogeneous with
themselves and uniform in their texture, both parts external and parts
internal, have the properties above assigned to them.

In sanguineous animals the homogeneous or uniform part most
universally found is the blood, and its habitat the vein; next in
degree of universality, their analogues, lymph and fibre, and, that
which chiefly constitutes the frame of animals, flesh and whatsoever
in the several parts is analogous to flesh; then bone, and parts
that are analogous to bone, as fish-bone and gristle; and then, again,
skin, membrane, sinew, hair, nails, and whatever corresponds to these;
and, furthermore, fat, suet, and the excretions: and the excretions
are dung, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile.
Now, as the nature of blood and the nature of the veins have
all the appearance of being primitive, we must discuss their
properties first of all, and all the more as some previous writers
have treated them very unsatisfactorily. And the cause of the
ignorance thus manifested is the extreme difficulty experienced in the
way of observation. For in the dead bodies of animals the nature of
the chief veins is undiscoverable, owing to the fact that they
collapse at once when the blood leaves them; for the blood pours out
of them in a stream, like liquid out of a vessel, since there is no
blood separately situated by itself, except a little in the heart, but
it is all lodged in the veins. In living animals it is impossible to
inspect these parts, for of their very nature they are situated inside
the body and out of sight. For this reason anatomists who have carried
on their investigations on dead bodies in the dissecting room have
failed to discover the chief roots of the veins, while those who
have narrowly inspected bodies of living men reduced to extreme
attenuation have arrived at conclusions regarding the origin of the
veins from the manifestations visible externally. Of these
investigators, Syennesis, the physician of Cyprus, writes as follows:-
'The big veins run thus:-from the navel across the loins, along
the back, past the lung, in under the breasts; one from right to left,
and the other from left to right; that from the left, through the
liver to the kidney and the testicle, that from the right, to the
spleen and kidney and testicle, and from thence to the penis.'
Diogenes of Apollonia writes thus:-
'The veins in man are as follows:-There are two veins
pre-eminent in magnitude. These extend through the belly along the
backbone, one to right, one to left; either one to the leg on its
own side, and upwards to the head, past the collar bones, through
the throat. From these, veins extend all over the body, from that on
the right hand to the right side and from that on the left hand to the
left side; the most important ones, two in number, to the heart in the
region of the backbone; other two a little higher up through the chest
in underneath the armpit, each to the hand on its side: of these
two, one being termed the vein splenitis, and the other the vein
hepatitis. Each of the pair splits at its extremity; the one

Previous | Next
Site Search