History of Animals
coagulates, and that is why cheese is made of the milk of such animals
under domestication; but the milk of ambidentals does not coagulate,
nor their fat either, and the milk is thin and sweet. Now the
camel's milk is the thinnest, and that of the human species next after
it, and that of the ass next again, but cow's milk is the thickest.
Milk does not coagulate under the influence of cold, but rather runs
to whey; but under the influence of heat it coagulates and thickens.
As a general rule milk only comes to animals in pregnancy. When the
animal is pregnant milk is found, but for a while it is unfit for use,
and then after an interval of usefulness it becomes unfit for use
again. In the case of female animals not pregnant a small quantity
of milk has been procured by the employment of special food, and cases
have been actually known where women advanced in years on being
submitted to the process of milking have produced milk, and in some
cases have produced it in sufficient quantities to enable them to
suckle an infant.
The people that live on and about Mount Oeta take such she-goats
as decline the male and rub their udders hard with nettles to cause an
irritation amounting to pain; hereupon they milk the animals,
procuring at first a liquid resembling blood, then a liquid mixed with
purulent matter, and eventually milk, as freely as from females
submitting to the male.
As a general rule, milk is not found in the male of man or of
any other animal, though from time to time it has been found in a
male; for instance, once in Lemnos a he-goat was milked by its dugs
(for it has, by the way, two dugs close to the penis), and was
milked to such effect that cheese was made of the produce, and the
same phenomenon was repeated in a male of its own begetting. Such
occurrences, however, are regarded as supernatural and fraught with
omen as to futurity, and in point of fact when the Lemnian owner of
the animal inquired of the oracle, the god informed him that the
portent foreshadowed the acquisition of a fortune. With some men,
after puberty, milk can be produced by squeezing the breasts; cases
have been known where on their being subjected to a prolonged
milking process a considerable quantity of milk has been educed.
In milk there is a fatty element, which in clotted milk gets to
resemble oil. Goat's milk is mixed with sheep's milk in Sicily, and
wherever sheep's milk is abundant. The best milk for clotting is not
only that where the cheese is most abundant, but that also where the
cheese is driest.
Now some animals produce not only enough milk to rear their young,
but a superfluous amount for general use, for cheese-making and for
storage. This is especially the case with the sheep and the goat,
and next in degree with the cow. Mare's milk, by the way, and milk
of the she-ass are mixed in with Phrygian cheese. And there is more
cheese in cow's milk than in goat's milk; for graziers tell us that
from nine gallons of goat's milk they can get nineteen cheeses at an
obol apiece, and from the same amount of cow's milk, thirty. Other
animals give only enough of milk to rear their young withal, and no
superfluous amount and none fitted for cheese-making, as is the case
with all animals that have more than two breasts or dugs; for with
none of such animals is milk produced in superabundance or used for
the manufacture of cheese.
The juice of the fig and rennet are employed to curdle milk. The
fig-juice is first squeezed out into wool; the wool is then washed and
rinsed, and the rinsing put into a little milk, and if this be mixed
with other milk it curdles Rennet is a kind of milk, for it is found
in the stomach of the animal while it is yet suckling.
Rennet then consists of milk with an admixture of fire, which
comes from the natural heat of the animal, as the milk is concocted.
All ruminating animals produce rennet, and, of ambidentals, the
hare. Rennet improves in quality the longer it is kept; and cow's