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



Previous | Next
                  

History of Animals   


lustfulness the voice turns into the voice of a man, but not so in the
continent. For if a lad strive diligently to hinder his voice from
breaking, as some do of those who devote themselves to music, the
voice lasts a long while unbroken and may even persist with little
change. And the breasts swell and likewise the private parts, altering
in size and shape. (And by the way, at this time of life those who try
by friction to provoke emission of seed are apt to experience pain
as well as voluptuous sensations.) At the same age in the female,
the breasts swell and the so-called catamenia commence to flow; and
this fluid resembles fresh blood. There is another discharge, a
white one, by the way, which occurs in girls even at a very early age,
more especially if their diet be largely of a fluid nature; and this
malady causes arrest of growth and loss of flesh. In the majority of
cases the catamenia are noticed by the time the breasts have grown
to the height of two fingers' breadth. In girls, too, about this
time the voice changes to a deeper note; for while in general the
woman's voice is higher than the man's, so also the voices of girls
are pitched in a higher key than the elder women's, just as the
boy's are higher than the men's; and the girls' voices are shriller
than the boys', and a maid's flute is tuned sharper than a lad's.
Girls of this age have much need of surveillance. For then in
particular they feel a natural impulse to make usage of the sexual
faculties that are developing in them; so that unless they guard
against any further impulse beyond that inevitable one which their
bodily development of itself supplies, even in the case of those who
abstain altogether from passionate indulgence, they contract habits
which are apt to continue into later life. For girls who give way to
wantonness grow more and more wanton; and the same is true of boys,
unless they be safeguarded from one temptation and another; for the
passages become dilated and set up a local flux or running, and
besides this the recollection of pleasure associated with former
indulgence creates a longing for its repetition.
Some men are congenitally impotent owing to structural defect;
and in like manner women also may suffer from congenital incapacity.
Both men and women are liable to constitutional change, growing
healthier or more sickly, or altering in the way of leanness,
stoutness, and vigour; thus, after puberty some lads who were thin
before grow stout and healthy, and the converse also happens; and
the same is equally true of girls. For when in boy or girl the body
is loaded with superfluous matter, then, when such superfluities are
got rid of in the spermatic or catamenial discharge, their bodies
improve in health and condition owing to the removal of what had acted
as an impediment to health and proper nutrition; but in such as are of
opposite habit their bodies become emaciated and out of health, for
then the spermatic discharge in the one case and the catamenial flow
in the other take place at the cost of natural healthy conditions.
Furthermore, in the case of maidens the condition of the breasts
is diverse in different individuals, for they are sometimes quite
big and sometimes little; and as a general rule their size depends
on whether or not the body was burthened in childhood with superfluous
material. For when the signs of womanhood are nigh but not come, the
more there be of moisture the more will it cause the breasts to swell,
even to the bursting point; and the result is that the breasts
remain during after-life of the bulk that they then acquired. And
among men, the breasts grow more conspicuous and more like to those of
women, both in young men and old, when the individual temperament is
moist and sleek and the reverse of sinewy, and all the more among
the dark-complexioned than the fair.
At the outset and till the age of one and twenty the spermatic
discharge is devoid of fecundity; afterwards it becomes fertile, but
young men and women produce undersized and imperfect progeny, as is
the case also with the common run of animals. Young women conceive
readily, but, having conceived, their labour in childbed is apt to
be difficult.

Previous | Next
Site Search