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History of Animals   


and fair men in greater degree than dark. It is likewise with women;
for in the stout, great part of the excretion goes to nourish the
body. In the act of intercourse, women of a fair complexion
discharge a more plentiful secretion than the dark; and furthermore, a
watery and pungent diet conduces to this phenomenon.
3

It is a sign of conception in women when the place is dry
immediately after intercourse. If the lips of the orifice be smooth
conception is difficult, for the matter slips off; and if they be
thick it is also difficult. But if on digital examination the lips
feel somewhat rough and adherent, and if they be likewise thin, then
the chances are in favour of conception. Accordingly, if conception be
desired, we must bring the parts into such a condition as we have just
described; but if on the contrary we want to avoid conception then
we must bring about a contrary disposition. Wherefore, since if the
parts be smooth conception is prevented, some anoint that part of
the womb on which the seed falls with oil of cedar, or with ointment
of lead or with frankincense, commingled with olive oil. If the seed
remain within for seven days then it is certain that conception has
taken place; for it is during that period that what is known as
effluxion takes place.
In most cases the menstrual discharge recurs for some time after
conception has taken place, its duration being mostly thirty days in
the case of a female and about forty days in the case of a male child.
After parturition also it is common for the discharge to be withheld
for an equal number of days, but not in all cases with equal
exactitude. After conception, and when the above-mentioned days are
past, the discharge no longer takes its natural course but finds its
way to the breasts and turns to milk. The first appearance of milk
in the breasts is scant in quantity and so to speak cobwebby or
interspersed with little threads. And when conception has taken place,
there is apt to be a sort of feeling in the region of the flanks,
which in some cases quickly swell up a little, especially in thin
persons, and also in the groin.
In the case of male children the first movement usually occurs
on the right-hand side of the womb and about the fortieth day, but
if the child be a female then on the left-hand side and about the
ninetieth day. However, we must by no means assume this to be an
accurate statement of fact, for there are many exceptions, in which
the movement is manifested on the right-hand side though a female
child be coming, and on the left-hand side though the infant be a
male. And in short, these and all suchlike phenomena are usually
subject to differences that may be summed up as differences of degree.
About this period the embryo begins to resolve into distinct
parts, it having hitherto consisted of a fleshlike substance without
distinction of parts.
What is called effluxion is a destruction of the embryo within
the first week, while abortion occurs up to the fortieth day; and
the greater number of such embryos as perish do so within the space of
these forty days.
In the case of a male embryo aborted at the fortieth day, if
it be placed in cold water it holds together in a sort of membrane,
but if it be placed in any other fluid it dissolves and disappears. If
the membrane be pulled to bits the embryo is revealed, as big as one
of the large kind of ants; and all the limbs are plain to see,
including the penis, and the eyes also, which as in other animals
are of great size. But the female embryo, if it suffer abortion during
the first three months, is as a rule found to be undifferentiated;
if however it reach the fourth month it comes to be subdivided and
quickly attains further differentiation. In short, while within the
womb, the female infant accomplishes the whole development of its
parts more slowly than the male, and more frequently than the
man-child takes ten months to come to perfection. But after birth, the

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