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On The Generation Of Animals   

opposite. After these premisses it will perhaps be now clearer for
what reason one embryo becomes female and another male. For when the
first principle does not bear sway and cannot concoct the
nourishment through lack of heat nor bring it into its proper form,
but is defeated in this respect, then must needs the material which it
works on change into its opposite. Now the female is opposite to the
male, and that in so far as the one is female and the other male.
And since it differs in its faculty, its organ also is different, so
that the embryo changes into this state. And as one part of first-rate
importance changes, the whole system of the animal differs greatly
in form along with it. This may be seen in the case of eunuchs, who,
though mutilated in one part alone, depart so much from their original
appearance and approximate closely to the female form. The reason of
this is that some of the parts are principles, and when a principle is
moved or affected needs must many of the parts that go along with it
change with it.

If then (1) the male quality or essence is a principle and a
cause, and (2) the male is such in virtue of a certain capacity and
the female is such in virtue of an incapacity, and (3) the essence
or definition of the capacity and of the incapacity is ability or
inability to concoct the nourishment in its ultimate stage, this being
called blood in the sanguinea and the analogue of blood in the other
animals, and (4) the cause of this capacity is in the first
principle and in the part which contains the principle of natural
heat- therefore a heart must be formed in the sanguinea (and the
resulting animal will be either male or female), and in the other
kinds which possess the sexes must be formed that which is analogous
to the heart.

This, then, is the first principle and cause of male and female, and
this is the part of the body in which it resides. But the animal
becomes definitely female or male by the time when it possesses also
the parts by which the female differs from the male, for it is not
in virtue of any part you please that it is male or female, any more
than it is able to see or hear by possessing any part you please.

To recapitulate, we say that the semen, which is the foundation of
the embryo, is the ultimate secretion of the nutriment. By ultimate
I mean that which is carried to every part of the body, and this is
also the reason why the offspring is like the parent. For it makes
no difference whether we say that the semen comes from all the parts
or goes to all of them, but the latter is the better. But the semen of
the male differs from the corresponding secretion of the female in
that it contains a principle within itself of such a kind as to set up
movements also in the embryo and to concoct thoroughly the ultimate
nourishment, whereas the secretion of the female contains material
alone. If, then, the male element prevails it draws the female element
into itself, but if it is prevailed over it changes into the
opposite or is destroyed. But the female is opposite to the male,
and is female because of its inability to concoct and of the
coldness of the sanguineous nutriment. And Nature assigns to each of
the secretions the part fitted to receive it. But the semen is a
secretion, and this in the hotter animals with blood, i.e. the
males, is moderate in quantity, wherefore the recipient parts of
this secretion in males are only passages. But the females, owing to
inability to concoct, have a great quantity of blood, for it cannot be
worked up into semen. Therefore they must also have a part to
receive this, and this part must be unlike the passages of the male
and of a considerable size. This is why the uterus is of such a
nature, this being the part by which the female differs from the male.


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