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On The Generation Of Animals   


We have thus stated for what reason the one becomes female and the
other male. Observed facts confirm what we have said. For more females
are produced by the young and by those verging on old age than by
those in the prime of life; in the former the vital heat is not yet
perfect, in the latter it is failing. And those of a moister and
more feminine state of body are more wont to beget females, and a
liquid semen causes this more than a thicker; now all these
characteristics come of deficiency in natural heat.

Again, more males are born if copulation takes place when north than
when south winds are blowing. For in the latter case the animals
produce more secretion, and too much secretion is harder to concoct;
hence the semen of the males is more liquid, and so is the discharge
of the catamenia.

Also the fact that the catamenia occur in the course of nature
rather when the month is waning is due to the same causes. For this
time of the month is colder and moister because of the waning and
failure of the moon; as the sun makes winter and summer in the year as
a whole, so does the moon in the month. This is not due to the turning
of the moon, but it grows warmer as the light increases and colder
as it wanes.

The shepherds also say that it not only makes a difference in the
production of males and females if copulation takes place during
northern or southerly winds, but even if the animals while
copulating look towards the south or north; so small a thing will
sometimes turn the scale and cause cold or heat, and these again
influence generation.

The male and female, then, are distinguished generally, as
compared with one another in connexion with the production of male and
female offspring, for the causes stated. However, they also need a
certain correspondence with one another to produce at all, for all
things that come into being as products of art or of Nature exist in
virtue of a certain ratio. Now if the hot preponderates too much it
dries up the liquid; if it is very deficient it does not solidify
it; for the artistic or natural product we need the due mean between
the extremes. Otherwise it will be as in cooking; too much fire
burns the meat, too little does not cook it, and in either case the
process is a failure. So also there is need of due proportion in the
mixture of the male and female elements. And for this cause it often
happens to many of both sexes that they do not generate with one
another, but if divorced and remarried to others do generate; and
these oppositions show themselves sometimes in youth, sometimes in
advanced age, alike as concerns fertility or infertility, and as
concerns generation of male or female offspring.

One country also differs from another in these respects, and one
water from another, for the same reasons. For the nourishment and
the medical condition of the body are of such or such a kind because
of the tempering of the surrounding air and of the food entering the
body, especially the water; for men consume more of this than of
anything else, and this enters as nourishment into all food, even
solids. Hence hard waters cause infertility, and cold waters the birth
of females.

3

The same causes must be held responsible for the following groups of
facts. (1) Some children resemble their parents, while others do
not; some being like the father and others like the mother, both in
the body as a whole and in each part, male and female offspring
resembling father and mother respectively rather than the other way

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