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On The Generation Of Animals   


and nature of the active and the passive sex must also differ. If,
then, the male stands for the effective and active, and the female,
considered as female, for the passive, it follows that what the female
would contribute to the semen of the male would not be semen but
material for the semen to work upon. This is just what we find to be
the case, for the catamenia have in their nature an affinity to the
primitive matter.

21

So much for the discussion of this question. At the same time the
answer to the next question we have to investigate is clear from these
considerations, I mean how it is that the male contributes to
generation and how it is that the semen from the male is the cause
of the offspring. Does it exist in the body of the embryo as a part of
it from the first, mingling with the material which comes from the
female? Or does the semen communicate nothing to the material body
of the embryo but only to the power and movement in it? For this power
is that which acts and makes, while that which is made and receives
the form is the residue of the secretion in the female. Now the latter
alternative appears to be the right one both a priori and in view of
the facts. For, if we consider the question on general grounds, we
find that, whenever one thing is made from two of which one is
active and the other passive, the active agent does not exist in
that which is made; and, still more generally, the same applies when
one thing moves and another is moved; the moving thing does not
exist in that which is moved. But the female, as female, is passive,
and the male, as male, is active, and the principle of the movement
comes from him. Therefore, if we take the highest genera under which
they each fall, the one being active and motive and the other
passive and moved, that one thing which is produced comes from them
only in the sense in which a bed comes into being from the carpenter
and the wood, or in which a ball comes into being from the wax and the
form. It is plain then that it is not necessary that anything at all
should come away from the male, and if anything does come away it does
not follow that this gives rise to the embryo as being in the
embryo, but only as that which imparts the motion and as the form;
so the medical art cures the patient.

This a priori argument is confirmed by the facts. For it is for this
reason that some males which unite with the female do not, it appears,
insert any part of themselves into the female, but on the contrary the
female inserts a part of herself into the male; this occurs in some
insects. For the effect produced by the semen in the female (in the
case of those animals whose males do insert a part) is produced in
the case of these insects by the heat and power in the male animal
itself when the female inserts that part of herself which receives the
secretion. And therefore such animals remain united a long time, and
when they are separated the young are produced quickly. For the
union lasts until that which is analogous to the semen has done its
work, and when they separate the female produces the embryo quickly;
for the young is imperfect inasmuch as all such creatures give birth
to scoleces.

What occurs in birds and oviparous fishes is the greatest proof that
neither does the semen come from all parts of the male nor does he
emit anything of such a nature as to exist within that which is
generated, as part of the material embryo, but that he only makes a
living creature by the power which resides in the semen (as we said
in the case of those insects whose females insert a part of themselves
into the male). For if a hen-bird is in process of producing
wind-eggs and is then trodden by the cock before the egg has begun
to whiten and while it is all still yellow, then they become fertile
instead of being wind-eggs. And if while it is still yellow she be

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