Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On The Generation Of Animals



Previous | Next
                  

On The Generation Of Animals   


special parts for receiving all the secretions, alike the useless (as
the residues of the liquid and solid nutriment), and the blood, which
has the so-called blood-vessels.

To consider now the region of the uterus in the female- the two
blood-vessels, the great vessel and the aorta, divide higher up, and
many fine vessels from them terminate in the uterus. These become
over-filled from the nourishment they convey, nor is the female nature
able to concoct it, because it is colder than man's; so the blood is
excreted through very fine vessels into the uterus, these being unable
on account of their narrowness to receive the excessive quantity,
and the result is a sort of haemorrhage. The period is not
accurately defined in women, but tends to return during the waning
of the moon. This we should expect, for the bodies of animals are
colder when the environment happens to become so, and the time of
change from one month to another is cold because of the absence of the
moon, whence also it results that this time is stormier than the
middle of the month. When then the residue of the nourishment has
changed into blood, the catamenia tend to occur at the above-mentioned
period, but when it is not concocted a little matter at a time is
always coming away, and this is why 'whites' appear in females while
still small, in fact mere children. If both these discharges of the
secretions are moderate, the body remains in good health, for they act
as a purification of the secretions which are the causes of a morbid
state of body; if they do not occur at all or if they are excessive,
they are injurious, either causing illness or pulling down the
patient; hence whites, if continuous and excessive, prevent girls from
growing. This secretion then is necessarily discharged by females
for the reasons given; for, the female nature being unable to
concoct the nourishment thoroughly, there must not only be left a
residue of the useless nutriment, but also there must be a residue
in the blood-vessels, and this filling the channels of the finest
vessels must overflow. Then Nature, aiming at the best end, uses it up
in this place for the sake of generation, that another creature may
come into being of the same kind as the former was going to be, for
the menstrual blood is already potentially such as the body from which
it is discharged.

In all females, then, there must necessarily be such a secretion,
more indeed in those that have blood and of these most of all in
man, but in the others also some matter must be collected in the
uterine region. The reason why there is more in those that have
blood and most in man has been already given, but why, if all
females have such a secretion, have not all males one to correspond?
For some of them do not emit semen but, just as those which do emit it
fashion by the movement in the semen the mass forming from the
material supplied by the female, so do the animals in question bring
the same to pass and exert the same formative power by the movement
within themselves in that part from whence the semen is secreted. This
is the region about the diaphragm in all those animals which have one,
for the heart or its analogue is the first principle of a natural
body, while the lower part is a mere addition for the sake of it.
Now the reason why it is not all males that have a generative
secretion, while all females do, is that the animal is a body with
Soul or life; the female always provides the material, the male that
which fashions it, for this is the power that we say they each
possess, and this is what is meant by calling them male and female.
Thus while it is necessary for the female to provide a body and a
material mass, it is not necessary for the male, because it is not
within the work of art or the embryo that the tools or the maker
must exist. While the body is from the female, it is the soul that
is from the male, for the soul is the reality of a particular body.
For this reason if animals of a different kind are crossed (and
this is possible when the periods of gestation are equal and

Previous | Next
Site Search