Translated by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
Now that we have stated the magnitudes, the properties, and the relative differences of the other internal organs, it remains for us to treat of the organs that contribute to generation. These organs in the female are in all cases internal; in the male they present numerous diversities.
In the blooded animals some males are altogether devoid of testicles, and some have the organ but situated internally; and of those males that have the organ internally situated, some have it close to the loin in the neighbourhood of the kidney and others close to the belly. Other males have the organ situated externally. In the case of these last, the penis is in some cases attached to the belly, whilst in others it is loosely suspended, as is the case also with the testicles; and, in the cases where the penis is attached to the belly, the attachment varies accordingly as the animal is emprosthuretic or opisthuretic.
No fish is furnished with testicles, nor any other creature that has gills, nor any serpent whatever: nor, in short, any animal devoid of feet, save such only as are viviparous within themselves. Birds are furnished with testicles, but these are internally situated, close to the loin. The case is similar with oviparous quadrupeds, such as the lizard, the tortoise and the crocodile; and among the viviparous animals this peculiarity is found in the hedgehog. Others among those creatures that have the organ internally situated have it close to the belly, as is the case with the dolphin amongst animals devoid of feet, and with the elephant among viviparous quadrupeds. In other cases these organs are externally conspicuous.
We have already alluded to the diversities observed in the attachment of these organs to the belly and the adjacent region; in other words, we have stated that in some cases the testicles are tightly fastened back, as in the pig and its allies, and that in others they are freely suspended, as in man.
Fishes, then, are devoid of testicles, as has been stated, and serpents also. They are furnished, however, with two ducts connected with the midriff and running on to either side of the backbone, coalescing into a single duct above the outlet of the residuum, and by ‘above’ the outlet I mean the region near to the spine. These ducts in the rutting season get filled with the genital fluid, and, if the ducts be squeezed, the sperm oozes out white in colour. As to the differences observed in male fishes of diverse species, the reader should consult my treatise on Anatomy, and the subject will be hereafter more fully discussed when we describe the specific character in each case.
The males of oviparous animals, whether biped or quadruped, are in all cases furnished with testicles close to the loin underneath the midriff. With some animals the organ is whitish, in others somewhat of a sallow hue; in all cases it is entirely enveloped with minute and delicate veins. From each of the two testicles extends a duct, and, as in the case of fishes, the two ducts coalesce into one above the outlet of the residuum. This constitutes the penis, which organ in the case of small ovipara is inconspicuous; but in the case of the larger ovipara, as in the goose and the like, the organ becomes quite visible just after copulation.
The ducts in the case of fishes and in biped and quadruped ovipara are attached to the loin under the stomach and the gut, in betwixt them and the great vein, from which ducts or blood-vessels extend, one to each of the two testicles. And just as with fishes the male sperm is found in the seminal ducts, and the ducts become plainly visible at the rutting season and in some instances become invisible after the season is passed, so also is it with the testicles of birds; before the breeding season the organ is small in some birds and quite invisible in others, but during the season the organ in all cases is greatly enlarged. This phenomenon is remarkably illustrated in the ring-dove and the partridge, so much so that some people are actually of opinion that these birds are devoid of the organ in the winter-time.
Of male animals that have their testicles placed frontwards, some have them inside, close to the belly, as the dolphin; some have them outside, exposed to view, close to the lower extremity of the belly. These animals resemble one another thus far in respect to this organ; but they differ from one another in this fact, that some of them have their testicles situated separately by themselves, while others, which have the organ situated externally, have them enveloped in what is termed the scrotum.
Again, in all viviparous animals furnished with feet the following properties are observed in the testicles themselves. From the aorta there extend vein-like ducts to the head of each of the testicles, and another two from the kidneys; these two from the kidneys are supplied with blood, while the two from the aorta are devoid of it. From the head of the testicle alongside of the testicle itself is a duct, thicker and more sinewy than the other just alluded to-a duct that bends back again at the end of the testicle to its head; and from the head of each of the two testicles the two ducts extend until they coalesce in front at the penis. The duct that bends back again and that which is in contact with the testicle are enveloped in one and the same membrane, so that, until you draw aside the membrane, they present all the appearance of being a single undifferentiated duct. Further, the duct in contact with the testicle has its moist content qualified by blood, but to a comparatively less extent than in the case of the ducts higher up which are connected with the aorta; in the ducts that bend back towards the tube of the penis, the liquid is white-coloured. There also runs a duct from the bladder, opening into the upper part of the canal, around which lies, sheathwise, what is called the ‘penis’.
All these descriptive particulars may be regarded by the light of the accompanying diagram; wherein the letter A marks the starting-point of the ducts that extend from the aorta; the letters KK mark the heads of the testicles and the ducts descending thereunto; the ducts extending from these along the testicles are marked MM; the ducts turning back, in which is the white fluid, are marked BB; the penis D; the bladder E; and the testicles XX.
(By the way, when the testicles are cut off or removed, the ducts draw upwards by contraction. Moreover, when male animals are young, their owner sometimes destroys the organ in them by attrition; sometimes they castrate them at a later period. And I may here add, that a bull has been known to serve a cow immediately after castration, and actually to impregnate her.)
So much then for the properties of testicles in male animals.
In female animals furnished with a womb, the womb is not in all cases the same in form or endowed with the same properties, but both in the vivipara and the ovipara great diversities present themselves. In all creatures that have the womb close to the genitals, the womb is two-horned, and one horn lies to the right-hand side and the other to the left; its commencement, however, is single, and so is the orifice, resembling in the case of the most numerous and largest animals a tube composed of much flesh and gristle. Of these parts one is termed the hystera or delphys, whence is derived the word adelphos, and the other part, the tube or orifice, is termed metra. In all biped or quadruped vivipara the womb is in all cases below the midriff, as in man, the dog, the pig, the horse, and the ox; the same is the case also in all horned animals. At the extremity of the so-called ceratia, or horns, the wombs of most animals have a twist or convolution.
In the case of those ovipara that lay eggs externally, the wombs are not in all cases similarly situated. Thus the wombs of birds are close to the midriff, and the wombs of fishes down below, just like the wombs of biped and quadruped vivipara, only that, in the case of the fish, the wombs are delicately formed, membranous, and elongated; so much so that in extremely small fish, each of the two bifurcated parts looks like a single egg, and those fishes whose egg is described as crumbling would appear to have inside them a pair of eggs, whereas in reality each of the two sides consists not of one but of many eggs, and this accounts for their breaking up into so many particles.
The womb of birds has the lower and tubular portion fleshy and firm, and the part close to the midriff membranous and exceedingly thin and fine: so thin and fine that the eggs might seem to be outside the womb altogether. In the larger birds the membrane is more distinctly visible, and, if inflated through the tube, lifts and swells out; in the smaller birds all these parts are more indistinct.
The properties of the womb are similar in oviparous quadrupeds, as the tortoise, the lizard, the frog and the like; for the tube below is single and fleshy, and the cleft portion with the eggs is at the top close to the midriff. With animals devoid of feet that are internally oviparous and viviparous externally, as is the case with the dogfish and the other so-called Selachians (and by this title we designate such creatures destitute of feet and furnished with gills as are viviparous), with these animals the womb is bifurcate, and beginning down below it extends as far as the midriff, as in the case of birds. There is also a narrow part between the two horns running up as far as the midriff, and the eggs are engendered here and above at the origin of the midriff; afterwards they pass into the wider space and turn from eggs into young animals. However, the differences in respect to the wombs of these fishes as compared with others of their own species or with fishes in general, would be more satisfactorily studied in their various forms in specimens under dissection.
The members of the serpent genus also present divergencies either when compared with the above-mentioned creatures or with one another. Serpents as a rule are oviparous, the viper being the only viviparous member of the genus. The viper is, previously to external parturition, oviparous internally; and owing to this perculiarity the properties of the womb in the viper are similar to those of the womb in the selachians. The womb of the serpent is long, in keeping with the body, and starting below from a single duct extends continuously on both sides of the spine, so as to give the impression of thus being a separate duct on each side of the spine, until it reaches the midriff, where the eggs are engendered in a row; and these eggs are laid not one by one, but all strung together. (And all animals that are viviparous both internally and externally have the womb situated above the stomach, and all the ovipara underneath, near to the loin. Animals that are viviparous externally and internally oviparous present an intermediate arrangement; for the underneath portion of the womb, in which the eggs are, is placed near to the loin, but the part about the orifice is above the gut.)
Further, there is the following diversity observable in wombs as compared with one another: namely that the females of horned nonambidental animals are furnished with cotyledons in the womb when they are pregnant, and such is the case, among ambidentals, with the hare, the mouse, and the bat; whereas all other animals that are ambidental, viviparous, and furnished with feet, have the womb quite smooth, and in their case the attachment of the embryo is to the womb itself and not to any cotyledon inside it.
The parts, then, in animals that are not homogeneous with themselves and uniform in their texture, both parts external and parts internal, have the properties above assigned to them.
In sanguineous animals the homogeneous or uniform part most universally found is the blood, and its habitat the vein; next in degree of universality, their analogues, lymph and fibre, and, that which chiefly constitutes the frame of animals, flesh and whatsoever in the several parts is analogous to flesh; then bone, and parts that are analogous to bone, as fish-bone and gristle; and then, again, skin, membrane, sinew, hair, nails, and whatever corresponds to these; and, furthermore, fat, suet, and the excretions: and the excretions are dung, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile.
Now, as the nature of blood and the nature of the veins have all the appearance of being primitive, we must discuss their properties first of all, and all the more as some previous writers have treated them very unsatisfactorily. And the cause of the ignorance thus manifested is the extreme difficulty experienced in the way of observation. For in the dead bodies of animals the nature of the chief veins is undiscoverable, owing to the fact that they collapse at once when the blood leaves them; for the blood pours out of them in a stream, like liquid out of a vessel, since there is no blood separately situated by itself, except a little in the heart, but it is all lodged in the veins. In living animals it is impossible to inspect these parts, for of their very nature they are situated inside the body and out of sight. For this reason anatomists who have carried on their investigations on dead bodies in the dissecting room have failed to discover the chief roots of the veins, while those who have narrowly inspected bodies of living men reduced to extreme attenuation have arrived at conclusions regarding the origin of the veins from the manifestations visible externally. Of these investigators, Syennesis, the physician of Cyprus, writes as follows:—
‘The big veins run thus:-from the navel across the loins, along the back, past the lung, in under the breasts; one from right to left, and the other from left to right; that from the left, through the liver to the kidney and the testicle, that from the right, to the spleen and kidney and testicle, and from thence to the penis.’ Diogenes of Apollonia writes thus:—
‘The veins in man are as follows:-There are two veins pre-eminent in magnitude. These extend through the belly along the backbone, one to right, one to left; either one to the leg on its own side, and upwards to the head, past the collar bones, through the throat. From these, veins extend all over the body, from that on the right hand to the right side and from that on the left hand to the left side; the most important ones, two in number, to the heart in the region of the backbone; other two a little higher up through the chest in underneath the armpit, each to the hand on its side: of these two, one being termed the vein splenitis, and the other the vein hepatitis. Each of the pair splits at its extremity; the one branches in the direction of the thumb and the other in the direction of the palm; and from these run off a number of minute veins branching off to the fingers and to all parts of the hand. Other veins, more minute, extend from the main veins; from that on the right towards the liver, from that on the left towards the spleen and the kidneys. The veins that run to the legs split at the juncture of the legs with the trunk and extend right down the thigh. The largest of these goes down the thigh at the back of it, and can be discerned and traced as a big one; the second one runs inside the thigh, not quite as big as the one just mentioned. After this they pass on along the knee to the shin and the foot (as the upper veins were described as passing towards the hands), and arrive at the sole of the foot, and from thence continue to the toes. Moreover, many delicate veins separate off from the great veins towards the stomach and towards the ribs.
‘The veins that run through the throat to the head can be discerned and traced in the neck as large ones; and from each one of the two, where it terminates, there branch off a number of veins to the head; some from the right side towards the left, and some from the left side towards the right; and the two veins terminate near to each of the two ears. There is another pair of veins in the neck running along the big vein on either side, slightly less in size than the pair just spoken of, and with these the greater part of the veins in the head are connected. This other pair runs through the throat inside; and from either one of the two there extend veins in underneath the shoulder blade and towards the hands; and these appear alongside the veins splenitis and hepatitis as another pair of veins smaller in size. When there is a pain near the surface of the body, the physician lances these two latter veins; but when the pain is within and in the region of the stomach he lances the veins splenitis and hepatitis. And from these, other veins depart to run below the breasts.
‘There is also another pair running on each side through the spinal marrow to the testicles, thin and delicate. There is, further, a pair running a little underneath the cuticle through the flesh to the kidneys, and these with men terminate at the testicle, and with women at the womb. These veins are termed the spermatic veins. The veins that leave the stomach are comparatively broad just as they leave; but they become gradually thinner, until they change over from right to left and from left to right.
‘Blood is thickest when it is imbibed by the fleshy parts; when it is transmitted to the organs above-mentioned, it becomes thin, warm, and frothy.’
Such are the accounts given by Syennesis and Diogenes. Polybus writes to the following effect:—
‘There are four pairs of veins. The first extends from the back of the head, through the neck on the outside, past the backbone on either side, until it reaches the loins and passes on to the legs, after which it goes on through the shins to the outer side of the ankles and on to the feet. And it is on this account that surgeons, for pains in the back and loin, bleed in the ham and in the outer side of the ankle. Another pair of veins runs from the head, past ears, through the neck; which veins are termed the jugular veins. This pair goes on inside along the backbone, past the muscles of the loins, on to the testicles, and onwards to the thighs, and through the inside of the hams and through the shins down to the inside of the ankles and to the feet; and for this reason, surgeons, for pains in the muscles of the loins and in the testicles, bleed on the hams and the inner side of the ankles. The third pair extends from the temples, through the neck, in underneath the shoulder-blades, into the lung; those from right to left going in underneath the breast and on to the spleen and the kidney; those from left to right running from the lung in underneath the breast and into the liver and the kidney; and both terminate in the fundament. The fourth pair extend from the front part of the head and the eyes in underneath the neck and the collar-bones; from thence they stretch on through the upper part of the upper arms to the elbows and then through the fore-arms on to the wrists and the jointings of the fingers, and also through the lower part of the upper-arms to the armpits, and so on, keeping above the ribs, until one of the pair reaches the spleen and the other reaches the liver; and after this they both pass over the stomach and terminate at the penis.’
The above quotations sum up pretty well the statements of all previous writers. Furthermore, there are some writers on Natural History who have not ventured to lay down the law in such precise terms as regards the veins, but who all alike agree in assigning the head and the brain as the starting-point of the veins. And in this opinion they are mistaken.
The investigation of such a subject, as has been remarked, is one fraught with difficulties; but, if any one be keenly interested in the matter, his best plan will be to allow his animals to starve to emaciation, then to strangle them on a sudden, and thereupon to prosecute his investigations.
We now proceed to give particulars regarding the properties and functions of the veins. There are two blood-vessels in the thorax by the backbone, and lying to its inner side; and of these two the larger one is situated to the front, and the lesser one is to the rear of it; and the larger is situated rather to the right hand side of the body, and the lesser one to the left; and by some this vein is termed the ‘aorta’, from the fact that even in dead bodies part of it is observed to be full of air. These blood-vessels have their origins in the heart, for they traverse the other viscera, in whatever direction they happen to run, without in any way losing their distinctive characteristic as blood-vessels, whereas the heart is as it were a part of them (and that too more in respect to the frontward and larger one of the two), owing to the fact that these two veins are above and below, with the heart lying midway.
The heart in all animals has cavities inside it. In the case of the smaller animals even the largest of the chambers is scarcely discernible; the second larger is scarcely discernible in animals of medium size; but in the largest animals all three chambers are distinctly seen. In the heart then (with its pointed end directed frontwards, as has been observed) the largest of the three chambers is on the right-hand side and highest up; the least one is on the left-hand side; and the medium-sized one lies in betwixt the other two; and the largest one of the three chambers is a great deal larger than either of the two others. All three, however, are connected with passages leading in the direction of the lung, but all these communications are indistinctly discernible by reason of their minuteness, except one.
The great blood-vessel, then, is attached to the biggest of the three chambers, the one that lies uppermost and on the right-hand side; it then extends right through the chamber, coming out as blood-vessel again; just as though the cavity of the heart were a part of the vessel, in which the blood broadens its channel as a river that widens out in a lake. The aorta is attached to the middle chamber; only, by the way, it is connected with it by much narrower pipe.
The great blood-vessel then passes through the heart (and runs from the heart into the aorta). The great vessel looks as though made of membrane or skin, while the aorta is narrower than it, and is very sinewy; and as it stretches away to the head and to the lower parts it becomes exceedingly narrow and sinewy.
First of all, then, upwards from the heart there stretches a part of the great blood-vessel towards the lung and the attachment of the aorta, a part consisting of a large undivided vessel. But there split off from it two parts; one towards the lung and the other towards the backbone and the last vertebra of the neck.
The vessel, then, that extends to the lung, as the lung itself is duplicate, divides at first into two; and then extends along by every pipe and every perforation, greater along the greater ones, lesser along the less, so continuously that it is impossible to discern a single part wherein there is not perforation and vein; for the extremities are indistinguishable from their minuteness, and in point of fact the whole lung appears to be filled with blood.
The branches of the blood-vessels lie above the tubes that extend from the windpipe. And that vessel which extends to the vertebra of the neck and the backbone, stretches back again along the backbone; as Homer represents in the lines:—
(Antilochus, as Thoon turned him round),
Transpierc’d his back with a dishonest wound;
The hollow vein that to the neck extends,
Along the chine, the eager javelin rends.
From this vessel there extend small blood-vessels at each rib and each vertebra; and at the vertebra above the kidneys the vessel bifurcates. And in the above way the parts branch off from the great blood-vessel.
But up above all these, from that part which is connected with the heart, the entire vein branches off in two directions. For its branches extend to the sides and to the collarbones, and then pass on, in men through the armpits to the arms, in quadrupeds to the forelegs, in birds to the wings, and in fishes to the upper or pectoral fins. (See diagram.) The trunks of these veins, where they first branch off, are called the ‘jugular’ veins; and, where they branch off to the neck the great vein run alongside the windpipe; and, occasionally, if these veins are pressed externally, men, though not actually choked, become insensible, shut their eyes, and fall flat on the ground. Extending in the way described and keeping the windpipe in betwixt them, they pass on until they reach the ears at the junction of the lower jaw with the skull. Hence again they branch off into four veins, of which one bends back and descends through the neck and the shoulder, and meets the previous branching off of the vein at the bend of the arm, while the rest of it terminates at the hand and fingers. (See diagram.)
Each vein of the other pair stretches from the region of the ear to the brain, and branches off in a number of fine and delicate veins into the so-called meninx, or membrane, which surrounds the brain. The brain itself in all animals is destitute of blood, and no vein, great or small, holds its course therein. But of the remaining veins that branch off from the last mentioned vein some envelop the head, others close their courses in the organs of sense and at the roots of the teeth in veins exceedingly fine and minute.
And in like manner the parts of the lesser one of the two chief blood-vessels, designated the aorta, branch off, accompanying the branches from the big vein; only that, in regard to the aorta, the passages are less in size, and the branches very considerably less than are those of the great vein. So much for the veins as observed in the regions above the heart.
The part of the great vein that lies underneath the heart extends, freely suspended, right through the midriff, and is united both to the aorta and the backbone by slack membranous communications. From it one vein, short and wide, extends through the liver, and from it a number of minute veins branch off into the liver and disappear. From the vein that passes through the liver two branches separate off, of which one terminates in the diaphragm or so-called midriff, and the other runs up again through the armpit into the right arm and unites with the other veins at the inside of the bend of the arm; and it is in consequence of this local connexion that, when the surgeon opens this vein in the forearm, the patient is relieved of certain pains in the liver; and from the left-hand side of it there extends a short but thick vein to the spleen and the little veins branching off it disappear in that organ. Another part branches off from the left-hand side of the great vein, and ascends, by a course similar to the course recently described, into the left arm; only that the ascending vein in the one case is the vein that traverses the liver, while in this case it is distinct from the vein that runs into the spleen. Again, other veins branch off from the big vein; one to the omentum, and another to the pancreas, from which vein run a number of veins through the mesentery. All these veins coalesce in a single large vein, along the entire gut and stomach to the oesophagus; about these parts there is a great ramification of branch veins.
As far as the kidneys, each of the two remaining undivided, the aorta and the big vein extend; and here they get more closely attached to the backbone, and branch off, each of the two, into a A shape, and the big vein gets to the rear of the aorta. But the chief attachment of the aorta to the backbone takes place in the region of the heart; and the attachment is effected by means of minute and sinewy vessels. The aorta, just as it draws off from the heart, is a tube of considerable volume, but, as it advances in its course, it gets narrower and more sinewy. And from the aorta there extend veins to the mesentery just like the veins that extend thither from the big vein, only that the branches in the case of the aorta are considerably less in magnitude; they are, indeed, narrow and fibrillar, and they end in delicate hollow fibre-like veinlets.
There is no vessel that runs from the aorta into the liver or the spleen.
From each of the two great blood-vessels there extend branches to each of the two flanks, and both branches fasten on to the bone. Vessels also extend to the kidneys from the big vein and the aorta; only that they do not open into the cavity of the organ, but their ramifications penetrate into its substance. From the aorta run two other ducts to the bladder, firm and continuous; and there are other ducts from the hollow of the kidneys, in no way communicating with the big vein. From the centre of each of the two kidneys springs a hollow sinewy vein, running along the backbone right through the loins; by and by each of the two veins first disappears in its own flank, and soon afterwards reappears stretching in the direction of the flank. The extremities of these attach to the bladder, and also in the male to the penis and in the female to the womb. From the big vein no vein extends to the womb, but the organ is connected with the aorta by veins numerous and closely packed.
Furthermore, from the aorta and the great vein at the points of divarication there branch off other veins. Some of these run to the groins-large hollow veins-and then pass on down through the legs and terminate in the feet and toes. And, again, another set run through the groins and the thighs cross-garter fashion, from right to left and from left to right, and unite in the hams with the other veins.
In the above description we have thrown light upon the course of the veins and their points of departure.
In all sanguineous animals the case stands as here set forth in regard to the points of departure and the courses of the chief veins. But the description does not hold equally good for the entire vein-system in all these animals. For, in point of fact, the organs are not identically situated in them all; and, what is more, some animals are furnished with organs of which other animals are destitute. At the same time, while the description so far holds good, the proof of its accuracy is not equally easy in all cases, but is easiest in the case of animals of considerable magnitude and supplied abundantly with blood. For in little animals and those scantily supplied with blood, either from natural and inherent causes or from a prevalence of fat in the body, thorough accuracy in investigation is not equally attainable; for in the latter of these creatures the passages get clogged, like water-channels choked with slush; and the others have a few minute fibres to serve instead of veins. But in all cases the big vein is plainly discernible, even in creatures of insignificant size.
The sinews of animals have the following properties. For these also the point of origin is the heart; for the heart has sinews within itself in the largest of its three chambers, and the aorta is a sinew-like vein; in fact, at its extremity it is actually a sinew, for it is there no longer hollow, and is stretched like the sinews where they terminate at the jointings of the bones. Be it remembered, however, that the sinews do not proceed in unbroken sequence from one point of origin, as do the blood-vessels.
For the veins have the shape of the entire body, like a sketch of a mannikin; in such a way that the whole frame seems to be filled up with little veins in attenuated subjects-for the space occupied by flesh in fat individuals is filled with little veins in thin ones-whereas the sinews are distributed about the joints and the flexures of the bones. Now, if the sinews were derived in unbroken sequence from a common point of departure, this continuity would be discernible in attenuated specimens.
In the ham, or the part of the frame brought into full play in the effort of leaping, is an important system of sinews; and another sinew, a double one, is that called ‘the tendon’, and others are those brought into play when a great effort of physical strength is required; that is to say, the epitonos or back-stay and the shoulder-sinews. Other sinews, devoid of specific designation, are situated in the region of the flexures of the bones; for all the bones that are attached to one another are bound together by sinews, and a great quantity of sinews are placed in the neighbourhood of all the bones. Only, by the way, in the head there is no sinew; but the head is held together by the sutures of the bones.
Sinew is fissile lengthwise, but crosswise it is not easily broken, but admits of a considerable amount of hard tension. In connexion with sinews a liquid mucus is developed, white and glutinous, and the organ, in fact, is sustained by it and appears to be substantially composed of it. Now, vein may be submitted to the actual cautery, but sinew, when submitted to such action, shrivels up altogether; and, if sinews be cut asunder, the severed parts will not again cohere. A feeling of numbness is incidental only to parts of the frame where sinew is situated.
There is a very extensive system of sinews connected severally with the feet, the hands, the ribs, the shoulder-blades, the neck, and the arms.
All animals supplied with blood are furnished with sinews; but in the case of animals that have no flexures to their limbs, but are, in fact, destitute of either feet or hands, the sinews are fine and inconspicuous; and so, as might have been anticipated, the sinews in the fish are chiefly discernible in connexion with the fin.
The ines (or fibrous connective tissue) are a something intermediate between sinew and vein. Some of them are supplied with fluid, the lymph; and they pass from sinew to vein and from vein to sinew. There is another kind of ines or fibre that is found in blood, but not in the blood of all animals alike. If this fibre be left in the blood, the blood will coagulate; if it be removed or extracted, the blood is found to be incapable of coagulation. While, however, this fibrous matter is found in the blood of the great majority of animals, it is not found in all. For instance, we fail to find it in the blood of the deer, the roe, the antelope, and some other animals; and, owing to this deficiency of the fibrous tissue, the blood of these animals does not coagulate to the extent observed in the blood of other animals. The blood of the deer coagulates to about the same extent as that of the hare: that is to the blood in either case coagulates, but not into a stiff or jelly-like substance, like the blood of ordinary animals, but only into a flaccid consistency like that of milk which is not subjected to the action of rennet. The blood of the antelope admits of a firmer consistency in coagulation; for in this respect it resembles, or only comes a little short of, the blood of sheep. Such are the properties of vein, sinew, and fibrous tissue.
The bones in animals are all connected with one single bone, and are interconnected, like the veins, in one unbroken sequence; and there is no instance of a bone standing apart by itself. In all animals furnished with bones, the spine or backbone is the point of origin for the entire osseous system. The spine is composed of vertebrae, and it extends from the head down to the loins. The vertebrae are all perforated, and, above, the bony portion of the head is connected with the topmost vertebrae, and is designated the ‘skull’. And the serrated lines on the skull are termed ‘sutures’.
The skull is not formed alike in all animals. In some animals the skull consists of one single undivided bone, as in the case of the dog; in others it is composite in structure, as in man; and in the human species the suture is circular in the female, while in the male it is made up of three separate sutures, uniting above in three-corner fashion; and instances have been known of a man’s skull being devoid of suture altogether. The skull is composed not of four bones, but of six; two of these are in the region of the ears, small in comparison with the other four. From the skull extend the jaws, constituted of bone. (Animals in general move the lower jaw; the river crocodile is the only animal that moves the upper one.) In the jaws is the tooth-system; and the teeth are constituted of bone, and are half-way perforated; and the bone in question is the only kind of bone which it is found impossible to grave with a graving tool.
On the upper part of the course of the backbone are the collar-bones and the ribs. The chest rests on ribs; and these ribs meet together, whereas the others do not; for no animal has bone in the region of the stomach. Then come the shoulder-bones, or blade-bones, and the arm-bones connected with these, and the bones in the hands connected with the bones of the arms. With animals that have forelegs, the osseous system of the foreleg resembles that of the arm in man.
Below the level of the backbone, after the haunch-bone, comes the hip-socket; then the leg-bones, those in the thighs and those in the shins, which are termed colenes or limb-bones, a part of which is the ankle, while a part of the same is the so-called ‘plectrum’ in those creatures that have an ankle; and connected with these bones are the bones in the feet.
Now, with all animals that are supplied with blood and furnished with feet, and are at the same time viviparous, the bones do not differ greatly one from another, but only in the way of relative hardness, softness, or magnitude. A further difference, by the way, is that in one and the same animal certain bones are supplied with marrow, while others are destitute of it. Some animals might on casual observation appear to have no marrow whatsoever in their bones: as is the case with the lion, owing to his having marrow only in small amount, poor and thin, and in very few bones; for marrow is found in his thigh and armbones. The bones of the lion are exceptionally hard; so hard, in fact, that if they are rubbed hard against one another they emit sparks like flint-stones. The dolphin has bones, and not fish-spine.
Of the other animals supplied with blood, some differ but little, as is the case with birds; others have systems analogous, as fishes; for viviparous fishes, such as the cartilaginous species, are gristle-spined, while the ovipara have a spine which corresponds to the backbone in quadrupeds. This exceptional property has been observed in fishes, that in some of them there are found delicate spines scattered here and there throughout the fleshy parts. The serpent is similarly constructed to the fish; in other words, his backbone is spinous. With oviparous quadrupeds, the skeleton of the larger ones is more or less osseous; of the smaller ones, more or less spinous. But all sanguineous animals have a backbone of either one kind or other: that is, composed either of bone or of spine.
The other portions of the skeleton are found in some animals and not found in others, but the presence or the absence of this and that part carries with it, as a matter of course, the presence or the absence of the bones or the spines corresponding to this or that part. For animals that are destitute of arms and legs cannot be furnished with limb-bones: and in like manner with animals that have the same parts, but yet have them unlike in form; for in these animals the corresponding bones differ from one another in the way of relative excess or relative defect, or in the way of analogy taking the place of identity. So much for the osseous or spinous systems in animals.
Gristle is of the same nature as bone, but differs from it in the way of relative excess or relative defect. And just like bone, cartilage also, if cut, does not grow again. In terrestrial viviparous sanguinea the gristle formations are unperforated, and there is no marrow in them as there is in bones; in the selachia, however—for, be it observed, they are gristle-spined—there is found in the case of the flat space in the region of the backbone, a gristle-like substance analogous to bone, and in this gristle-like substance there is a liquid resembling marrow. In viviparous animals furnished with feet, gristle formations are found in the region of the ears, in the nostrils, and around certain extremities of the bones.
Furthermore, there are parts of other kinds, neither identical with, nor altogether diverse from, the parts above enumerated: such as nails, hooves, claws, and horns; and also, by the way, beaks, such as birds are furnished with-all in the several animals that are furnished therewithal. All these parts are flexible and fissile; but bone is neither flexible nor fissile, but frangible.
And the colours of horns and nails and claw and hoof follow the colour of the skin and the hair. For according as the skin of an animal is black, or white, or of medium hue, so are the horns, the claws, or the hooves, as the case may be, of hue to match. And it is the same with nails. The teeth, however, follow after the bones. Thus in black men, such as the Aethiopians and the like, the teeth and bones are white, but the nails are black, like the whole of the skin.
Horns in general are hollow at their point of attachment to the bone which juts out from the head inside the horn, but they have a solid portion at the tip, and they are simple and undivided in structure. In the case of the stag alone of all animals the horns are solid throughout, and ramify into branches (or antlers). And, whereas no other animal is known to shed its horns, the deer sheds its horns annually, unless it has been castrated; and with regard to the effects of castration in animals we shall have much to say hereafter. Horns attach rather to the skin than to the bone; which will account for the fact that there are found in Phrygia and elsewhere cattle that can move their horns as freely as their ears.
Of animals furnished with nails-and, by the way, all animals have nails that have toes, and toes that have feet, except the elephant; and the elephant has toes undivided and slightly articulated, but has no nails whatsoever—of animals furnished with nails, some are straight-nailed, like man; others are crooked nailed, as the lion among animals that walk, and the eagle among animals that fly.
The following are the properties of hair and of parts analogous to hair, and of skin or hide. All viviparous animals furnished with feet have hair; all oviparous animals furnished with feet have horn-like tessellates; fishes, and fishes only, have scales-that is, such oviparous fishes as have the crumbling egg or roe. For of the lanky fishes, the conger has no such egg, nor the muraena, and the eel has no egg at all.
The hair differs in the way of thickness and fineness, and of length, according to the locality of the part in which it is found, and according to the quality of skin or hide on which it grows. For, as a general rule, the thicker the hide, the harder and the thicker is the hair; and the hair is inclined to grow in abundance and to a great length in localities of the bodies hollow and moist, if the localities be fitted for the growth of hair at all. The facts are similar in the case of animals whether coated with scales or with tessellates. With soft-haired animals the hair gets harder with good feeding, and with hard-haired or bristly animals it gets softer and scantier from the same cause. Hair differs in quality also according to the relative heat or warmth of the locality: just as the hair in man is hard in warm places and soft in cold ones. Again, straight hair is inclined to be soft, and curly hair to be bristly.
Hair is naturally fissile, and in this respect it differs in degree in diverse animals. In some animals the hair goes on gradually hardening into bristle until it no longer resembles hair but spine, as in the case of the hedgehog. And in like manner with the nails; for in some animals the nail differs as regards solidity in no way from bone.
Of all animals man has the most delicate skin: that is, if we take into consideration his relative size. In the skin or hide of all animals there is a mucous liquid, scanty in some animals and plentiful in others, as, for instance, in the hide of the ox; for men manufacture glue out of it. (And, by the way, in some cases glue is manufactured from fishes also.) The skin, when cut, is in itself devoid of sensation; and this is especially the case with the skin on the head, owing to there being no flesh between it and the skull. And wherever the skin is quite by itself, if it be cut asunder, it does not grow together again, as is seen in the thin part of the jaw, in the prepuce, and the eyelid. In all animals the skin is one of the parts that extends continuous and unbroken, and it comes to a stop only where the natural ducts pour out their contents, and at the mouth and nails.
All sanguineous animals, then, have skin; but not all such animals have hair, save only under the circumstances described above. The hair changes its colour as animals grow old, and in man it turns white or grey. With animals, in general, the change takes place, but not very obviously, or not so obviously as in the case of the horse. Hair turns grey from the point backwards to the roots. But, in the majority of cases, grey hairs are white from the beginning; and this is a proof that greyness of hair does not, as some believe to be the case, imply withering or decrepitude, for no part is brought into existence in a withered or decrepit condition.
In the eruptive malady called the white-sickness all the hairs get grey; and instances have been known where the hair became grey while the patients were ill of the malady, whereas the grey hairs shed off and black ones replaced them on their recovery. (Hair is more apt to turn grey when it is kept covered than when exposed to the action of the outer air.) In men, the hair over the temples is the first to turn grey, and the hair in the front grows grey sooner than the hair at the back; and the hair on the pubes is the last to change colour.
Some hairs are congenital, others grow after the maturity of the animal; but this occurs in man only. The congenital hairs are on the head, the eyelids, and the eyebrows; of the later growths the hairs on the pubes are the first to come, then those under the armpits, and, thirdly, those on the chin; for, singularly enough, the regions where congenital growths and the subsequent growths are found are equal in number. The hair on the head grows scanty and sheds out to a greater extent and sooner than all the rest. But this remark applies only to hair in front; for no man ever gets bald at the back of his head. Smoothness on the top of the head is termed ‘baldness’, but smoothness on the eyebrows is denoted by a special term which means ‘forehead-baldness’; and neither of these conditions of baldness supervenes in a man until he shall have come under the influence of sexual passion. For no boy ever gets bald, no woman, and no castrated man. In fact, if a man be castrated before reaching puberty, the later growths of hair never come at all; and, if the operation take place subsequently, the aftergrowths, and these only, shed off; or, rather, two of the growths shed off, but not that on the pubes.
Women do not grow hairs on the chin; except that a scanty beard grows on some women after the monthly courses have stopped; and similar phenomenon is observed at times in priestesses in Caria, but these cases are looked upon as portentous with regard to coming events. The other after-growths are found in women, but more scanty and sparse. Men and women are at times born constitutionally and congenitally incapable of the after-growths; and individuals that are destitute even of the growth upon the pubes are constitutionally impotent.
Hair as a rule grows more or less in length as the wearer grows in age; chiefly the hair on the head, then that in the beard, and fine hair grows longest of all. With some people as they grow old the eyebrows grow thicker, to such an extent that they have to be cut off; and this growth is owing to the fact that the eyebrows are situated at a conjuncture of bones, and these bones, as age comes on, draw apart and exude a gradual increase of moisture or rheum. The eyelashes do not grow in size, but they shed when the wearer comes first under the influence of sexual feelings, and shed all the quicker as this influence is the more powerful; and these are the last hairs to grow grey.
Hairs if plucked out before maturity grow again; but they do not grow again if plucked out afterwards. Every hair is supplied with a mucous moisture at its root, and immediately after being plucked out it can lift light articles if it touch them with this mucus.
Animals that admit of diversity of colour in the hair admit of a similar diversity to start with in the skin and in the cuticle of the tongue.
In some cases among men the upper lip and the chin is thickly covered with hair, and in other cases these parts are smooth and the cheeks are hairy; and, by the way, smooth-chinned men are less inclined than bearded men to baldness.
The hair is inclined to grow in certain diseases, especially in consumption, and in old age, and after death; and under these circumstances the hair hardens concomitantly with its growth, and the same duplicate phenomenon is observable in respect of the nails.
In the case of men of strong sexual passions the congenital hairs shed the sooner, while the hairs of the after-growths are the quicker to come. When men are afflicted with varicose veins they are less inclined to take on baldness; and if they be bald when they become thus afflicted, they have a tendency to get their hair again.
If a hair be cut, it does not grow at the point of section; but it gets longer by growing upward from below. In fishes the scales grow harder and thicker with age, and when the amimal gets emaciated or is growing old the scales grow harder. In quadrupeds as they grow old the hair in some and the wool in others gets deeper but scantier in amount: and the hooves or claws get larger in size; and the same is the case with the beaks of birds. The claws also increase in size, as do also the nails.
With regard to winged animals, such as birds, no creature is liable to change of colour by reason of age, excepting the crane. The wings of this bird are ash-coloured at first, but as it grows old the wings get black. Again, owing to special climatic influences, as when unusual frost prevails, a change is sometimes observed to take place in birds whose plumage is of one uniform colour; thus, birds that have dusky or downright black plumage turn white or grey, as the raven, the sparrow, and the swallow; but no case has ever yet been known of a change of colour from white to black. (Further, most birds change the colour of their plumage at different seasons of the year, so much so that a man ignorant of their habits might be mistaken as to their identity.) Some animals change the colour of their hair with a change in their drinking-water, for in some countries the same species of animal is found white in one district and black in another. And in regard to the commerce of the sexes, water in many places is of such peculiar quality that rams, if they have intercourse with the female after drinking it, beget black lambs, as is the case with the water of the Psychrus (so-called from its coldness), a river in the district of Assyritis in the Chalcidic Peninsula, on the coast of Thrace; and in Antandria there are two rivers of which one makes the lambs white and the other black. The river Scamander also has the reputation of making lambs yellow, and that is the reason, they say, why Homer designates it the ‘Yellow River.’ Animals as a general rule have no hair on their internal surfaces, and, in regard to their extremities, they have hair on the upper, but not on the lower side.
The hare, or dasypod, is the only animal known to have hair inside its mouth and underneath its feet. Further, the so-called mousewhale instead of teeth has hairs in its mouth resembling pigs’ bristles.
Hairs after being cut grow at the bottom but not at the top; if feathers be cut off, they grow neither at top nor bottom, but shed and fall out. Further, the bee’s wing will not grow again after being plucked off, nor will the wing of any creature that has undivided wings. Neither will the sting grow again if the bee lose it, but the creature will die of the loss.
In all sanguineous animals membranes are found. And membrane resembles a thin close-textured skin, but its qualities are different, as it admits neither of cleavage nor of extension. Membrane envelops each one of the bones and each one of the viscera, both in the larger and the smaller animals; though in the smaller animals the membranes are indiscernible from their extreme tenuity and minuteness. The largest of all the membranes are the two that surround the brain, and of these two the one that lines the bony skull is stronger and thicker than the one that envelops the brain; next in order of magnitude comes the membrane that encloses the heart. If membrane be bared and cut asunder it will not grow together again, and the bone thus stripped of its membrane mortifies.
The omentum or caul, by the way, is membrane. All sanguineous animals are furnished with this organ; but in some animals the organ is supplied with fat, and in others it is devoid of it. The omentum has both its starting-point and its attachment, with ambidental vivipara, in the centre of the stomach, where the stomach has a kind of suture; in non-ambidental vivipara it has its starting-point and attachment in the chief of the ruminating stomachs.
The bladder also is of the nature of membrane, but of membrane peculiar in kind, for it is extensile. The organ is not common to all animals, but, while it is found in all the vivipara, the tortoise is the only oviparous animal that is furnished therewithal. The bladder, like ordinary membrane, if cut asunder will not grow together again, unless the section be just at the commencement of the urethra: except indeed in very rare cases, for instances of healing have been known to occur. After death, the organ passes no liquid excretion; but in life, in addition to the normal liquid excretion, it passes at times dry excretion also, which turns into stones in the case of sufferers from that malady. Indeed, instances have been known of concretions in the bladder so shaped as closely to resemble cockleshells.
Such are the properties, then, of vein, sinew and skin, of fibre and membrane, of hair, nail, claw and hoof, of horns, of teeth, of beak, of gristle, of bones, and of parts that are analogous to any of the parts here enumerated.
Flesh, and that which is by nature akin to it in sanguineous animals, is in all cases situated in between the skin and the bone, or the substance analogous to bone; for just as spine is a counterpart of bone, so is the flesh-like substance of animals that are constructed a spinous system the counterpart of the flesh of animals constructed on an osseous one.
Flesh can be divided asunder in any direction, not lengthwise only as is the case with sinew and vein. When animals are subjected to emaciation the flesh disappears, and the creatures become a mass of veins and fibres; when they are over fed, fat takes the place of flesh. Where the flesh is abundant in an animal, its veins are somewhat small and the blood abnormally red; the viscera also and the stomach are diminutive; whereas with animals whose veins are large the blood is somewhat black, the viscera and the stomach are large, and the flesh is somewhat scanty. And animals with small stomachs are disposed to take on flesh.
Again, fat and suet differ from one another. Suet is frangible in all directions and congeals if subjected to extreme cold, whereas fat can melt but cannot freeze or congeal; and soups made of the flesh of animals supplied with fat do not congeal or coagulate, as is found with horse-flesh and pork; but soups made from the flesh of animals supplied with suet do coagulate, as is seen with mutton and goat’s flesh. Further, fat and suet differ as to their localities: for fat is found between the skin and flesh, but suet is found only at the limit of the fleshy parts. Also, in animals supplied with fat the omentum or caul is supplied with fat, and it is supplied with suet in animals supplied with suet. Moreover, ambidental animals are supplied with fat, and non-ambidentals with suet.
Of the viscera the liver in some animals becomes fatty, as, among fishes, is the case with the selachia, by the melting of whose livers an oil is manufactured. These cartilaginous fish themselves have no free fat at all in connexion with the flesh or with the stomach. The suet in fish is fatty, and does not solidify or congeal. All animals are furnished with fat, either intermingled with their flesh, or apart. Such as have no free or separate fat are less fat than others in stomach and omentum, as the eel; for it has only a scanty supply of suet about the omentum. Most animals take on fat in the belly, especially such animals as are little in motion.
The brains of animals supplied with fat are oily, as in the pig; of animals supplied with suet, parched and dry. But it is about the kidneys more than any other viscera that animals are inclined to take on fat; and the right kidney is always less supplied with fat than the left kidney, and, be the two kidneys ever so fat, there is always a space devoid of fat in between the two. Animals supplied with suet are specially apt to have it about the kidneys, and especially the sheep; for this animal is apt to die from its kidneys being entirely enveloped. Fat or suet about the kidney is superinduced by overfeeding, as is found at Leontini in Sicily; and consequently in this district they defer driving out sheep to pasture until the day is well on, with the view of limiting their food by curtailment of the hours of pasture.
The part around the pupil of the eye is fatty in all animals, and this part resembles suet in all animals that possess such a part and that are not furnished with hard eyes.
Fat animals, whether male or female, are more or less unfitted for breeding purposes. Animals are disposed to take on fat more when old than when young, and especially when they have attained their full breadth and their full length and are beginning to grow depthways.
And now to proceed to the consideration of the blood. In sanguineous animals blood is the most universal and the most indispensable part; and it is not an acquired or adventitious part, but it is a consubstantial part of all animals that are not corrupt or moribund. All blood is contained in a vascular system, to wit, the veins, and is found nowhere else, excepting in the heart. Blood is not sensitive to touch in any animal, any more than the excretions of the stomach; and the case is similar with the brain and the marrow. When flesh is lacerated, blood exudes, if the animal be alive and unless the flesh be gangrened. Blood in a healthy condition is naturally sweet to the taste, and red in colour, blood that deteriorates from natural decay or from disease more or less black. Blood at its best, before it undergoes deterioration from either natural decay or from disease, is neither very thick nor very thin. In the living animal it is always liquid and warm, but, on issuing from the body, it coagulates in all cases except in the case of the deer, the roe, and the like animals; for, as a general rule, blood coagulates unless the fibres be extracted. Bull’s blood is the quickest to coagulate.
Animals that are internally and externally viviparous are more abundantly supplied with blood than the sanguineous ovipara. Animals that are in good condition, either from natural causes or from their health having been attended to, have the blood neither too abundant-as creatures just after drinking have the liquid inside them in abundance-nor again very scanty, as is the case with animals when exceedingly fat. For animals in this condition have pure blood, but very little of it, and the fatter an animal gets the less becomes its supply of blood; for whatsoever is fat is destitute of blood.
A fat substance is incorruptible, but blood and all things containing it corrupt rapidly, and this property characterizes especially all parts connected with the bones. Blood is finest and purest in man; and thickest and blackest in the bull and the ass, of all vivipara. In the lower and the higher parts of the body blood is thicker and blacker than in the central parts.
Blood beats or palpitates in the veins of all animals alike all over their bodies, and blood is the only liquid that permeates the entire frames of living animals, without exception and at all times, as long as life lasts. Blood is developed first of all in the heart of animals before the body is differentiated as a whole. If blood be removed or if it escape in any considerable quantity, animals fall into a faint or swoon; if it be removed or if it escape in an exceedingly large quantity they die. If the blood get exceedingly liquid, animals fall sick; for the blood then turns into something like ichor, or a liquid so thin that it at times has been known to exude through the pores like sweat. In some cases blood, when issuing from the veins, does not coagulate at all, or only here and there. Whilst animals are sleeping the blood is less abundantly supplied near the exterior surfaces, so that, if the sleeping creature be pricked with a pin, the blood does not issue as copiously as it would if the creature were awake. Blood is developed out of ichor by coction, and fat in like manner out of blood. If the blood get diseased, haemorrhoids may ensue in the nostril or at the anus, or the veins may become varicose. Blood, if it corrupt in the body, has a tendency to turn into pus, and pus may turn into a solid concretion.
Blood in the female differs from that in the male, for, supposing the male and female to be on a par as regards age and general health, the blood in the female is thicker and blacker than in the male; and with the female there is a comparative superabundance of it in the interior. Of all female animals the female in man is the most richly supplied with blood, and of all female animals the menstruous discharges are the most copious in woman. The blood of these discharges under disease turns into flux. Apart from the menstrual discharges, the female in the human species is less subject to diseases of the blood than the male.
Women are seldom afflicted with varicose veins, with haemorrhoids, or with bleeding at the nose, and, if any of these maladies supervene, the menses are imperfectly discharged.
Blood differs in quantity and appearance according to age; in very young animals it resembles ichor and is abundant, in the old it is thick and black and scarce, and in middle-aged animals its qualities are intermediate. In old animals the blood coagulates rapidly, even blood at the surface of the body; but this is not the case with young animals. Ichor is, in fact, nothing else but unconcocted blood: either blood that has not yet been concocted, or that has become fluid again.
We now proceed to discuss the properties of marrow; for this is one of the liquids found in certain sanguineous animals. All the natural liquids of the body are contained in vessels: as blood in veins, marrow in bones other moistures in membranous structures of the skin
In young animals the marrow is exceedingly sanguineous, but, as animals grow old, it becomes fatty in animals supplied with fat, and suet-like in animals with suet. All bones, however, are not supplied with marrow, but only the hollow ones, and not all of these. For of the bones in the lion some contain no marrow at all, and some are only scantily supplied therewith; and that accounts, as was previously observed, for the statement made by certain writers that the lion is marrowless. In the bones of pigs it is found in small quantities; and in the bones of certain animals of this species it is not found at all.
These liquids, then, are nearly always congenital in animals, but milk and sperm come at a later time. Of these latter, that which, whensoever it is present, is secreted in all cases ready-made, is the milk; sperm, on the other hand, is not secreted out in all cases, but in some only, as in the case of what are designated thori in fishes.
Whatever animals have milk, have it in their breasts. All animals have breasts that are internally and externally viviparous, as for instance all animals that have hair, as man and the horse; and the cetaceans, as the dolphin, the porpoise, and the whale-for these animals have breasts and are supplied with milk. Animals that are oviparous or only externally viviparous have neither breasts nor milk, as the fish and the bird.
All milk is composed of a watery serum called ‘whey’, and a consistent substance called curd (or cheese); and the thicker the milk, the more abundant the curd. The milk, then, of non-ambidentals coagulates, and that is why cheese is made of the milk of such animals under domestication; but the milk of ambidentals does not coagulate, nor their fat either, and the milk is thin and sweet. Now the camel’s milk is the thinnest, and that of the human species next after it, and that of the ass next again, but cow’s milk is the thickest. Milk does not coagulate under the influence of cold, but rather runs to whey; but under the influence of heat it coagulates and thickens. As a general rule milk only comes to animals in pregnancy. When the animal is pregnant milk is found, but for a while it is unfit for use, and then after an interval of usefulness it becomes unfit for use again. In the case of female animals not pregnant a small quantity of milk has been procured by the employment of special food, and cases have been actually known where women advanced in years on being submitted to the process of milking have produced milk, and in some cases have produced it in sufficient quantities to enable them to suckle an infant.
The people that live on and about Mount Oeta take such she-goats as decline the male and rub their udders hard with nettles to cause an irritation amounting to pain; hereupon they milk the animals, procuring at first a liquid resembling blood, then a liquid mixed with purulent matter, and eventually milk, as freely as from females submitting to the male.
As a general rule, milk is not found in the male of man or of any other animal, though from time to time it has been found in a male; for instance, once in Lemnos a he-goat was milked by its dugs (for it has, by the way, two dugs close to the penis), and was milked to such effect that cheese was made of the produce, and the same phenomenon was repeated in a male of its own begetting. Such occurrences, however, are regarded as supernatural and fraught with omen as to futurity, and in point of fact when the Lemnian owner of the animal inquired of the oracle, the god informed him that the portent foreshadowed the acquisition of a fortune. With some men, after puberty, milk can be produced by squeezing the breasts; cases have been known where on their being subjected to a prolonged milking process a considerable quantity of milk has been educed.
In milk there is a fatty element, which in clotted milk gets to resemble oil. Goat’s milk is mixed with sheep’s milk in Sicily, and wherever sheep’s milk is abundant. The best milk for clotting is not only that where the cheese is most abundant, but that also where the cheese is driest.
Now some animals produce not only enough milk to rear their young, but a superfluous amount for general use, for cheese-making and for storage. This is especially the case with the sheep and the goat, and next in degree with the cow. Mare’s milk, by the way, and milk of the she-ass are mixed in with Phrygian cheese. And there is more cheese in cow’s milk than in goat’s milk; for graziers tell us that from nine gallons of goat’s milk they can get nineteen cheeses at an obol apiece, and from the same amount of cow’s milk, thirty. Other animals give only enough of milk to rear their young withal, and no superfluous amount and none fitted for cheese-making, as is the case with all animals that have more than two breasts or dugs; for with none of such animals is milk produced in superabundance or used for the manufacture of cheese.
The juice of the fig and rennet are employed to curdle milk. The fig-juice is first squeezed out into wool; the wool is then washed and rinsed, and the rinsing put into a little milk, and if this be mixed with other milk it curdles Rennet is a kind of milk, for it is found in the stomach of the animal while it is yet suckling.
Rennet then consists of milk with an admixture of fire, which comes from the natural heat of the animal, as the milk is concocted. All ruminating animals produce rennet, and, of ambidentals, the hare. Rennet improves in quality the longer it is kept; and cow’s rennet, after being kept a good while, and also hare’s rennet, is good for diarrhoea, and the best of all rennet is that of the young deer.
In milk-producing animals the comparative amount of the yield varies with the size of the animal and the diversities of pasturage. For instance, there are in Phasis small cattle that in all cases give a copious supply of milk, and the large cows in Epirus yield each one daily some nine gallons of milk, and half of this from each pair of teats, and the milker has to stand erect, stooping forward a little, as otherwise, if he were seated, he would be unable to reach up to the teats. But, with the exception of the ass, all the quadrupeds in Epirus are of large size, and relatively, the cattle and the dogs are the largest. Now large animals require abundant pasture, and this country supplies just such pasturage, and also supplies diverse pasture grounds to suit the diverse seasons of the year. The cattle are particularly large, and likewise the sheep of the so-called Pyrrhic breed, the name being given in honour of King Pyrrhus.
Some pasture quenches milk, as Median grass or lucerne, and that especially in ruminants; other feeding renders it copious, as cytisus and vetch; only, by the way, cytisus in flower is not recommended, as it has burning properties, and vetch is not good for pregnant kine, as it causes increased difficulty in parturition. However, beasts that have access to good feeding, as they are benefited thereby in regard to pregnancy, so also being well nourished produce milk in plenty. Some of the leguminous plants bring milk in abundance, as for instance, a large feed of beans with the ewe, the common she-goat, the cow, and the small she-goat; for this feeding makes them drop their udders. And, by the way, the pointing of the udder to the ground before parturition is a sign of there being plenty of milk coming.
Milk remains for a long time in the female, if she be kept from the male and be properly fed, and, of quadrupeds, this is especially true of the ewe; for the ewe can be milked for eight months. As a general rule, ruminating animals give milk in abundance, and milk fitted for cheese manufacture. In the neighbourhood of Torone cows run dry for a few days before calving, and have milk all the rest of the time. In women, milk of a livid colour is better than white for nursing purposes; and swarthy women give healthier milk than fair ones. Milk that is richest in cheese is the most nutritious, but milk with a scanty supply of cheese is the more wholesome for children.
All sanguineous animals eject sperm. As to what, and how, it contributes to generation, these questions will be discussed in another treatise. Taking the size of his body into account, man emits more sperm than any other animal. In hairy-coated animals the sperm is sticky, but in other animals it is not so. It is white in all cases, and Herodotus is under a misapprehension when he states that the Aethiopians eject black sperm.
Sperm issues from the body white and consistent, if it be healthy, and after quitting the body becomes thin and black. In frosty weather it does not coagulate, but gets exceedingly thin and watery both in colour and consistency; but it coagulates and thickens under the influence of heat. If it be long in the womb before issuing out, it comes more than usually thick; and sometimes it comes out dry and compact. Sperm capable of impregnating or of fructification sinks in water; sperm incapable Of producing that result dissolves away. But there is no truth in what Ctesias has written about the sperm of the elephant.