by Aristotle

translated by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson



As to Man's growth, first within his mother's womb and afterward to old age, the course of nature, in so far as man is specially concerned, is after the following manner. And, by the way, the difference of male and female and of their respective organs has been dealt with heretofore. When twice seven years old, in the most of cases, the male begins to engender seed; and at the same time hair appears upon the pubes, in like manner, so Alcmaeon of Croton remarks, as plants first blossom and then seed. About the same time, the voice begins to alter, getting harsher and more uneven, neither shrill as formerly nor deep as afterward, nor yet of any even tone, but like an instrument whose strings are frayed and out of tune; and it is called, by way of by-word, the bleat of the billy-goat. Now this breaking of the voice is the more apparent in those who are making trial of their sexual powers; for in those who are prone to lustfulness the voice turns into the voice of a man, but not so in the continent. For if a lad strive diligently to hinder his voice from breaking, as some do of those who devote themselves to music, the voice lasts a long while unbroken and may even persist with little change. And the breasts swell and likewise the private parts, altering in size and shape. (And by the way, at this time of life those who try by friction to provoke emission of seed are apt to experience pain as well as voluptuous sensations.) At the same age in the female, the breasts swell and the so-called catamenia commence to flow; and this fluid resembles fresh blood. There is another discharge, a white one, by the way, which occurs in girls even at a very early age, more especially if their diet be largely of a fluid nature; and this malady causes arrest of growth and loss of flesh. In the majority of cases the catamenia are noticed by the time the breasts have grown to the height of two fingers' breadth. In girls, too, about this time the voice changes to a deeper note; for while in general the woman's voice is higher than the man's, so also the voices of girls are pitched in a higher key than the elder women's, just as the boy's are higher than the men's; and the girls' voices are shriller than the boys', and a maid's flute is tuned sharper than a lad's.

Girls of this age have much need of surveillance. For then in particular they feel a natural impulse to make usage of the sexual faculties that are developing in them; so that unless they guard against any further impulse beyond that inevitable one which their bodily development of itself supplies, even in the case of those who abstain altogether from passionate indulgence, they contract habits which are apt to continue into later life. For girls who give way to wantonness grow more and more wanton; and the same is true of boys, unless they be safeguarded from one temptation and another; for the passages become dilated and set up a local flux or running, and besides this the recollection of pleasure associated with former indulgence creates a longing for its repetition.

Some men are congenitally impotent owing to structural defect; and in like manner women also may suffer from congenital incapacity. Both men and women are liable to constitutional change, growing healthier or more sickly, or altering in the way of leanness, stoutness, and vigour; thus, after puberty some lads who were thin before grow stout and healthy, and the converse also happens; and the same is equally true of girls. For when in boy or girl the body is loaded with superfluous matter, then, when such superfluities are got rid of in the spermatic or catamenial discharge, their bodies improve in health and condition owing to the removal of what had acted as an impediment to health and proper nutrition; but in such as are of opposite habit their bodies become emaciated and out of health, for then the spermatic discharge in the one case and the catamenial flow in the other take place at the cost of natural healthy conditions.

Furthermore, in the case of maidens the condition of the breasts is diverse in different individuals, for they are sometimes quite big and sometimes little; and as a general rule their size depends on whether or not the body was burthened in childhood with superfluous material. For when the signs of womanhood are nigh but not come, the more there be of moisture the more will it cause the breasts to swell, even to the bursting point; and the result is that the breasts remain during after-life of the bulk that they then acquired. And among men, the breasts grow more conspicuous and more like to those of women, both in young men and old, when the individual temperament is moist and sleek and the reverse of sinewy, and all the more among the dark-complexioned than the fair.

At the outset and till the age of one and twenty the spermatic discharge is devoid of fecundity; afterwards it becomes fertile, but young men and women produce undersized and imperfect progeny, as is the case also with the common run of animals. Young women conceive readily, but, having conceived, their labour in childbed is apt to be difficult.

The frame fails of reaching its full development and ages quickly in men of intemperate lusts and in women who become mothers of many children; for it appears to be the case that growth ceases when the woman has given birth to three children. Women of a lascivious disposition grow more sedate and virtuous after they have borne several children.

After the age of twenty-one women are fully ripe for child-bearing, but men go on increasing in vigour. When the spermatic fluid is of a thin consistency it is infertile; when granular it is fertile and likely to produce male children, but when thin and unclotted it is apt to produce female offspring. And it is about this time of life that in men the beard makes its appearance.


The onset of the catamenia in women takes place towards the end of the month; and on this account the wiseacres assert that the moon is feminine, because the discharge in women and the waning of the moon happen at one and the same time, and after the wane and the discharge both one and the other grow whole again. (In some women the catamenia occur regularly but sparsely every month, and more abundantly every third month.) With those in whom the ailment lasts but a little while, two days or three, recovery is easy; but where the duration is longer, the ailment is more troublesome. For women are ailing during these days; and sometimes the discharge is sudden and sometimes gradual, but in all cases alike there is bodily distress until the attack be over. In many cases at the commencement of the attack, when the discharge is about to appear, there occur spasms and rumbling noises within the womb until such time as the discharge manifests itself.

Under natural conditions it is after recovery from these symptoms that conception takes place in women, and women in whom the signs do not manifest themselves for the most part remain childless. But the rule is not without exception, for some conceive in spite of the absence of these symptoms; and these are cases in which a secretion accumulates, not in such a way as actually to issue forth, but in amount equal to the residuum left in the case of child-bearing women after the normal discharge has taken place. And some conceive while the signs are on but not afterwards, those namely in whom the womb closes up immediately after the discharge. In some cases the menses persist during pregnancy up to the very last; but the result in these cases is that the offspring are poor, and either fail to survive or grow up weakly.

In many cases, owing to excessive desire, arising either from youthful impetuosity or from lengthened abstinence, prolapsion of the womb takes place and the catamenia appear repeatedly, thrice in the month, until conception occurs; and then the womb withdraws upwards again to its proper place...

As we have remarked above, the discharge is wont to be more abundant in women than in the females of any other animals. In creatures that do not bring forth their young alive nothing of the sort manifests itself, this particular superfluity being converted into bodily substance; and by the way, in such animals the females are sometimes larger than the males; and moreover, the material is used up sometimes for scutes and sometimes for scales, and sometimes for the abundant covering of feathers, whereas in the vivipara possessed of limbs it is turned into hair and into bodily substance (for man alone among them is smooth-skinned), and into urine, for this excretion is in the majority of such animals thick and copious. Only in the case of women is the superfluity turned into a discharge instead of being utilized in these other ways.

There is something similar to be remarked of men: for in proportion to his size man emits more seminal fluid than any other animal (for which reason man is the smoothest of animals), especially such men as are of a moist habit and not over corpulent, and fair men in greater degree than dark. It is likewise with women; for in the stout, great part of the excretion goes to nourish the body. In the act of intercourse, women of a fair complexion discharge a more plentiful secretion than the dark; and furthermore, a watery and pungent diet conduces to this phenomenon.


It is a sign of conception in women when the place is dry immediately after intercourse. If the lips of the orifice be smooth conception is difficult, for the matter slips off; and if they be thick it is also difficult. But if on digital examination the lips feel somewhat rough and adherent, and if they be likewise thin, then the chances are in favour of conception. Accordingly, if conception be desired, we must bring the parts into such a condition as we have just described; but if on the contrary we want to avoid conception then we must bring about a contrary disposition. Wherefore, since if the parts be smooth conception is prevented, some anoint that part of the womb on which the seed falls with oil of cedar, or with ointment of lead or with frankincense, commingled with olive oil. If the seed remain within for seven days then it is certain that conception has taken place; for it is during that period that what is known as effluxion takes place.

In most cases the menstrual discharge recurs for some time after conception has taken place, its duration being mostly thirty days in the case of a female and about forty days in the case of a male child. After parturition also it is common for the discharge to be withheld for an equal number of days, but not in all cases with equal exactitude. After conception, and when the above-mentioned days are past, the discharge no longer takes its natural course but finds its way to the breasts and turns to milk. The first appearance of milk in the breasts is scant in quantity and so to speak cobwebby or interspersed with little threads. And when conception has taken place, there is apt to be a sort of feeling in the region of the flanks, which in some cases quickly swell up a little, especially in thin persons, and also in the groin.

In the case of male children the first movement usually occurs on the right-hand side of the womb and about the fortieth day, but if the child be a female then on the left-hand side and about the ninetieth day. However, we must by no means assume this to be an accurate statement of fact, for there are many exceptions, in which the movement is manifested on the right-hand side though a female child be coming, and on the left-hand side though the infant be a male. And in short, these and all suchlike phenomena are usually subject to differences that may be summed up as differences of degree.

About this period the embryo begins to resolve into distinct parts, it having hitherto consisted of a fleshlike substance without distinction of parts.

What is called effluxion is a destruction of the embryo within the first week, while abortion occurs up to the fortieth day; and the greater number of such embryos as perish do so within the space of these forty days.

In the case of a male embryo aborted at the fortieth day, if it be placed in cold water it holds together in a sort of membrane, but if it be placed in any other fluid it dissolves and disappears. If the membrane be pulled to bits the embryo is revealed, as big as one of the large kind of ants; and all the limbs are plain to see, including the penis, and the eyes also, which as in other animals are of great size. But the female embryo, if it suffer abortion during the first three months, is as a rule found to be undifferentiated; if however it reach the fourth month it comes to be subdivided and quickly attains further differentiation. In short, while within the womb, the female infant accomplishes the whole development of its parts more slowly than the male, and more frequently than the man-child takes ten months to come to perfection. But after birth, the females pass more quickly than the males through youth and maturity and age; and this is especially true of those that bear many children, as indeed I have already said.


When the womb has conceived the seed, straightway in the majority of cases it closes up until seven months are fulfilled; but in the eighth month it opens, and the embryo, if it be fertile, descends in the eighth month. But such embryos as are not fertile but are devoid of breath at eight months old, their mothers do not bring into the world by parturition at eight months, neither does the embryo descend within the womb at that period nor does the womb open. And it is a sign that the embryo is not capable of life if it be formed without the above-named circumstances taking place.

After conception women are prone to a feeling of heaviness in all parts of their bodies, and for instance they experience a sensation of darkness in front of the eyes and suffer also from headache. These symptoms appear sooner or later, sometimes as early as the tenth day, according as the patient be more or less burthened with superfluous humours. Nausea also and sickness affect the most of women, and especially such as those that we have just now mentioned, after the menstrual discharge has ceased and before it is yet turned in the direction of the breasts.

Moreover, some women suffer most at the beginning of their pregnancy and some at a later period when the embryo has had time to grow; and in some women it is a common occurrence to suffer from strangury towards the end of their time. As a general rule women who are pregnant of a male child escape comparatively easily and retain a comparatively healthy look, but it is otherwise with those whose infant is a female; for these latter look as a rule paler and suffer more pain, and in many cases they are subject to swellings of the legs and eruptions on the body. Nevertheless the rule is subject to exceptions.

Women in pregnancy are a prey to all sorts of longings and to rapid changes of mood, and some folks call this the 'ivy-sickness'; and with the mothers of female infants the longings are more acute, and they are less contented when they have got what they desired.

In a certain few cases the patient feels unusually well during pregnancy. The worst time of all is just when the child's hair is beginning to grow.

In pregnant women their own natural hair is inclined to grow thin and fall out, but on the other hand hair tends to grow on parts of the body where it was not wont to be. As a general rule, a man-child is more prone to movement within its mother's womb than a female child, and it is usually born sooner. And labour in the case of female children is apt to be protracted and sluggish, while in the case of male children it is acute and by a long way more difficult. Women who have connexion with their husbands shortly before childbirth are delivered all the more quickly. Occasionally women seem to be in the pains of labour though labour has not in fact commenced, what seemed like the commencement of labour being really the result of the foetus turning its head.

Now all other animals bring the time of pregnancy to an end in a uniform way; in other words, one single term of pregnancy is defined for each of them. But in the case of mankind alone of all animals the times are diverse; for pregnancy may be of seven months' duration, or of eight months or of nine, and still more commonly of ten months, while some few women go even into the eleventh month.

Children that come into the world before seven months can under no circumstances survive. The seven-months' children are the earliest that are capable of life, and most of them are weakly-for which reason, by the way, it is customary to swaddle them in wool,-and many of them are born with some of the orifices of the body imperforate, for instance the ears or the nostrils. But as they get bigger they become more perfectly developed, and many of them grow up.

In Egypt, and in some other places where the women are fruitful and are wont to bear and bring forth many children without difficulty, and where the children when born are capable of living even if they be born subject to deformity, in these places the eight-months' children live and are brought up, but in Greece it is only a few of them that survive while most perish. And this being the general experience, when such a child does happen to survive the mother is apt to think that it was not an eight months' child after all, but that she had conceived at an earlier period without being aware of it.

Women suffer most pain about the fourth and the eighth months, and if the foetus perishes in the fourth or in the eighth month the mother also succumbs as a general rule; so that not only do the eight-months' children not live, but when they die their mothers are in great danger of their own lives. In like manner children that are apparently born at a later term than eleven months are held to be in doubtful case; inasmuch as with them also the beginning of conception may have escaped the notice of the mother. What I mean to say is that often the womb gets filled with wind, and then when at a later period connexion and conception take place, they think that the former circumstance was the beginning of conception from the similarity of the symptoms that they experienced.

Such then are the differences between mankind and other animals in regard to the many various modes of completion of the term of pregnancy. Furthermore, some animals produce one and some produce many at a birth, but the human species does sometimes the one and sometimes the other. As a general rule and among most nations the women bear one child a birth; but frequently and in many lands they bear twins, as for instance in Egypt especially. Sometimes women bring forth three and even four children, and especially in certain parts of the world, as has already been stated. The largest number ever brought forth is five, and such an occurrence has been witnessed on several occasions. There was once upon a time a certain women who had twenty children at four births; each time she had five, and most of them grew up.

Now among other animals, if a pair of twins happen to be male and female they have as good a chance of surviving as though both had been males or both females; but among mankind very few twins survive if one happen to be a boy and the other a girl.

Of all animals the woman and the mare are most inclined to receive the commerce of the male during pregnancy; while all other animals when they are pregnant avoid the male, save those in which the phenomenon of superfoetation occurs, such as the hare. Unlike that animal, the mare after once conceiving cannot be rendered pregnant again, but brings forth one foal only, at least as a general rule; in the human species cases of superfoetation are rare, but they do happen now and then.

An embryo conceived some considerable time after a previous conception does not come to perfection, but gives rise to pain and causes the destruction of the earlier embryo; and, by the way, a case has been known to occur where owing to this destructive influence no less than twelve embryos conceived by superfoetation have been discharged. But if the second conception take place at a short interval, then the mother bears that which was later conceived, and brings forth the two children like actual twins, as happened, according to the legend, in the case of Iphicles and Hercules. The following also is a striking example: a certain woman, having committed adultery, brought forth the one child resembling her husband and the other resembling the adulterous lover.

The case has also occurred where a woman, being pregnant of twins, has subsequently conceived a third child; and in course of time she brought forth the twins perfect and at full term, but the third a five-months' child; and this last died there and then. And in another case it happened that the woman was first delivered of a seven-months' child, and then of two which were of full term; and of these the first died and the other two survived.

Some also have been known to conceive while about to miscarry, and they have lost the one child and been delivered of the other.

If women while going with child cohabit after the eighth month the child is in most cases born covered over with a slimy fluid. Often also the child is found to be replete with food of which the mother had partaken.


When women have partaken of salt in overabundance their children are apt to be born destitute of nails.

Milk that is produced earlier than the seventh month is unfit for use; but as soon as the child is fit to live the milk is fit to use. The first of the milk is saltish, as it is likewise with sheep. Most women are sensibly affected by wine during pregnancy, for if they partake of it they grow relaxed and debilitated.

The beginning of child-bearing in women and of the capacity to procreate in men, and the cessation of these functions in both cases, coincide in the one case with the emission of seed and in the other with the discharge of the catamenia: with this qualification that there is a lack of fertility at the commencement of these symptoms, and again towards their close when the emissions become scanty and weak. The age at which the sexual powers begin has been related already. As for their end, the menstrual discharges ceases in most women about their fortieth year; but with those in whom it goes on longer it lasts even to the fiftieth year, and women of that age have been known to bear children. But beyond that age there is no case on record.


Men in most cases continue to be sexually competent until they are sixty years old, and if that limit be overpassed then until seventy years; and men have been actually known to procreate children at seventy years of age. With many men and many women it so happens that they are unable to produce children to one another, while they are able to do so in union with other individuals. The same thing happens with regard to the production of male and female offspring; for sometimes men and women in union with one another produce male children or female, as the case may be, but children of the opposite sex when otherwise mated. And they are apt to change in this respect with advancing age: for sometimes a husband and wife while they are young produce female children and in later life male children; and in other cases the very contrary occurs. And just the same thing is true in regard to the generative faculty: for some while young are childless, but have children when they grow older; and some have children to begin with, and later on no more.

There are certain women who conceive with difficulty, but if they do conceive, bring the child to maturity; while others again conceive readily, but are unable to bring the child to birth. Furthermore, some men and some women produce female offspring and some male, as for instance in the story of Hercules, who among all his two and seventy children is said to have begotten but one girl. Those women who are unable to conceive, save with the help of medical treatment or some other adventitious circumstance, are as a general rule apt to bear female children rather than male.

It is a common thing with men to be at first sexually competent and afterwards impotent, and then again to revert to their former powers.

From deformed parents come deformed children, lame from lame and blind from blind, and, speaking generally, children often inherit anything that is peculiar in their parents and are born with similar marks, such as pimples or scars. Such things have been known to be handed down through three generations; for instance, a certain man had a mark on his arm which his son did not possess, but his grandson had it in the same spot though not very distinct.

Such cases, however, are few; for the children of cripples are mostly sound, and there is no hard and fast rule regarding them. While children mostly resemble their parents or their ancestors, it sometimes happens that no such resemblance is to be traced. But parents may pass on resemblance after several generations, as in the case of the woman in Elis, who committed adultery with a negro; in this case it was not the woman's own daughter but the daughter's child that was a blackamoor.

As a rule the daughters have a tendency to take after the mother, and the boys after the father; but sometimes it is the other way, the boys taking after the mother and the girls after the father. And they may resemble both parents in particular features.

There have been known cases of twins that had no resemblance to one another, but they are alike as a general rule. There was once upon a time a woman who had intercourse with her husband a week after giving birth to a child and she conceived and bore a second child as like the first as any twin. Some women have a tendency to produce children that take after themselves, and others children that take after the husband; and this latter case is like that of the celebrated mare in Pharsalus, that got the name of the Honest Wife.


In the emission of sperm there is a preliminary discharge of air, and the outflow is manifestly caused by a blast of air; for nothing is cast to a distance save by pneumatic pressure. After the seed reaches the womb and remains there for a while, a membrane forms around it; for when it happens to escape before it is distinctly formed, it looks like an egg enveloped in its membrane after removal of the eggshell; and the membrane is full of veins.

All animals whatsoever, whether they fly or swim or walk upon dry land, whether they bring forth their young alive or in the egg, develop in the same way: save only that some have the navel attached to the womb, namely the viviparous animals, and some have it attached to the egg, and some to both parts alike, as in a certain sort of fishes. And in some cases membranous envelopes surround the egg, and in other cases the chorion surrounds it. And first of all the animal develops within the innermost envelope, and then another membrane appears around the former one, which latter is for the most part attached to the womb, but is in part separated from it and contains fluid. In between is a watery or sanguineous fluid, which the women folk call the forewaters.


All animals, or all such as have a navel, grow by the navel. And the navel is attached to the cotyledon in all such as possess cotyledons, and to the womb itself by a vein in all such as have the womb smooth. And as regards their shape within the womb, the four-footed animals all lie stretched out, and the footless animals lie on their sides, as for instance fishes; but two-legged animals lie in a bent position, as for instance birds; and human embryos lie bent, with nose between the knees and eyes upon the knees, and the ears free at the sides.

All animals alike have the head upwards to begin with; but as they grow and approach the term of egress from the womb they turn downwards, and birth in the natural course of things takes place in all animals head foremost; but in abnormal cases it may take place in a bent position, or feet foremost.

The young of quadrupeds when they are near their full time contain excrements, both liquid and in the form of solid lumps, the latter in the lower part of the bowel and the urine in the bladder.

In those animals that have cotyledons in the womb the cotyledons grow less as the embryo grows bigger, and at length they disappear altogether. The navel-string is a sheath wrapped about blood-vessels which have their origin in the womb, from the cotyledons in those animals which possess them and from a blood-vessel in those which do not. In the larger animals, such as the embryos of oxen, the vessels are four in number, and in smaller animals two; in the very little ones, such as fowls, one vessel only.

Of the four vessels that run into the embryo, two pass through the liver where the so-called gates or 'portae' are, running in the direction of the great vein, and the other two run in the direction of the aorta towards the point where it divides and becomes two vessels instead of one. Around each pair of blood-vessels are membranes, and surrounding these membranes is the navel-string itself, after the manner of a sheath. And as the embryo grows, the veins themselves tend more and more to dwindle in size. And also as the embryo matures it comes down into the hollow of the womb and is observed to move here, and sometimes rolls over in the vicinity of the groin.


When women are in labour, their pains determine towards many divers parts of the body, and in most cases to one or other of the thighs. Those are the quickest to be delivered who experience severe pains in the region of the belly; and parturition is difficult in those who begin by suffering pain in the loins, and speedy when the pain is abdominal. If the child about to be born be a male, the preliminary flood is watery and pale in colour, but if a girl it is tinged with blood, though still watery. In some cases of labour these latter phenomena do not occur, either one way or the other.

In other animals parturition is unaccompanied by pain, and the dam is plainly seen to suffer but moderate inconvenience. In women, however, the pains are more severe, and this is especially the case in persons of sedentary habits, and in those who are weak-chested and short of breath. Labour is apt to be especially difficult if during the process the woman while exerting force with her breath fails to hold it in.

First of all, when the embryo starts to move and the membranes burst, there issues forth the watery flood; then afterwards comes the embryo, while the womb everts and the afterbirth comes out from within.


The cutting of the navel-string, which is the nurse's duty, is a matter calling for no little care and skill. For not only in cases of difficult labour must she be able to render assistance with skilful hand, but she must also have her wits about her in all contingencies, and especially in the operation of tying the cord. For if the afterbirth have come away, the navel is ligatured off from the afterbirth with a woollen thread and is then cut above the ligature; and at the place where it has been tied it heals up, and the remaining portion drops off. (If the ligature come loose the child dies from loss of blood.) But if the afterbirth has not yet come away, but remains after the child itself is extruded, it is cut away within after the ligaturing of the cord.

It often happens that the child appears to have been born dead when it is merely weak, and when before the umbilical cord has been ligatured, the blood has run out into the cord and its surroundings. But experienced midwives have been known to squeeze back the blood into the child's body from the cord, and immediately the child that a moment before was bloodless came back to life again.

It is the natural rule, as we have mentioned above, for all animals to come into the world head foremost, and children, moreover, have their hands stretched out by their sides. And the child gives a cry and puts its hands up to its mouth as soon as it issues forth.

Moreover the child voids excrement sometimes at once, sometimes a little later, but in all cases during the first day; and this excrement is unduly copious in comparison with the size of the child; it is what the midwives call the meconium or 'poppy-juice'. In colour it resembles blood, extremely dark and pitch-like, but later on it becomes milky, for the child takes at once to the breast. Before birth the child makes no sound, even though in difficult labour it put forth its head while the rest of the body remains within.

In cases where flooding takes place rather before its time, it is apt to be followed by difficult parturition. But if discharge take place after birth in small quantity, and in cases where it only takes place at the beginning and does not continue till the fortieth day, then in such cases women make a better recovery and are the sooner ready to conceive again.

Until the child is forty days old it neither laughs nor weeps during waking hours, but of nights it sometimes does both; and for the most part it does not even notice being tickled, but passes most of its time in sleep. As it keeps on growing, it gets more and more wakeful; and moreover it shows signs of dreaming, though it is long afterwards before it remembers what it dreams.

In other animals there is no contrasting difference between one bone and another, but all are properly formed; but in children the front part of the head is soft and late of ossifying. And by the way, some animals are born with teeth, but children begin to cut their teeth in the seventh month; and the front teeth are the first to come through, sometimes the upper and sometimes the lower ones. And the warmer the nurses' milk so much the quicker are the children's teeth to come.


After parturition and the cleasing flood the milk comes in plenty, and in some women it flows not only from the nipples but at divers parts of the breasts, and in some cases even from the armpits. And for some time afterwards there continue to be certain indurated parts of the breast called strangalides, or 'knots', which occur when it so happens that the moisture is not concocted, or when it finds no outlet but accumulates within. For the whole breast is so spongy that if a woman in drinking happen to swallow a hair, she gets a pain in her breast, which ailment is called 'trichia'; and the pain lasts till the hair either find its own way out or be sucked out with the milk. Women continue to have milk until their next conception; and then the milk stops coming and goes dry, alike in the human species and in the quadrupedal vivipara. So long as there is a flow of milk the menstrual purgations do not take place, at least as a general rule, though the discharge has been known to occur during the period of suckling. For, speaking generally, a determination of moisture does not take place at one and the same time in several directions; as for instance the menstrual purgations tend to be scanty in persons suffering from haemorrhoids. And in some women the like happens owing to their suffering from varices, when the fluids issue from the pelvic region before entering into the womb. And patients who during suppression of the menses happen to vomit blood are no whit the worse.


Children are very commonly subject to convulsions, more especially such of them as are more than ordinarily well-nourished on rich or unusually plentiful milk from a stout nurse. Wine is bad for infants, in that it tends to excite this malady, and red wine is worse than white, especially when taken undiluted; and most things that tend to induce flatulency are also bad, and constipation too is prejudicial. The majority of deaths in infancy occur before the child is a week old, hence it is customary to name the child at that age, from a belief that it has now a better chance of survival. This malady is worst at the full of the moon; and by the way, it is a dangerous symptom when the spasms begin in the child's back.