|156156. Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:24 am
|Q: In Aristotle’s Masterpiece, Aristotle wrote that “Erection is chiefly caused by scuraum, eringoes, cresses, crymon, parsnips, artichokes, turnips, asparagus, candied ginger, acorns bruised to powder and drank in muscadel, scallion, sea shell fish.’
Apart from his advice, can you tell me what else is suspect about Aristotle’s Masterpiece?
A: The book wasn’t written by Aristotle, although it claimed to have been.
Aristotle’s Masterpiece first appeared in England in the 1680s as one of the world's first guides to human reproduction. Aristotle’s name was used to add weight to the work by claiming it had ancient sources. The true author is unknown.
The frontispiece of most editions shows a hairy woman and child by the desk of a scholar, most likely projecting thoughts of the time about the causes of birth defects.
The book was immensely popular both in the UK and United States from the seventeenth century and was read (illicitly) into the twentieth century in many editions, with many modifications. Such was its bestselling status that it outsold all other books on the topic combined.
It was one of the first records that emphasize the importance of the clitoris and the sexual responsiveness of women, a view which changed into the nineteenth century.
In addition to misleading advice on how to achieve conception, and poor advice on childrearing, there is plenty of astrology, palmistry and physiognomy: Advice includes "But he whose nostrils are great and wide, is usually well-hung and lustful..."
|ON pregnacy: top the urine of the woman close in a glass or bottle three days, at the expiration of which time strain it through a linen rag; if you perceive small living creatures in it, you may instantly conclude that she hath conceived |
|Why is every living thing dull after copulation??By reason the act is filthy and unclean; and so every living creature abhors it; when men do think upon it they are ashamed and sad. |
|Why is immoderate carnal copulation hurtful??Because it destroys the sight, drys the body, and impairs the brain; often causes fevers, as Avicen and experience show; it shortens life too, as is evident in the sparrow, which, by reason of it often coupling, lives but three years. |
|Why has not a man a tail like a beast??Because a man is a noble creature, whose property is to sit; so a beast cannot that hath a tail.