Saturday, 14 August 2010

Arostotle, Aristotle was a ****** for the bottle

Monty Python has a rhyme about the classical authors and alcohol including the above line.

I've just been reading a small section of Aristotle's Book Of Problems (translation for and by The London Press) published as part of his Masterpiece some time in the Victorian era. It causes a mix of interest, entertainment and incredulity (that men should have thought like that) and is a fascinating insight into the way men really had not the least idea of how biology worked. In some ways it's not so different today, except that we know where we can find people who will understand our bodies and what medication is appropriate.

The Book Of Problems deals with such questions as:

Why are men's heads hairy? The brain is purged in 3 different ways; of superfulous watery humours of the eyes, of cholers by the nose and of phlegm by the hair; which is the opinion of the best physicians. i.e. Your hair is dried snot!

Why are not women bald? Because they are cold and moist, which are the cause that hair remaineth; for moistness doth give nutriment to the hair and nutriment doth bind the pores Women are cold and wet?

Why have women headache oftener than men? By reason of their monthly terms, which men are not troubled with, and by which a moist, unclean and venomous fumeis produced, that seeks passage upwards, and so causes the headache. Nothing to do with a lack of contraception then?

And the gem.

Why has a man two eyes, two ears and but one mouth? Because a man should speak but little, and hear and see much. And by hearing and the light we see the difference of things I can imagine everyone from parents through church leaders to government officials thanking Aristotle now for those words of wisdom.

Amazing what a little classical education can teach you!

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