The Works of Aristotle - Of the Shoulders and Arms.

Of the Shoulders and Arms.

Why hath a man shoulders and arms?
To give and carry burdens, according to Aristotle.

Why are his arms round?
For the swifter and speedier work, because that figure is fittest to move.

Why are his arms thick?
Because they should be strong to lift and bear burdens, or thrust and give a strong blow: so their bones are thick, because they contain much marrow, for they would be easily corrupted and marred; but marrow cannot so well be contained in small bones

as in great.

Why do such as are diseased and in grief uncover and cover their arms, and such also as are in agony?
Because such are near unto death; and it is a sign of death by reason of great grief which causeth that uncovering, as Hippocrates doth teach, lib. Prognost.

Why do the arms become small and slender in some sickness, as in madmen, and such as are sick of the dropsy?
Because all the parts of the body do suffer the one with the other, and therefore one member being in grief, all the humours do concur and run thither to give succour and help to the aforesaid grief. For when the head doth ache, all humours of the arms doth run into the head, and therefore the arms become small and slender, because they want their proper nourishment.

Why have brute beasts no arms?
Their fore-feet are instead of arms, and in their place; or else we may answer more fitly, because all beasts have some part for their defence and to fight with, as the wolf his feet, the cow her horns, the horse his hinder feet, birds their beak and wings, but only man hath his arms.

 

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