The Works of Aristotle - Of the Neck.

Of the Neck.

Why hath a living creature a neck?
Because the neck is the supporter of the head, as Aristotle teacheth; and therefore the neck is the middle between the head and the body, to the intent that by it, and by its sinews, as by certain means and ways, motion and sense of the body might be conveyed throughout all the body; and that by means of the neck, as it were by a distance, the heart, which is very hot, might be separated from the brain.

Why do some beasts want necks, as Serpents and fishes?
Because such beasts want a heart, and therefore they want that distance which we have spoken of; or else we answer, they have a neck in some inward part of them, but it is not distinguished outwardly from the heart to the head.

Why is the neck full of bones and joints?
Because it may bear and sustain the head the stronger; also because the backbone is joined to the brain in the neck, and from thence it receives marrow, which is of the substance of the brain.

Why have some beasts long necks, as cranes, storks, and such like?
Because such beasts do seek their living in the bottom of the water, and therefore have such necks; and some beasts have short necks; as sparrows, hawks, etc., because such are ravenous beasts, and therefore for strength have short necks; as appeareth in the ox, which has a short neck, and therefore strong.

Why is thee neck hollow, and especially before about the tongue?

Because there are two passages, whereof the one doth carry the meat into the nutritive instrument, as to the stomach and liver, and is called of the Greeks, Oesophagus; and the other is the windpipe.

Why is the artery made with rings and circles?
The better to bow and give a good sounding again.

Why doth a chicken move a good space after his head is cut off, and a man beheaded never stirreth?
Because chickens and such like have straight sinews and arteries, and therefore the spirit of moving continueth long after the head is off; but men and many beasts have long and large sinews and arteries, and therefore the moving spirits do quickly depart from them, and so by consequence cannot move their bodies.


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