The Works of Aristotle - Of Hermaphrodites.

Of Hermaphrodites.


How are hermaphrodites begotten?
There are seven cells in the womb, three on the right side, three on the left, and a seventh in the centre, into which the seed falls; an hermaphrodite is said to be begotten in this manner, because nature doth always tend to that which is best, therefore she doth always intend to beget the male, and not the female, because the female is only for the male's sake: therefore the male is sometimes begotten in all its principal parts; and yet through the evil disposition of the womb and object, and inequality of the seed when nature cannot perfect and end the male, she brings forth the female too. And therefore the natural philosopher says, an hermaphrodite is impotent in the privy parts of man, as appears by experience.

Why doth not nature dispose in him two secret parts of man, or two of a woman?
Because nature should then make one of them in vain; but that is against the philosophers, who say that God and nature make nothing in vain.

Is an hermaphrodite accounted a man or woman?
It is to be considered in which member he is fitted for the act of copulation; if he be fittest in the woman's then it is a woman; if in the man's he is a man.

Should he be baptised in the name of a man or a woman?
In the name of a man, because names are given ad placitum.

Shall he stand in judgment in the name of a man or woman?
According to the law he should first swear, before he be admitted to judgment, which secret part he can use, and so is to be admitted according to the use and power of that part.


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