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Meteorology By Aristotle

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Author Topic: Meteorology By Aristotle  (Read 1587 times)
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« Reply #105 on: August 31, 2009, 12:13:17 am »

Gold, then, and silver and copper and tin and lead and glass and many
nameless stone are of water: for they are all melted by heat. Of water,
too, are some wines and urine and vinegar and lye and whey and serum:
for they are all congealed by cold. In iron, horn, nails, bones, sinews,
wood, hair, leaves, bark, earth preponderates. So, too, in amber,
myrrh, frankincense, and all the substances called 'tears', and stalactites,
and fruits, such as leguminous plants and corn. For things of this
kind are, to a greater or less degree, of earth. For of all these
bodies some admit of softening by heat, the rest give off fumes and
are formed by refrigeration. So again in natron, salt, and those kinds
of stones that are not formed by refrigeration and cannot be melted.
Blood, on the other hand, and semen, are made up of earth and water
and air. If the blood contains fibres, earth preponderates in it:
consequently its solidifies by refrigeration and is melted by liquids;
if not, it is of water and therefore does not solidify. Semen solidifies
by refrigeration, its moisture leaving it together with its heat.

Part 11

We must investigate in the light of the results we have arrived at
what solid or liquid bodies are hot and what cold.

Bodies consisting of water are commonly cold, unless (like lye, urine,
wine) they contain foreign heat. Bodies consisting of earth, on the
other hand, are commonly hot because heat was active in forming them:
for instance lime and ashes.

We must recognize that cold is in a sense the matter of bodies. For
the dry and the moist are matter (being passive) and earth and water
are the elements that primarily embody them, and they are characterized
by cold. Consequently cold must predominate in every body that consists
of one or other of the elements simply, unless such a body contains
foreign heat as water does when it boils or when it has been strained
through ashes. This latter, too, has acquired heat from the ashes,
for everything that has been burnt contains more or less heat. This
explains the generation of animals in putrefying bodies: the putrefying
body contains the heat which destroyed its proper heat.

Bodies made up of earth and water are hot, for most of them derive
their existence from concoction and heat, though some, like the waste
products of the body, are products of putrefaction. Thus blood, semen,
marrow, figjuice, and all things of the kinds are hot as long as they
are in their natural state, but when they perish and fall away from
that state they are so no longer. For what is left of them is their
matter and that is earth and water. Hence both views are held about
them, some people maintaining them to be cold and others to be warm;
for they are observed to be hot when they are in their natural state,
but to solidify when they have fallen away from it. That, then, is
the case of mixed bodies. However, the distinction we laid down holds
good: if its matter is predominantly water a body is cold (water being
the complete opposite of fire), but if earth or air it tends to be

It sometimes happens that the coldest bodies can be raised to the
highest temperature by foreign heat; for the most solid and the hardest
bodies are coldest when deprived of heat and most burning after exposure
to fire: thus water is more burning than smoke and stone than water.

Part 12

Having explained all this we must describe the nature of flesh, bone,
and the other homogeneous bodies severally.
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