Aristotle, On Breath

LCL 288: 486-487

Go To Section
Go To Section



481 aI. Τίς ἡ τοῦ ἐμφύτου πνεύματος διαμονή, καὶ τίς ἡ αὔξησις; ὁρῶμεν γὰρ ὅτι πλέον καὶ ἰσχυρότερον γίνεται καὶ καθ᾿ ἡλικίας μεταβολὴν καὶ κατὰ διάθεσιν σώματος. ἢ ὡς τἆλλα μέρη, προσγινομένου 5τινός;1 προσγίνεται δὲ τροφὴ τοῖς ἐμψύχοις, ὥστε ταύτην σκεπτέον ποία τε καὶ πόθεν. δύο δὴ τρόποι δι᾿ ὧν γίνεται, ἢ διὰ τῆς ἀναπνοῆς ἢ διὰ τῆς κατὰ τὴν τῆς τροφῆς προσφορὰν πέψεως, καθάπερ τοῖς ἄλλοις. τούτων ἴσως οὐχ ἧττον ἂν2 δόξειεν διὰ τῆς τροφῆς· σῶμα γὰρ ὑπὸ σώματος 10τρέφεται, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα σῶμα. τίς οὖν ὁ τρόπος; ἢ δῆλον ὡς ἐκ τῆς φλεβὸς ὁλκῇ τινὶ καὶ πέψει· τὸ γὰρ αἷμα ἡ ἐσχάτη τροφὴ καὶ ἡ αὐτὴ πᾶσιν. ὥσπερ οὖν [καὶ]3 εἰς τὸ ἀγγεῖον αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς τὸ περιέχον4 λαμβάνει τροφὴν εἰς τὸ θερμόν. ἄγει δ᾿ ὁ ἀὴρ τὴν ἐνέργειαν ποιῶν, τήν τε πεπτικὴν αὐτὸς αὑτῷ προστιθεὶς αὔξει καὶ τρέφει. οὐδὲν 15δ᾿ ἴσως ἄτοπον αὐτό γε τοῦτο, ἀλλὰ γενέσθαι τὸ πρῶτον ἐκ τῆς τροφῆς. καθαρώτερον γὰρ ὃ τῇ ψυχῇ συμφυές, εἰ μὴ καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ὕστερον λέγοι γίνεσθαι, διακρινομένων τῶν σπερμάτων καὶ εἰς


On Breath

On Breath

I. How can we account for the maintenance of theThe function of breath. breath inherent in us, and for its increase? For we can see that it grows in volume and strength both with advancing years and with the condition of the body. Probably it increases, like the other parts of the body, by some accession. Now the accession which comes to animate things is nutriment, so that we have to consider the nature and source of nutriment in the case of breath. Nutrition may occur in two ways, either by respiration, or, as in the case of the rest of the body, by digestion of food. Of these two the method by means of food seems more likely; for body is nourished by body, and breath is a body. What then is this method? Clearly by some extraction and assimilation from the veins; for blood is the ultimate food for every part alike. Thus the breath draws nutriment into its hot substance, as into a container or envelope. The air is the agent as producing activity, and by employing the digestive faculty causes growth and nourishment. Probably there is nothing strange in this; it would be strange if breath were derived from food in the first instance. For that which is naturally akin to the soul is purer; unless one supposes that the soul is born after the body, as the particles are separated out and realize

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-breath.1957