Editorial note: We used an 1898 edition which is probably identical with the first English translation of 1718 [Mei18]. The first edition (in Latin) was printed in 1639; for the details see [Mei39].

The Use of Flogging


(Tractatus de usu flagrorum in re medica et venerea)

Written to the famous Christianus Cassius, Bishop of
Lubeck, and Privy Councillor to the Duke of Holstein


Translated from the Latin by a Physician


Five hundred copies.

Printed in France.
C. Unzinger, Paris.


Books which treat upon subjects of this curious nature, being as liable to the censure of the injudicious as to the praise and admiration of the knowing, it may not be amiss to premise some observations to the reader in defence of the work.

The author himself was a man of great reputation, an eminent physician, and an excellent philologer; and had he foreseen any ill effects from a treatise of this sort, he would hardly have risked his fame and practice by suffering it to be published. A bishop desired him to write it, and took care to spread it into as many hands as printing could; and it was attended with the improvements of two eminent physicians in the last edition. [1570] But it may be objected that it was written in a language only familiar to the learned, so that it could do no harm in that tongue, as if learning was a charm for human infirmities, and Latin and Greek could conjure down the vices and passions of mankind. Alas! we find neither learning nor learned ornaments are proof against humanity; and there is no more sanctifying quality in a coat of one colour than another. The devil of the flesh works in black as well as red.

In fact, it is true that the fault is not in the subject matter, but the inclination of the reader, that makes these pieces offensive. He who will deter people from vice must make it odious by explaining its consequences - which is effectually done in this treatise. The chastest ear in the world is not polluted by a relation of the prodigies in lewdness; nor ought any man to be offended at a naturalist who searches into the causes of the distemper, and shows how they may proceed from the springs of nature herself, without having recourse to fancy, fiction, and ridiculous diabolical enchantments.

That the use of strokes and stripes has an effect upon the languid organs after our author's manner of reasoning, is no wonder at all to the learned, though the ignorant may be startled at the assertion. I crave leave to fortify our author's observations by a very common one used among ourselves. It is the custom, when a stallion will not readily cover a mare, to beat him with staffs upon the back and so quicken the circulation of the blood, and stimulate the parts of generation to a compliance with the purpose of nature. The effect is plain, and the argument will hold in proportion with the human species.

I am here tempted to say something of a more dangerous and modern improvement in the art of lewdness, of which I know one or two remarkable histories - and, perhaps, when I have finished the physical reasons of its effects, the world may see them published. In the meantime the hanging-lechers are desired to observe that their practice is no secret, and that it is known that some of them have lately had very narrow escapes in the experiment, and instead of contributing to their species, have gone near to have destroyed it. A late unaccountable secret of murder tends very much this way, and so do some others.


Your father, John Henry Meibomius, deserves to be reckoned among the principal ornaments of the age: but you, who are the heir and successor of his virtues, take care to spread his fame, and increase his reputation, by publishing his writings. He continually adorned the divine art he peculiarly professed with a variety of learning; nor do you take less pains than your father to obtain the name of a learned physician. The writings of your father already published upon the 'Oath of Hippocrates,' and the 'Life of Mecænas,' prove how great a man he was. You give a promising earnest to posterity what a son you are, by publishing to the world your father's lucubrations now in your hands, and worthy the most curious eye, taking care to increase them with your own excellent additions. Among the vast compass of your father's learning and his more serious studies, he sometimes descended to things of less moment and wrote, at the instance of the great Christianus Cassius (whose memory will be ever grateful to me), a short dissertation, collected from antiquity, of the medicinal use of flogging. This treatise my bookseller, excited by the uncommonness of the subject, had a mind to reprint, and desired some additions to it from me. I referred him to you, the author's son, Professor of Physic at the University of Juliers and, by the example of your father, conversant in all kind of literature and antiquity, as being more nearly concerned in the reputation of your father's writings, and it not being to be expected that a book which shines so much in the contents of its author should receive the least ornament from my hand. But although you were not wanting to your father's fame in sending back the book, enlarged with many additions, together with an elegant epistle, yet Paullinus, my bookseller, with a view of making it an honest gain, has entreated me to add some few observations, which he fancies I have always ready by me on all occasions. That I might not baulk his hopes nor fail in the duty I owe to the Meibomiuses and the Cassiuses, and to profit the public too -

That common care of ev'ry heav'nly power -

I have, among my other studies, which my friends know I am employed in, collected a few twigs to add to your bundle of rods, and dedicate them to your and your father's honour. Few before you have taken notice of the use of rods in physic; it is certain that very few care for them, since gentle and easy methods please our patients best, and they are startled at severer medicines, though the condition of mortality is such that even when we desire to use them most gently, we very often neither can nor dare. Hippocrates's chains are now and then to be called in, and a severer discipline is to be used on obstinate distempers.

Strokes and stripes most effectually cure those who dissemble diseases. It has often happened that persons who have shammed an epilepsy have grown well and been cured before they have been sick by this sharp and wholesome remedy. It has done good too as a preventative physic, by hindering others from imposing distempers upon the world. I have known lazy servants, who have dissembled some strange distemper, return to their business by this discipline. We can the less doubt that strokes contribute to the cure of real bodily distempers since they cure those of the soul. Hence it is that you may see in Italy, in Lent-time, the Order of Flagellants expiating the sins of their past lives by swinging strokes and wounds upon their backs, like those in the rites of Cybele of old, who, as Claudian (Eutrop. Bk. 1) says -

To wound their breasts, their Phrygian knives display,
And cut the pounders and the nerve away.

Such, among the heathen, were the Syrian floggers, who punished themselves for their crimes, or were hired by others to do it, by stoutly flogging with a knotted whip, as Apuleius describes them in the eighth book of his Metamorphosis. Circe's rod was of another kind, that transformed the human minds of Ulysses' companions into beasts, particularly hogs, according to Homer in the Odyssy. But this is all magical stuff - yet the moral of it proves that some return to their senses by blows, and others lose them. The metamorphosis is certain, but the form is different, though neither the one nor the other can be done by enchantment. I myself have seen several corrected with rods by the priests at Padua, who were thought to be possessed with an evil spirit; but who, as the physicians rightly observe from the similitude of their symptoms, had really epileptic fits, and to such persons flogging could do no harm, because it raised the natural heat of their bodies. The man possessed with the unclean spirit in St. Mark V, cut himself with stones; and St. Paul complains in II Corinthians that he was buffetted with fits, or joints of the fingers, as Martinius in hi etymologies explains the word from Varinus, though Hayman, Bishop of Halberstadt, thinks this buffetting should rather be expounded by the fire of lust, kindled by the devil, than any pain in the head. That flogging was used in the cure of distempers formerly, Meibomius proves by many ancient authorities, and that when there was no room for more moderate remedies; for whipping with rods among the Romans was used for flagrant crimes and as the proper punishment of slaves, whereas only freemen, as an argument of lighter punishment, were corrected by blows of sticks, as Brissonius largely proves in his Antiquities. The passage in Cœlius Aurelianus concerning the cure of madness is a very elegant one, and is but slightly cited by your father, and therefore I shall dwell upon it a little longer in order to make it a more effectual remedy, although Cœlius speaks it from the judgment of others, not his own, and particularly of Titus, the scholar of Esclepiades, whose whole life we expect from that desirable work, the 'Lives of the Physicians,' which you have promised us from your father's papers. The words of Cœlius are these: 'Others order them to be disciplined with rods that their understanding, being as it were quite banished, they may come again to their senses: whereas the whipping of swelled parts only makes them the rougher, and when their fit begins to cease and they recover their senses, they are still vexed with the pain of whipping.' So it stands in Rouvillius's edition, which I make use of, but your father reads it: 'to banish their madness and make them recover.' Now Cœlius, who was a methodist in physic, laughs at that manner of cure, partly because the swelled parts would be made rougher by the blows and the pain remain even after the cure, and partly because the cure does not respect the part affected - for he says: 'If, as reason requires assistance to be given to the parts affected, and those nearest to them, they will be obliged to strike the face and head.' But distempers of the head are more increased by blows, that part being hurt by the least external force. And yet this medicine of Titus, although somewhat harsh, has its use; for he is not afraid of raising the heat, because madness is without fever or a small pulse, which distinguishes it from a frenzy. So it is the fear of pain which keeps the patient within the bounds of reason. Thus I knew a very honest man, who was often mad, forced by the threatenings and blows of a stronger person to lie as quiet as a lamb. But the method of the relaxed parts is different, which are raised by being struck with blows and provoking the pain and heat; and yet the same Cœlius will not allow Themison, that the parts affected in this case are to be struck with a ferule, because he thinks they may be cured better, and re-corporated by bathing in salt water. But under the favour of this methodist, as salt water may be properly substituted instead of the ferule, so both kinds of remedies excite the sense by their acrimony, and re-corporation follows both. Whatever the ferule effects, the salt water does - which, as Diascorides says, is warm and acrid. Hence Scribonius uses the plaster Marine for renewing old, and callous ulcers, for the relaxed parts are rather stupified than revived by gentle applications. Strong frictions, strokes, and punctures are what must make them swell and rise again; this point, as Galen prescribes, as striking the macerated parts with small ferules, lightly tinctured, till they be raised by degrees. By this method, a slavedealer in a short time plumped the buttocks of a boy who was almost consumed with hunger, using daily, or at least every other day, a moderate percussion of the parts. If Cœlius is terrified by the pain of the rod, there are other remedies at hand in &Aelig;gæneta, Chap. XII, such as sheepskin fresh drawn and still warm, applied to the parts, besides others observed by &Aelig;tius, Galen, and Avincenna. Apuleius tells us that the effeminate Syrians armed themselves by a preservative against the pains of whipping; and Beroaldus guesses that this preservative was holding the breath, which he proves from Pliny to be the contrivance of an animal called Meles; these creatures using upon a fright to stretch and swell up their skin and so remain insensible to the bites of dogs and strokes of men.

This cure by whipping, although it may seem rough, yet ought not a physician to abstain from it, if it has a good effect. St. Austin, in his 50th epistle, speaks elegantly to this purpose: 'A physician is uneasy to a patient in a frenzy, and so is a father to an unruly son - the one by tying him down, and the other by whipping, but both by loving them; but if they should neglect them and suffer them to perish, that false clemency is rather a cruelty.' Socrates, in the Gorgias of Plato, says: 'That a physician should not indulge his patients in their appetites nor use many and high meats.' For, as Tertullian against the Gnostics says: 'That part of medicine in which lancet, cauteries, burning (and we may add stripes) are concerned, is a kind of barbarity; and yet to be cut, burnt, extended, bitten, are not therefore evils, because they bring useful pains, nor are they to be forborn because they make us uneasy, but because they necessarily make uns uneasy they are to be used.' The good effects excuse the horror of the application; for things are not to be esteemed good or evil by pain or pleasure, but by their usefulness or unusefulness. All things therefore ought to be borne if ordered by a physician, according to that old saying: 'Go, Lictor, bind his hands, beat him, cover his head, and hang him on the tree.' This is the reason why Martial, Bk. II, Ep. 17, includes the use of whips in the instructions for barbers. These whips were roughened and hardened by twisting the strands in strong knots to increase the pain and leave marks under the skin, as if impressed by strings or bones of animals, or, as Apuleius expresses it: 'imprinted with the crooked hoofs of sheep,' so that it is no wonder that Catullus, in his XXVth epigram to Thallus, when he threatens the whip to his hands and sides, calls them burnt or branded:

For fear the scribbling whip should brand
Your tender side and dainty hand.

But let antiquaries look at this point. The physician is sometimes forced to as rough a remedy; for, as Seneca rightly observes: 'Medicine begins to have an effect on insensible bodies when they are so handled as to feel pain.' Our countrymen pick the feathers off the breasts of the African hens and sting them with nettles, to make them sit upon their eggs the more readily. When the throat is obstructed with a bone, we clap the patient lustily on the back, with the object of dislodging the obstruction. If the lower jawbone is either by immoderate laughter or yawning dislocated, it is reduced by a hearty slap on the face, which very often causes mirth in company. Among the Insubres, as I have proved in my 'Cento of Histories,' the dead fœtus is extracted from the mother by compressing the belly strongly, or striking it with wooden or steel balls. I have observed that boys, and men too, have been cured of pissing in bed by whipping.

Your father has proved by many examples how much flogging prevails in venereal affairs, which I need not repeat or offend the ears by a second reading, though I knew a person at Venice who could not be solicited to a love encounter any way but by the blows of his mistress's fist, as Cupid is said to have compelled people to follow him by striking them with a wand of hyacinth. We may further observe that not only men are excited to unlawful and unseasonable pleasures by flogging, but women are raised and inflamed by strokes to a more easy conception. This was known to the Roman ladies, who offered their hands to be whipped by the Luperci to promote conception. Juvenal speaks of this ceremony in his second satire:

Barren they die, a lovely Lyde mocks
Their hopes, though pictured teeming in the box;
In vain, before the quick Luperci band,
They crave conception from the passive hand.

Now there is an easy reason why the striking of the palm should forward fecundity in the Roman ladies, without having recourse to superstition, to be drawn from the circulation of the blood: for the blood, growing warm in the hand from the strokes received, runs back to the heart, and from thence, by the arteries, to the womb which, being thus inflamed, is excited to lust and disposed for conception. As to the ferule itself which was made use of in the feast of the Luperci, Festus Pompeius describes it thus - The Romans caled the Luperci 'Crepi,' from the crepitus or noise which they made when striking; for it was their custom at the feast to run about naked and strike with a ferule all the women they met. Now this ferule was made, as Dempster conjectures, of a cover of skin or hide, and that either of a dog or goat, either to increase the sound or the pain. Plutarch calls that kind of striking a purgation, and I remember having read these lines in Ovid:

On the right hand the fruitful lashes bear,
And glad your house and father with a heir.

Juvenal, in the passage already quoted, ridicules these strokes; and Prudentius, in his Roman martyr, satirizes it as a foolish custom:

What means that foolish pomp, that filthy show,
When through the streets the mad Luperci go!
It shows you vile and mean as you behave,
For who can think him other than a slave
Who, dancing through the town, the dames provoke,
To fancied pregnancy, by foolish stroke?

We have shown how this custom may be warranted from a natural reason, though the Luperci might have a trick at the bottom, striking the women with other things than the ferule, as Cardan imagines. Among some nations, such as the Persians and Russians, the married women take it as a token of love from their husbands to be soundly beaten. Barclay says of the Russian wives that they estimate the kindness of their husbands from the strokes they give them, and are never more happy than when they have met with a man of barbarous temper. Olearius, that great traveller, denies that he met any such thing; but Barclay confirms it by a very singular instance, which I shall take the liberty of repeating. 'A certain fellow, Jordanes, if his name is of any moment in such a trifle, had travelled from Germany to Muscovy; there he settled and, liking the place, married a wife of the country. He loved the woman very much and, desiring by all means a mutual affection from her, observed her still melancholy, with downcast eyes, often sighing and betraying other signs of a discontented mind. But when her husband enquired the cause of her affliction, affirming that he was not wanting in love and respect, - "Oh," replies the wife, "aren't you a fine dissembler of love! D'ye think I don't know how despicable I am to you?" and immediately she fell into a fit of crying and sighing. The man, quite astonished, began to embrace her and ask in what way he had offended her, so that he might make amends in the future. And the woman answered: "Where are your blows and beatings, the proofs of your love? Sure it is that in this country they are the only proofs we accept." When Jordanes heard this, his amazement at first hindered his laughter, but soon after, when both were over, he thought it for his interest to use her as she had prescribed, and not long after took an occasion to beat her; and she, growing into good humour by the influence of the cudgel, from that time forward began to love and esteem her husband in earnest.' Petrus Petræus, in his chronicle of Muscovy, tells us the same story with this addition, that husbands usually provided whips after their wedding for the same purpose, and reckon them among the household gods. Perhaps we may draw a reason from this bitter-sweet love, for these beatings are not used by way of correction or amendment: for bad women (if there are any such) are neither to be restrained by threatenings or passion, no, not even if you were to beat out their teeth with a flint, as Simonides expresses it in his fragment preserved by Stobæus; but a good husband is so far from tormenting the dear wife of his bosom with strokes, that he had rather do as the man in Seneca did, afflict himself and make his wife suffer by proxy.

I have determined, as your father has, that by flogging of the loins and heating the reins, the matter of the seed is either quickened or increased, and how that should be performed by the circulation of the blood in the reins I have long since shown in my 'Anatomy Reformed;' all which, if it will not satisfy the learned, I have nothing to do but to have recourse with you to the common cause, the heat of the blood, inflamed by flogging the loins to increase the warmth of the reins and provoke a venereal appetite. From hence the supine situation of the body contributes to emissions in sleep, by irritating the heat of the loins; from hence the same parts are provoked to venery by violent friction, a pleasure which cost a certain gentleman his life in Paris; and, lastly, we apply cooling medicines to the loins in a troublesome gonorrhœa. Actuarius applies plasters to the reins, which strengthen but do not heat. But Oribasius applies lead plates to the loins, and in this case distinguishes the loins from the reins: for, in his fragment 'Of Proper Diet for all Seasons of the Year,' which was first published at Basil by Albanus Torinus, 1528, he seriously advises against cooling the loins too much, for fear of cooling the reins by that means. I shall say no more of the function of the reins towards the generating of the seed, because the famous Wallæus has called it in question from the principles of circulation, and he was a person whose scholar I shall always be proud to own myself. That was a heresy of those days which had many followers and many masters, and, beginning with great heat, was sensibly extinguished. Now the curiosity of the ingenious is turned another way, and new employments succeed to the old since the learned physicians have begun to search with more eagerness into the hidden secrets of the human system, and not to rest contented with discoveries which were hitherto rather believed than demonstrated. Farewell.

Hagestadt, Oct. 24, 1669.



Receive at last, my dear friend Cassius, the essay I promised you over a bottle, upon the uncommon subject of the use of rods, and the consequence of that subject - a discourse on the principal offices of the loins and reins. You may remember I engaged to send it to you, when we supped together with our intimate friend, Martin Gerdesius, counsellor to your most excellent prince, and your colleague. I can't well recollect the first occasion of it, any further than that I affirmed that stripes and strokes were of use in the cure of some distempers, which both of you looked upon as a paradox: upon which I began to assert the truth of my observations from experience, and appeal to the physicians who, in many of their writings, affirm the same. For instance, it is long since Titus, a disciple of Asclepiades (who flourished in Augustus's time, as I have shown in the 'Lives of the Physicians') directs us, in his book on the soul, that madmen are to be managed by strips and blows, and their senses to be restored by that discipline. Cœlius Aurelianus, I, 5, 'On the Regulation of the Passions,' informs us that it was no uncommon thing to order persons grown melancholy, or mad with love, to be beaten and corrected; and that the method very often answered and brought the patients to a right use of their reason. In his chapter on Continence, Rhases cites an eminent Jewish physician who, when all other means were unsuccessful, directs those mad for love to be bound and soundly beaten; ay, and to repeat the experiment often, if a good effect did not immediately follow - since (as he merrily applies the proverb) it is not one swallow that makes the summer. Guainerius, in his 'Practical Treatises,' agrees with Rhases. Valescus de Taranta is also of the same opinion, and I shall cite his words: 'If the patient be young, let him be flogged on the buttocks with rods; and if the madness is not so cured, let him be put into a dark hole and dieted with bread and water till he returns to his senses, and let this discipline be continued.' If we are to believe Seneca, some quartans have been cured by blows, perhaps from the strokes warming the viscid bilious humour, and dissipating them by motion, as Lipsius conjectures in his commentaries. Hieronymus Mercusialis tells us in his 'Art of Exercise' that some physicians advised lean persons to be whipped in order to plump their bodies; and Galen proved the truth of this long ago, from the practices of slavedealers. For it is certain that the flesh is raised by that practice, and so the food is more forcibly attracted to it; besides, it is a vulgar observation and experiment to cure relaxed limbs by whipping them with bundles of nettles, and so activating the circulation; besides which, Themison advises the striking them with a ferule. Elidæus of Padua in his 'Medical Observations' does not scruple to forward the eruption of smallpox by ordering the tender bodies of infants to be stung with nettles. Thomas Campanella, a monk of the order of the Preachers, whom I formerly knew at Naples, tells us an almost incredible story of the use of blows in an obstruction of the belly. He relates in his book on Physic that a prince of Italy, famous for his skill in music, could never go to stool unless he were beaten by a servant whom he kept for that purpose. He adds that this effect might follow from fear forcing the spirits into the intestines - which reason I shall not dispute at present.

But what you could not so readily believe upon my affirmation was, that there are persons who are stimulated to venery by strokes of the rod, and worked into a flame of lust by blows; and that the part which distinguishes us to be men, should be raised by the charm of invigorating lashes. But I will convince you that it is so; and when I have proved by the testimony of no vulgar authors that there are many experiments of the truth of it, I shall add some reasons and arguments why others have conceived it, and why I think it possible and practicable. I shall not make many words of the stinging the parts with young nettles. For Monytius Taventius, in his second book of the 'Organs of Generation,' asserts that if sterility be suspected from the shortness of the penis, that the defect may be amended and the part extended by the use of that discipline; besides, your admired petronius prescribes the same method to excite a languid inaptness to pleasure. Eucolpio says: 'That part of my body in which I was formerly a very Hercules, was quite languid and dead - it retired, cold as it was, colder than winter, into my belly, and covered with a thousand wrinkles, more like a leather bag in water than a man.' When Enothea, the priestess of Priapus, had promised him that she would make it as stiff as a horn, she mixed up the juice of watercresses with southernwood and besprinkled his thigs. Then she took a rod of young nettles and gently stung all the parts from the navel.

But I am to give you an account of a rougher and stronger flagellation, AND THE FIRST I shall cite on this head is Johannes Pieus, Count of Mirandola, who flourished about a century and a half ago. In his third book against the astrologers, he relates this of an acquaintance: 'There is now alive a man of a prodigious and almost unheard-of kind of lechery, for he is never inflamed to pleasure but when he is whipt; and yet he is so intent on the act, and longs for the strokes with such an earnestness, that he blames the flogger that uses him gently, and is never thoroughly master of his wishes unless the blood starts and the whip rages smartly over his limbs. This creature begs the favour of the woman whom he is to enjoy, brings her a rod himself, soaked and hardened in vinegar a day before for the same purpose, and entreats the blessing of a whipping from the harlot on his knees; and the more smartly he is whipt, he rages the more eagerly, and goes the same pace both to pleasure and pain - a singular instance of one who finds a delight in the midst of torment; and he is not a man very vicious in other respects, he acknowledges his distemper and abhors it.' So far Picus, from whom Nevizanus in his 'Marriage Rites,' and Campanella in the place before cited, quotes it. If I am not mistaken, there is another person much like Picus's acquaintance mentioned by Cœlius Rhodiginus in his 'Ancient Readings.' He says: 'It is certain, upon the oath of credible persons, that not many years since there lived a man, not of a salaciousness resembling that of cocks, but of a more wonderful and almost incredible sort of lechery - who, the more stripes he received, was the more hurried to coition. The case was prodigious, since it was a question which he desired most - the blows, or the act itself, unless the pleasure of the latter was measured by the number of the former; besides, it was his manner to heighten the smartness of the rod with vinegar the day before it was to be used, and then to request the discipline with violent entreaties. But if the flogger seemed to work slowly, he flew into a passion and abused her. He was never contented unless the blood flowed - a rare instance of a man who went an equal pace to pleasure and to pain, and who, in the midst of torture, either satisfied or excited a pleasing titillation, and a furious itch of lust.' We may add another of the same nature to these, from Otho Brunselsius, a famous physician who, in his 'Physical Dictionary,' Art. Coition, says: 'At Munich, the seat of the Duke of Bavaria, there lived a man who could never enjoy his wife if he was not soundly flogged to it before he made the attempt.' I subjoin a new and late instance, which happened in this city of Lubeck, where I now reside. A citizen, a cheesemonger by trade, was cited before the magistrates for, among other crimes, adultery, and, the fact being proved, he was banished. A courtesan with whom this fellow had often an affair, confessed before the state deputies that he could never have a forcible erection and perform a man's part till she had whipped him on the back with rods, and that when the business was over he could not be brought to a repetition unless excited by a second flogging. The adulterer at first denied the charge, but being seriously pressed about the subject, he confessed the fact.

For the truth of this narration I appeal to the judges appointed by the senate, Thomas Storningius and Adrian Mollerus, my friends who, as you know, are still living. Besides, it is not many years since that a person of a small post in a noted town in Holland, very much addicted to venery, was caught in the very act with a woman whom he could never effectually enjoy without being stimulated by flogging. The poor man, upon an information to the magistrates, paid severely for his lust by the loss of his office.

O'er the whole town the noted story rolled,
By merry cits at every meeting told!

Now, since I believe you neither can nor would deny the truth of these instances, let us next consider what reason can be given for an action so odd and uncommon. If you have recourse to the astrologers, they will impute the whole of the business to the stars, and accuse heaven that sometimes provokes such an appetite in man by a peculiar and hidden influence. They will sy, as Picus expresses it, that the man's propensity to Venus was caused in his geniture, and destined to flogging by opposite and threatening rays of the stars - on which subject Franciscus Junctinus takes a great deal of pains to instruct us in his book on the 'Calculation of Nativities.' But since the heavens and the stars are universal causes and so cannot occasion such particular effects in one or two individuals, Picus rejects their influence and enquires after a nearer and more immediate reason. He thinks it was occasioned in his acquaintance by custom, for so he proceeds in his narration: 'When I seriously enquired of him the cause of this uncommon plague, his reply was, that he had used himself to it from a boy. He had been educated with a number of wicked boys who set up this trade of whipping among themselves and purchased of each other these infamous stripes at the expense of their modesty.' Of the same opinion is Cœlius, quoting from Picus. He says: 'Now, it is less wonderful that this uncommon vice should be known by the person, and that he should hate and condemn himself for it; by the force of a vicious habit gaining ground he practiced a vice he disapproved. But it grew more obstinate and rooted in his nature from his using it from a child, when a reciprocal friction among his schoolfellows used to be provoked by the titillation of stripes - a strange instance what a power the force of education has in grafting inveterate bad habits on our morals.' So far they: for my part, I don't deny the great influence of custom, and Aristotle has long since informed us, both in his treatise on 'Memory' and his 'Ethics,' that it is a sort of second nature - which Ennius observes in these lines:

Long use and frequent thinking, custom make,
And this, with man, at last grows into nature.

Galen, in his book of 'Habits,' elegantly shows the great force and influence of custom. I allow, in the instance given by Picus and Cœlius, that custom in a tract of time might contribute something to the cause, but in the case produced by Brunselsius and mine, that cause will not answer. And again, as Campanella asks, why did not the rest of this youthful fraternity go on in the same way? for custom only effects something particular in one or two individuals. Neither is it probable that all those boys we mentioned began their youth with exposing their chastity to sale with this reciprocal communication of vice, and used rods at the first to provoke lechery. I congratulate our Germany that these vices of perverse lust, these disgraces of children and mutual pollutions of males, are almost unknown among us and, if by accident such a case happens, the offenders are severely punished by being burnt. 'The Germans know no such thing, and men live with more regard for morality near the sea,' said Quintilian in his declaration for the soldier Marianus, whose chastity had been attempted by a Tribune, on which I have dilated more in my commentary on the death of Hippocrates. Since, then, neither the stars nor custom are the cause why stripes excite venery, we must see if there be any other reason, in the search after which we must trace the matter a little higher before we can explain it. We are to understand then that this flogging and whipping with rods was practised on on part of the body but the back, which the Lubeck strumpet confessed, and it is manifest of all the rest; for it is impossible that the yard can bear the strokes of rods, undoubtedly not to an eruption of the blood - and we all know the back is frequently used so. Now, the loins compose the chief part of the back: for that part of the body which takes its rise from the five vertebræ placed below the vertebræ of the thorax, is continued quite to the os sacrum. These parts, the muscles, skin, and fat, cover outwardly; inwardly, they are surrounded and braced by the muscles. The reins adjoin to these, one on each side, and take up about the space of four vertebræ, and are annexed to the vena cava and the large artery: but the reins receive as well from the vena cava as the arteria magna large and notable vessels which are called emulgents; each receives, on each side, one vessel, a vein, and and artery, which by many ramifications are variously dispersed into the substance of the reins themselves. On the right of the vena cava, just under the emulgent, arises the right seminal vein; and in the same place, from the arteria magna, arises the seminal artery, both descending into the right testicle. On the left, the seminal artery arising from the trunk of the arteria magna, and the seminal vein from the left vein of the emulgent, are both inserted into the left testicle. Besides these, there are nerves coming from the spinal cord that reach to the reins, and not only pierce their coats, but penetrate their very substance. Lastly, the ureters, produced from the cavity of the reins themselves, are inserted into the bladder. As we may call all these by a single appellation of the loins, so we may very properly assign one and the same common use to them. Authors, indeed, have been very inquisitive into the use of the separate parts, but have not so well considered what they altogether contribute to one common use. Cagnatus is of opinion that all of them, but each in a different manner, are appropriated as well for the elaborating of the seed as performing the work of generation, which the philosopher calls the most natural.

It is evident from the unanimous consent of all writers, whether sacred or profane, that antiquity attributes some such office to the loins, reins, and sides. As for the Scriptures, they frequently appropriate the work of generation to the loins, as in Gen. xxxv, 1: 'Kings shall proceed from thy loins.' And in Heb. vii, 15, the sons of Abraham are said to have come from his loins. From whence Basil the Great, in his commentary on Isaiah, remarks that in many places of the Scripture the loins are put for the organs of generation. And Origen, in Homily 5, on Psalm xxxvi, 8, upon the words: 'My loins are filled with a sore disease,' states that the loins are said to be the receptacle of the human seed, from whence that kind of sin is here insinuated which is the effect of lust. It is a proverb among the Hebrews, 'to gird the loins,' signifying to preserve their chastity and forbear lewdness. In this sense God speaks to Job: 'Gird up thy loins like a man,' that is, restrain thy appetite like a brave man. Jerome similarly interprets Nahum: 'Look upon thy way, strengthen thy loins and secure thy virtue.' So also of John the Baptist, Mat. iii, 4: 'who had a leathern girdle about his loins,' and whom, on that account, Gregory Nazianzen and Nicetus would have us imitate. In Pet. i, 19: 'To be girt on the loins,' signifies - to drive luxurious thoughts from the sould. I am mistaken, too, if the Romans had not this meaning in view when they accounted a person girt as an instance of modesty, regularity, and a good mind; and ungirt, as a token of dissolute morals, upon which head I have more to say in my Life of Mecænas. At this very day it is the custom in France to present those who win the poetry prize with a silken girdle, as a trophy to gird their loins with. To this purpose Ranchinus, in his commentary on Hippocrates's oath, remarks on the necessity of a physician being chaste: because a girdle signifies a binding of the reins, and an abstinence from an immoderate use of the loins. From hence the ancients though Diana, the goddess of chastity, always wore a girdle; and from hence the words 'to unloose the girdle,' in the marriage ceremony, denotes the loss of virginity. &Aelig;tius rightly observes that the use of venery is harmful to such as have weak reins and loins, and such persons are therefore called broken-loined. Eustathius, in the Catalogue of the Ships, recites a proverb on these persons:

Weak in the loins, as Mysius the ass,

which Junius explains as being spoken of soft, effeminate, and unloined men. Upon the same score is Petronius's Satire: those of loose loins are those who were enervated by venery, such as Catullus speaks of, Ep. XVI:

Poor weakly things, who cannot move their loins.

To these, Martial opposes, Book V:

Salacious loins for frequent motion apt.

And the author of a free poem says:

Ecquando Theletusa circulatrix,
Crissabit tibi fluctuante lambo.
When will the clasping Theletusa rise
To my embrace with waving loins and thighs?

For 'to fluctuate' is to move often, and toss up and down in the manner of a wave. The Latins call it crissare: for that signifies an immodest kind of dance, which we now term Il Bargamasco, and which is never danced but by people in masks, Juvenal speaks of them thus:

The dancing girls in wanton motions bend,
Shake as they rise, and with a clap descend.

Arnobius says of these representations: 'The lascivious multitude would run into the most extravagant postures of the body, and caper, and sing, and turn themselves round in a circle, and at last, by the activity of their loins, raise their posteriors and thighs into a swimming elegancy iof motion.' You may consult, if you please, on this occasion, the epistle of Megara to Bacchis, concerning Thryallis. Persius had this in view when, speaking of lascivious verses which raise a pruriency in the audience, he says:

Such luscious songs as pierce the secret chine,
Tickle the loins, and work the lustful spine.

And Juvenal, speaking of the pipes at the Bona Dea, says:

When music and when wine to lust conspire,
Provoke the blood, and set the loins on fire.

Upon this account, Isidorus, in the passage before recited, derives the word loins from the lasciviousness of lust, because both the cause and seat of corporeal pleasure lies in them. Nicolaus Perotius derives it more plainly from lubido: that lumbi comes from lubendo, by inserting 'm' as is frequent in derivations.

Again, as this office is attributed to the loins, so it is to the reins, which are a part of the loins, and, in regard to the formation of the body, a very principal one. That these administer to generation is hinted 2 Kings, viii, 12: 'The son who comes out of the reins.' From whence Tertullian, in his book on the Resurrection of the Flesh, calls the reins conscious of seed. Hesychius the presbyter, in his commentary on Leviticus, says the reins are the servants of the seed in coition, and St. Augustin, on the eighth Psalm, writes that the pleasures of venery are signified by the word reins. And St. Jerome, in his commentary on Nahum, affirms that all the parts that contribute to coition come under the appellation of the reins, and he repeats almost the same words often in his commentary on Ezekiel. Further, Nicolas Lyra explains these words of Jeremiah's, and the same in Revelations: 'Searching the reins and heart,' as meaning the examining and punishing of libidinous and evil thoughts. For, in Scripture language, the heart stands for thoughts, and the reins for concupiscence. Therefore the Psalmist, in Ps. xxviii, desires God to purify his heart and reins; and the church, from him, uses it in the same sense in this hymn: 'Purify our reins and heart by the fire of Thy Holy Spirit that we may serve Thee with a chaste body, and be accepted by Thee with a clean heart.' The divines too, in general, understand by the precept in Exodus to those who eat the Paschal Lamb, 'to bind up their reins,' an abstinence from lust. Ausonius has expressed the indulgence of lust by the use of the reins. 'Go, exercise thy reins.' Ep. 13.

It is a common jest among the vulgar to say that those who sacrifice to Venus purge their reins, which is the reason why Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen and many other physicians assert that an intemperate use of venery is prejudical to the reins. Hence it is that the reins were dedicated to Venus by the ancients: for Fulgentius, in his Mythology, in the fable of Peleus and Thetis, cites Democritus to prove that the heathen thought that every part of the human body was under the influence of a peculiar deity; so they assigned the head to Jupiter, the arms to Juno, the eyes to Minerva, the breast to Neptune, the waist to Mars, the reins to Venus, and the feet to Mercury.

Some say that renes is derived from varro, as if the canals of the obscene humours - that is, the seed - arose from them, and there is no reason why we should, as some have done, understand the urine by the obscene humour: for Isidorus, explaining varro, says: 'The veins and marrow distil a thin fluid into the reins, which liquor, being dissolved, runs from the reins in the heat of the venereal act, which no man in his senses can think spoken of the urine.' The Hebrews, too, derive the reins from a word that imports concupiscence.

And now, because the reins ar situated in the loins near the side, they too were believed to contribute to venery and the work of generation. Thus, the modestest of women according to fame, Penelope, when she was to make a trial of the strength and robust sides of her suitors, brings them to the bow and bids them stretch the string.

The bowstring none like my Ulysses drew,
Whether by sleight or strength his arrow flew;
Since he is dead, by that your powers be tried.
Who proves his manly force and lusty side
Best by the bow, succeeds him in his bride.

From whence, 'to try the side,' in Martial, signifies to give a trial of your strength in venereal affairs. In Ovid, ii, 10, 'to give strength to the sides' is to excite lust.

Pleasure is thus with nutriment supplied,
And gives a lusty vigour to the side.

And in Apuleius, viii, the 'industry of the side' is a potency in lust. 'They brought,' says he, 'a lusty countryman well furnished with an industry of sides, and a length of label.' So in Juvenal and Ovid, 'to spare the sides' is to abstain from venery. Thus the former, on the catamite, Sat. 6:

Nor is the case how much you spare your sides,
Or at what cost of breath the master rides.

And in the Art of Love, Bk. 2:

Spare not your sides, for all your hopes are there.

On the other hand, 'to break the sides' is to indulge pleasure too much - Martial, xi, 105:

He lets the sun behold his play,
And breaks his sides in open day.

And again, xii, 93:

You, Bassus, take a silly pride,
But 'tis with boys you burst your side.

So in Tibullus:

Unruly tumours, panting for delight,
Erect their nerve, and stimulate the fight,
Nor cease to glow, till Venus often tried,
In mirthful pleasurs burst my languid side.

Petronius in his Satire says: 'I am afraid I should have raised convulsions in my side.' In other places the sides are said to be weak, worn out, enervated, drained, languid, wearied - which all mean exhausted by venery. Ovid, iii, 10, says:

I have beheld the wearied lover go
From the fair dame ridiculously slow,
His sides all faint, exhausted all below.

Catullus, Ep. 7:

Why not display thy dry, thy sapless sides?

Priapus, in the Priapeia:

You see how dryly drained I fail,
All wasted, meagre, thin, and pale;
My sides are spent, a short drawn breath
And bloody cough portend my death.

Suetonius, in the life of Caligula, has the following remarkable passage: 'Valerius Catullus, a youth of a consular family, said publicly that Caligula was endorsed by him and that his sides were quite tired with the use of his bedfellow.' Apuleius, Bk. 8, recites this manner of salutation: 'May you live long and please your masters, and spare my now decayed sides.' From all which my claim is as clear as the noontide sun.

And that this is no new or modern opinion, but founded on the unanimous consent of all antiquity, is evident from the testimony of the Scripture, wherein the loins and the reins are said to contribute to the work of generation. Now a general judgment of the learned cannot be totally false.

In the next place, it is worth our while to enquire further into the reasons upon which this opinion is founded; for by this means we shall, at the same time, discover the cause why strokes and stripes inflicted on the loins are incentives to lust. Cagnatus for his part, and Montuus, who inclines to his opinion, attribute the whole business to the loins, as consisting of those parts we were just now reciting - that is, the vertebræ, muscles, reins, veins, arteries, and nerves. However, he makes the seminal veins and arteries the chief agents as being the parts which afford the material for the seed, and contain in themselves, and send down to the testicles, that whitish fluid which either actually is, or soon will be, worked into seed; and he affirms that the desire of ejecting the seed is excited by the swelling of this fluid in the bloodvessels, and from whence nocturnal emissions are caused, especially in such persons whose vessels are overheated by lying on the back. Bartholomæus Montagnana and Neresius assign the whole operation to the reins, and very lately the famous Sennertius, my very dear teacher and friend, is of the same opinion, and yet they do not all explain the matter after the same manner. Montagnana in his study of Avicenna says we must diligently observe why he declares that the weakness of the reins may be said to be the cause of the defect of coition; and after he has affirmed that the seminal matter has acquired an adequate perfection from the disposition and temperament of the testicles, he adds that it is necessary that the same matter should be predisposed in the superior member where the digestive faculty is more powerful, as in the liver and reins; from whence he concludes it is impossible that a genuine seed should be formed unless those parts, the liver and reins, are duly organized and complexioned in all its properties. But Neresius is of the opinion that there is only a kind of saltness transmitted from the reins to the testicles which excites a desire in the genitals, and so contributes to venery. His words are: 'The reins are the purgers of the blood and the cause of the appetite to coition: for the veins which, descending to the testicles, pass through the reins and there imbibe a salt humour and an irritating faculty, after the same manner as a sharp puncture under the skin makes an itching, and, in the same degree as the consistence of the testicle is softer than the skin itself, they so much the more, when stimulated by that salt pungency, raise a furious desire of emitting the seed.' Matthæus's opinion is much the same, only he attributes more to the left rein than to the right: for, says he, the left seminal vein, situated in the emulgent near the left vein, furnishes a blood diluted with a good deal of serous salt, to raise and stimulate the parts to the act of generation. Laurenbergius affirms that the reins in general contribute to generation, but in the disputation before cited, he explains himself much as Garyopontus does when he says that the reins are by nature muscular and have nerves planted in their cavities, which contain the generative seed. So that he attributes the formative power of the seed to the reins, and in such a manner as to believe that it is elaborated and contained in them. Sennertius is of the same opinion, though he founds it on other reasons, and explains himself more clearly, and with better evidence from anatomical inspection than Garyopontus, who does not seem to have been very skilful in anatomy. Sennertius thinks that there is not only a stimulus communicated from the reins to the genitals, but that the seed itself is worked in them and transmitted from them, which opinion Hoffman follows, and Sennertius collected this principally from hence, because the reins have a peculiar parenchyma, as it appears not much different from the substance of the heart or liver. Now Galen attributes a great and peculiar force to a peculiar parenchyma in the forming and working of the blood, which is evident of all the parenchymas of the other viscera. Again, since the emulgent vein is the greatest of all the veins that proceed from the vena cava and carries more blood into the reins than is requisite for their nutriment, the artery too is larger than only to serve to depurate the serous humour, and therefore he thinks it probable that nature, which makes nothing in vain, would not have formed those vessels so very large unless with a view to some particular end; and this end he concludes to be no other than carrying the arterial blood to the reins so that, being there mixed with and altered by the venous blood, it should supply materials for forming the seed, which is afterwards to be transmitted to the testicles. What confirms this view is that according to the different formation of the reins and renal vessels, in which nature in other cases often sports, some men are more prone to lust than others and are far more notable performers. We have instances of this in Albertus and Riolanus. Each of these dissected the body of a malefactor, and say they found three emulgents descending into the right vein, and the spermatic veins on each side proceeding from the emulgent. Albertus rightly concludes that the person must have had a more plentiful flood of seed, and an inexhausted and almost insatiable salacity, and of which, indeed, the fellow complained a little before he was executed. Riolanus says that this man was wholly devoted to lust, and was hanged for having three wives all living at the same time. Besides these, Salmuth says that he dissected two men who were famous for venery, the latter of whom had reins of a prodigious size so as to equal three, nay four, of those in common men. Sennertius goes on and enquires, unless this opinion be admitted, whence proceeds that rank taste and odour which is diffused all over the body of most uncastrated animals, but most perceptible in the reins, especially in adult bodies, and is not perceived in the reins of young and tender persons before they have conversed with females. He adds, besides, from Oribasius, that the reins are disordered by a retention of the seed: that the physicians, in recounting the signs of warm reins, mention a propensity to venery, lustful dreams, and nocturnal emissions, and that they constantly deduce the quality of the seed from the constitution of the reins. Thus, as a ready salacity indicates warm reins, so a disappetite denotes cold ones. Lastly, he proves from Aretæus and Trallianus that, in gonorrhœa, remedies are applied for the diminution or alteration of the seed to the loins near the region of the reins. In support of this we may add what Pliny says - that plates of lead tied to the loins, by their cold quality, obstructed the inclination to venery. And he adds an instance of Calvas the orator who, upon the sight of a woman, used to have an emission, which grew upon him to a kind of distemper, and was cured by these leaden plates. Galen frequently states that he used these leaden plates to tame the lustful sallies and restrain the nocturnal pollutions of some wrestlers; and in a priapism he applies a plaster to the loins, made of rose cakes and cold water. Cœlius, besides the leaden plates, advises the use of sponges dipped in cold water. &Aelig;tius not only uses the cold applications, but condemns lying on the back for fear the loins should be overheated and the distemper thereby increased. To these we may add Oribasius and Paulus &Aelig;gineta, both of whom agree in the same point; the latter forbids even diuretics in gonorrhœa for fear of prejudicing the reins. Nor was Avincenna ignorant of it, who places the defects of coition among the signs of extenuated and worn-out reins; and, among other things, he makes frequent copulation the cause of weakness of the reins, and advises abstinence from it as the means of cure. Aaron, a famous physician mentioned by Rhases, knew this, for he says that if the erection of the penis be languid, the cause is in the liver and reins. And Aristotle may be quoted to this purpose, for he thought that other animals were not affected with gonorrhœa, because they did not lie upon their backs. On the contrary, high-mettled horses, when their loins are heated by the motion of their riders, run with a furious heat to venery. The Athenian matrons seem to have known this, who, when in their famous feasts they lay from their husbands - and, as Ovid says, Met. xi:

Held it a sin to follow Venus' rites,
Or touch a man the space of nine long nights.-

made their beds of what the Latins call Agnus Castus. This is a kind of shrub appropriated to extinguis lust: for this purpose they strewed the leaves under their backs, with an intent of restraining the generative power of the seed and the appetite to venery. Of this there are frequent instances in history - in Dioscorides, Pliny, Galen, and &Aelig;lian: nor is there any other reason for recommending the reins of animals, especially those of the he-goad, as provocative to copulation, or that &Aelig;tius should prescribe the parts above the reins as a charm and incentive to lust, except that they have some analogy and similitude with human reins, for which reason they are supposed to assist them and excite them to perform the office of generation. For this reason warm unguents, among other medicines, are usually prescribed to such persons who are less ready in venereal affairs, and those to be applied not only to the privities, but to the region of the reins; as also strong diuretics, as cantharides, and the posture of lying on the back, that by these methods the loins may be warmed and the seed quickened in its motion to the testicles, and so cold constitutions become fired and raised to venery. From whence Rhases in his twelfth book says that when the loins are chafed with warm medicine, the penis will swell and be extended in erection. And Masib the Arabian, in the same author, says that the heat of the back assists luxury, and as the cooling of the back and sleeping upon cold leaves diminishes that appetite, so warmth wonderfully increases it; from all which I draw this consequence, that the loins in general, and the parts they consist of, contribute chiefly to venery, and principally their veins and arteries; but that the grand instrument of all this is the parenchyma of the reins, by which the seed first begins to be elaborated, and that it is perfected and acquires an equable consistence in its descent through the other seminal vessels. And yet what Nemisius, Isidorus, Matthæus, and Laurenbergius have observed is to the purpose, that there is a kind of saltness and aerous matter communicated together with the seed from the reins to the testicles, to provoke the titillation and fill up the dunghill, which latter is the very word Papius the grammarian uses in his vocabulary.

I further conclude that stripes upon the back and loins, as parts appropriated for the generating of the seed, and carrying it to the genitals, warm and inflame those parts and contribute very much to the irritation of lechery. From all which, it is no wonder that such shameless wretches, victims of a detested appetite, such as we have mentioned, or others exhausted by too frequent a repetition, their loins and vessels being drained, have sought for a remedy by flogging. For it is very probable that the refrigerated parts grow warm by such stripes and excite a heat in the seminal matter, and that more particularly from the pain of the flogged parts, which is the reason that the blood and spirits are attracted in a greater quantity, till the heat is communicated to the organs of generation and the perverse and frenzied appetite is satisfied, and nature, though unwilling, is drawn beyond the stretch of her common power to the commission of such an abominable crime.

This, dear Cassius, is my opinion. But you will object that the persons I treat of are such as, being exhausted by a licentious venery, made use of this remedy for the continuation of their ungovernable lust and a repetition of such unseemly enjoyment. But then you ask, since the case is so, whether a person who hase practised lawful love and yet perceives his loins and sides languid (the subject of this treatise) may not, without the imputation of any crime, make use of the same method in order to discharge a debt, which I won't say is due, but to please the creditor? More plainly, the person that I would describe is such as Virgil does in his Georgies:

Languid and cold, he moves to work with pain,
And dribbles at the lovely sport in vain;
When at the best, 'tis like a stubble fired,
Flashes in haste, and is in haste expired.

Well, friend Cassius, why may not the remedy be made use of in the circumstances supposed? That you have no occasion for it I am ready to take a thousand oaths. I, who am a physician, and from my own profession either know or ought to know, and give a shrewd judgment that way, long since presumed I was no false guesser on your side. Your young wife's great belly is an evidence to be depended upon beyond all exceptions, and to whom I wish a happy moment in due season. However, I won't forbid you communicating this remedy to others who may have occasion for a flogging.

The gates of the Muses, (that is, of all professors of science), ought always to be open, and especially those of physicians; for, as Scribonius Largus in his epistle to Julius Calistus says, that the imputation of a niggardly envy ought to be abominated by all people, especially physicians, who, if they are not according to the intent of their profession full of pity and humanity, are objects of detestation both to God and man.

Thus, my dear friend, to satisfy your curiosity, I have explained my opinion to you with a little more freedom than ordinary. Do you take it all, such as it is, in good parts: love me still as your friend, and pardon my innocent raillery, which yet has its consequences of seriousness, and so farewell.

Lubeck, Sept. 7, 1659.



I understand, with a great deal of pleasure, from Christianus Paullus, the excellent son of the great Simon Paullus, that my letter in answer to yours came safe to your hands. The same person signified to me, in your name, that you designed to reprint my father's epistle concerning the Use of Flogging in Venery, and the Office of the Loins and Reins. Nothing could be more acceptable to me than this your intention. As to the epistle itself, it was occasioned by a free jocose conversation at an entertainment, and an edition of it was procured at Leyden by that great person to whom it is inscribed. However, it pleased many excellent persons all over Europe, and has been quoted by some in public prints. But there being at first only a few copies printed, to be given to friends, it began to be desired by the learned and impatiently sought for by the curious - the subject being, I don't know why, very entertaining and alluring. I have often been sorry that I could not oblige my friends at their request with the favour of a book; however, I was unwilling, on my first entrance on the stage of Fame, to incur the censure of such to whom these papers, tinctured with a tickling salt, might seem to ludicrous and libertine. However, in the meantime it happened that it was reprinted, probably at Leyden, though I know not who was the editor, which I was not displeased with; but had I been informed of it, that edition had come out more correct. But now I am very much satisfied, and give myself joy that it has pleased you, whom Europe reckons among her chief ornaments, as to think it worthy of a new impression, enlarged by additions of your own. You are now in no danger from the affectedly sour, not need you fear

Lest rugged Cato should to you oppose
His wrinkled lips and beastly length of nose.

But these mysteries cannot otherwise be preserved, nor are we writing for vestals or uncultivated Sabines, but to physicians; however, the argument deserves to be examined, nor do I question but you, who are a person of great wit and infinite reading, have cited all the passages that can adorn the subject; yet, since my father, after the last edition of his epistle, has added some marginal notes to his copy, I transmit them to you, to be inserted in their proper place for the enriching of your new edition. Lastly, there are some things in this letter which savour of ante-Harveian times, in which I would rather own the error of my excellent father than defend it; especially since it is such a one as was not only common to some learned men as well as himself, but even to some ages too. You know that saying of your Celsus: 'Light wits, because they have nothing, detract nothing from themselves;' a single concession of error agrees with a great wit who will yet retain, for all that mistake, many valuable things: and why should not an error deserve pardon, which the person does not incur by his own obstinacy, but by the infelicity of the age he lives in?

As for what he relates in the beginning of the epistle, of the cure of distempers by flogging, that depends on the authority of others and is beyond all exceptions. The moderns, however, seem to account these remedies, if not worse than the disease, yet very ungrateful ones. Yet, as to the cure of madness by strokes, which he quotes from Cœlius, Rhases and others, although physicians have not taken notice of it lately, yet I learn from Bodin that it was practised quite recently in England. The passage stands in the fifth book of his Commonwealth: 'Madness sometimes is heightened into frenzy, which kind of frenzy grows milder by strokes and whipping; for a company of madmen in London, confined in the same house, are severely chastised with rods at the last quarter of the moon, at which time their frenzy is more powerful from the inflammation of their brain. When I began to pity their case, I understood from those that looked after them that it was the most certain cure of this frenzy.' The palms of the Roman women were struck, and that was thought to facilitate parturition in the pregnant and give fecundity to the barren. The custom was superstitious enough, and the Luperci were the only operators of it. They were clad in the vestment of Juno, or a goatskin, as Festus informs us; and the Romans themselves ridiculed it, as is plain from the second satire of Juvenal. Some think that sleepwalkers ought to be soundly whipped, which method I myself know succeeded in a certain instance, the distemper being happily carried off for good.

After these, my father cites the histories of flogging for the inciting of venery, and begins to enquire into the cause of it. He first rejects the stars and custom, and, if I am not mistaken, has made it plain that the cause of it cannot be derived from these only. He next remarks that this flogging was only practised upon the back and loins, and thinks to deduce the cause from thence. To this purpose he shows that the Scripture, as well as all antiquity, unanimously attribute to the loins, reins, and sides, their particular offices in the generation of the seed and the effect of venereal pleasures. And he has indeed quoted a great many passages from different writers, and many more can be brought to the same purpose, especially from the poets, unless the case be already evident. For the same reason I conclude that the loins to contribute much to venereal pleasure: but what he afterwards undertakes to prove, that the seed is first elaborated by the reins, situated in the loins, although he has a great many famous men, both before and since his time, of the same opinion, yet, in my opinion, he has not proved that point. For it is granted at present by the searchers into truth, that the blood is carried by the emulgent arteries to the reins, and from the reins, by the emulgent veins, into the vena cava, and from thence returns to the heart; as also that the spermatic arteries received the blood from the great artery, and that the spermatic veins bring back the same from the seminal parts, partly into the vena cava, and partly into the emulgent vein - which motion of the blood is plainly proved by the construction of the valves in the veins. Now, from hence it is evident that nothing descends from the reins to the testicles through the vessels. In the meantime it remains true that warm loins contribute to the work of Venus, and cold ones obstruct it; and that the physicians rightly apply warm things to the loins for the exciting of lust, and col things for the suppressing of it: for, as my father has rightly observed from Cagnatus and Montuus, there are larger vessels placed in the loins, in which, if the blood grows warm, it must necessarily flow warmer down through the spermatic artery and dispose the seminal matter, easily irritable, into a state of heat and fervency. Next, as to the reins, it is my opinion that if they are more than ordinarily heated, a greater degree of heat will be communicated to the blood in its return through the emulgent veins; and since the blood is continually flowing to the reins and back again, a greater heat may be communicated from the reins to the whole mass of blood, from whence the blood will descend warmer through the spermatic arteries. From hence it may be explained why those who have hot veins are prone to venery, as well as the other phenomena which my father has brought to prove his opinion. Perhaps, too, it may sometimes happen to those who have a hot state of blood and are consequently more prone to lust, that the reins may grow warm by the continual accession of the blood, as is noted by physicians. When by an error in diet the blood is inflamed, the reins generally suffer for it, because a greater quantity of blood is flowing there than to any other part: so then, lust does not depend so much upon the heat of the reins as from the common cause, the heat of the blood, and from thence proceeds lust and the heat of the reins. Further, I explain the matter thus: By the strokes of rods, the blood, as well in the great as small vessels in the loins, grows warm, and then in the reins themselves; and lastly, from thence the whole mass of blood - and therefore it flows more hot and in a greater quantity through the seminal arteries till, by the wicked thought of these wretches, preparing themselves for a venereal congress, it is turned with a greater degree to the spermatic vessels, after the same manner a profluvium of the seed is accelerated by a soft bed or a supine posture. It is well known that people who ride horseback are prone to venery, and the same was long ago observed in the cento of problems that are published under the name of Aristotle. This author gives as his explanation that they are affected by the heat and agitation in the same manner as in coition, which is exactly to my meaning; for the blood in the vessels grows warm by these motions of the rider, and its motion is quickened through the descending trunk of the aorta, and so on to the seminal vessels. Hippocrates, indeed, in his book on Air, Water, and Situation, seems to testify the contrary when he says that those who ride much are rendered too unapt for venery: but that is to be understood of the continual riding of the Sythians, which proceeds even to weariness and so debilitates and relaxes the body and consequently suppresses the irritation to venery: but that riding which we mention from Aristotle, which only gently heats the loins, is to be understood as moderate. I have no inclination to go on now and examine distinctly every point which my father has produced upon this subject, especially since all that Sennertius has said is ably discussed by Highmore in his Anatomy.

In the meantime, many of my father's propositions stand upon a good foundation, only rejecting the generating power of the seed lodged in the reins. The rest of his arguments are very evident. Some of the moderns may perhaps endeavour to explain these phenomena otherwise from their own hypothesis, as a certain ingenious person did who was firmly persuaded that the matter of the seed was made of the chyle and not of the blood; and that by strokes upon the loins the swelling alveus was heated, and then that the substance descended quicker to the genitals. Reasons very different from these might be brought by those who favor the theory of a nervous juice, which they think affords matter for the seed. I perceive now that the observation is true in this instance, which Grœcinus formerly said of all inventions - that most people began new works with more boldness than they could maintain these that were before perfect. However, I think the opinion I have proposed of the heat of the blood in the loins depends on experiment and not hypothesis. If, excellent Sir, you approve of it, I shall be much more confirmed in my opinion.

Helmstadt, Aug. 19, 1669.



Bandello - Choice Tales.
Straparola - Delectable Nights.
Firenzuola - Tales.
Poggio - Facetious Tales.
Jacobus X. - Untrodden Fields of Anthropology. 2 vols.
- Ethnology of the Sixth Sense.
- Genital Laws.
- Discipline in School and Cloister.
Dulaure - Priapic Divinites and Phallic Rites
Dufour - History of Prostitution. 6 vols.
Devereux - Venus in India.
Regla - The Early Fathers and Love.
- The Early Fathers and Marriage.
Crebillion fils - The Sofa.
Petronius - The Satyricon.
Brantome - Lives of the Fair and Gallant Ladies. 2 vols.