How much more guilty are we in this respect than animals?  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

How much more guilty are we in this respect than animals? is the incipit of a dictum by Pliny the Elder.

"In the human race, men have invented every possible form of perverted sexual pleasure, crimes against nature, while women have invented abortion. How much more guilty are we in this respect than animals?." --Natural History, 10.172, translation Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity.

Original lines from Book X[1]

171 Bipedum solus homo animal gignit. homini tantum primi coitus paenitentia, augurium scilicet vitae a paenitenda origine. [cited in The World as Will and Representation (On the Affirmation of the Will-to-Live) by Schopenhauer as example of petite mort] ceteris animalibus stati per tempora anni concubitus, homini, ut dictum est, omni horis dierum noctiumque; ceteris satias in coitu, homini prope nulla.

183 Quaecumque animal pariunt, in capita gignunt circumacto fetu sub enixum, alias in utero porrecto. quadripedes gestantur extentis ad longitudinem cruribus et ad alvum suam adplicatis; homo in semet conglobatus inter duo genua narribus sitis.

184 molas, de quibus ante diximus, gigni putant, ubi mulier non ex mare, verum ex semet ipsa tantum conceperit. ideo nec animari, quia non sit ex duobus, altricemque habere per se vitam illam quae satis arboribusque contingat. ex omnibus, quae perfectos fetus, sues tantum et numerosos edunt, nam plures contra naturam solidipedum aut bisulcorum.




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