Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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1. Background

Until well into the 17th century, knowledge of human semen and its role in reproduction and procreation was based on medical theories dating from antiquity (Procreation, theory of). Basically two contradictory figures of thought were on hand. Both were based on humoralism, which pictured female bodies as being moister and colder, male bodies dryer and warmer. The “one seed theory,” whose foundation had been laid by Aristotle in the 4th century BCE in De generatione animalium (“On the Generatio…

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Griesebner, Andrea and Costa, Rosa, “Semen”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 04 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_026933>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210601

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