[65a] pains when they suffer alteration, and pleasures when they are restored to their original state. And all those bodies which undergo losses of substance and emptyings that are gradual, but replenishings that are intense and abundant, become insensitive to the emptyings but sensitive to the replenishings; consequently, they furnish no pains to the mortal part of the soul, but the greatest pleasures—a result which is obvious in the case of perfumes. But all those parts which undergo violent alterations, and are restored gradually and with difficulty [65b] to their original condition, produce results the opposite of those last mentioned; and it is evident that this is what occurs in the case of burnings and cuttings of the body.And now we have given a fairly complete statement of the affections which are common to the body as a whole, and of all the names which belong to the agents which produce them. Next we must try, if haply we are able, to describe what takes place in the several parts of our bodies, both the affections themselves and the agents to which they are ascribed. [65c] Firstly, then, we must endeavor to elucidate so far as possible those affections which we omitted in our previous account of the flavors, they being affections peculiar to the tongue. It is evident that these also, like most others, are brought about by means of certain contractions and dilations1; and, more than other affections, they involve also conditions of roughness and smoothness. For all the earthy particles which enter in by the small veins—which, extending as far as to the heart, serve as it were [65d] for testing-instruments2 of the tongue,—when they strike upon the moist and soft parts of the flesh and are melted down, contract the small veins and dry them up; and these particles when more rough appear to be” astringent,” when less rough “harsh.” And such as act on these veins as detergents and wash out all the surface of the tongue, when they do this excessively and lay such hold on the tongue as to dissolve part of its substance—and such, for example, is the property of alkalies,— [65e] are all termed “bitter”; while those which have a property less strong than the alkaline, being detergent in a moderate degree, seem to us to be “saline,” and more agreeable, as being devoid of the rough bitterness. And those which share in the heat of the mouth and are made smooth thereby, when they are fully inflamed and are themselves in turn burning the part which heated them, fly upwards because of their lightness towards the senses of the head and cut all the parts on which they impinge;
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.