I making no reply, Philinus subjoined: Do you not think that that which is generative is to be esteemed divine, seeing God is the principle of all things? And I assenting, he continued: Salt, in the opinion of some men, for instance the Egyptians you mentioned, is very operative that way; and those that breed dogs, when they find their [p. 338] bitches not apt to be hot, give them salt and seasoned flesh, to stir up and awaken their sleeping lechery and vigor. Besides, the ships that carry salt breed abundance of mice; the females, as some imagine, conceiving without the help of the males, only by licking the salt. But it is most probable that the salt raiseth an itching in animals, and so makes them salacious and eager to couple. And perhaps for the same reason they call a surprising and bewitching beauty, such as is apt to move and entice, ἁλμυρὸν καὶ δριμύ, saltish. And I think the poets had a respect to this generative power of salt in their fable of Venus springing from the sea. And it may be farther observed, that they make all the sea Gods very fruitful, and give them large families. And beside, there are no land animals so fruitful as the sea animals; agreeable to which observation is that verse of Empedocles,
Leading the foolish race of fruitful fish.