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Whether sneezing is a sign of good or evil.

One asks about the nose. And first, one asks whether sneezing is a sign of good or evil.

And one must say that sneezing can occur at the end or the beginning of an illness. If at the end, it is an indication of health, because the digestive power is weak in the brain owing to its coldness and the sneeze occurs from the fact that the superfluous vapors collected in the area of the brain are expelled by nature. If therefore a digestive and expulsive nature, which is weak in the brain, has power over superfluous vapors, it is a sign that the digestive nature, which is stronger in other parts [of the body], is that much more powerful. And this is why sneezing at the end of an illness is a sign of convalescence. But if it occurs at the beginning of an illness, it is a sign of flow and movement of the humors. And this is why sneezing occurs frequently and it is a sign of an overabundant material and of a future illness. In health, it is a good sign if there is no rheum or fullness in the head, because it argues for the formation of power.

Whether long and conspicuous lines on the hands may be signs of a long life, and whether short ones are signs of a shorter life.

Consequently one asks whether long and conspicuous lines on the hands may be signs of a long life, and, contrariwise, whether short ones are signs of a shorter life.

And it seems not. Because if the lines are not conspicuous, it is a sign that the hand is well filled [with flesh] and this, as a result, attests to the strength of its power. Short lines, then, are not signs of a short life.

One must reply that the hand follows the nutritive and generative power. Therefore a large-sized hand is a good sign in the male because it indicates a large-sized penis, but it is a bad sign in a woman because it is an indicator of a large-sized womb in which the sperm is not well concentrated and, as a result, the sperm does not become fertile. Thus very often women having a broad and ample vulva and a large opening and a large womb are naturally sterile. But if the opening of the vulva is large for the sake of a large penis during coition, then the rule does not hold but instead it fails. Ovid [says]: "The time passes by, and we grow old through silent years." [1] We desire old age; when it comes, it is a bad wind. Always desiringthat is the vulvato be spread wide, sometimes lying open it is opened," namely, when it is opened by a penis just as if with a key.

Again, in the palm of the hand there is a good bit of movable flesh, but in the wrist [rasceta] of the hand there is a good bit of flesh that stays in one place.[2] Now, nature is more solicitous of the flesh with respect to the species than with respect to the matter. When therefore the palm of the hand is well-lined, it is a sign that there is a lot of flesh there with respect to the species, because the hand is heavily lined only as a result of nature's great solicitude. And when nature is solicitous of the extreme parts, it is a sign that it is probably more solicitous of the interior parts. And this is why a good and conspicuous line on the hand is a sign of abundance in the parts with respect to the species, and few lines are a sign of defect. And this is why the Philosopher says that conspicuous lines are a sign of a long life, because there is a lot there from the principles of life, and contrariwise one that is not lined, etc., just as has been said. And the rest is clear.

  • [1] Ovid, Fasti 6, 771, where the line actually begins slightly differently. See Metam. 3, 162.11.60. The editor of the Latin text correctly suggests that the Ovid citation and subsequent explanation are uncharacteristic of A. and believes them to be interpolations.
  • [2] Rasceta: From the Arabic, the word indicates that part which intervenes between the long bones and the actual parts of the foot and hand. In the hand, it can be thought of as the wrist, while in the foot it is not quite the same as the ankle. See especially DA, 285-90, 298 (SZ1: 150, 152-54, 156-57); Rath (1956), 236; Hyrtl (1879), 198; Fonahn, 2771f.
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