This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

“Μαστοὺς δὲ ἔχουσαν συμμέτρους”· οἱ μικροὶ μὲν γὰρ ὀλίγον ἔχουσι τὸ γάλα, οἱ ὑπέρογκοι δὲ καὶ περιττότερον τοῦ δέοντος, ὥστε μετὰ τὴν τιτθείαν εἰ μὲν ὑπομένοι τὸ πλεῖον, μηκέτι νεαρὸν αὐτὸ πρὸς τοῦ βρέφους ἑλκυσθήσεσθαι, τρόπῳ δέ τινι προδιεφθαρμένον, εἰ δὲ πᾶν ἀποθηλάζοιτο δι’ ἄλλων παιδίων ἢ καὶ ἑτέρων ζῴων, καταλυθήσεσθαι <τὴν> γαλουχοῦσαν. εἶθ’ οἱ μείζονες καὶ βαροῦσιν ἐπιπίπτοντες τοῖς τρεφομένοις· ἄλλως τέ τινες ὑπολαμβάνουσιν <αὐτοὺς> ὀλιγώτερον πολλάκις ἔχειν τὸ γάλα, πρὸς τὴν αὔξησιν τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτῶν δαπανωμένης τῆς εἰς αὐτοὺς φερομένης τροφῆς καὶ οὐκ εἰς τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ γάλακτος. “χαύνους δὲ καὶ μαλακοὺς καὶ ἀρρυσώτους” καὶ μήτε φανεροῖς καταπεπλεγμένους τοῖς ἀγγείοις μήτε θρομβώδεις συστάσεις ἐναιωρουμένας ἔχοντας· οἱ πυκνοὶ μὲν γὰρ καὶ σκληροὶ καὶ καταπεπλεγμένοι τοῖς ἀγγείοις ὀλίγον τὸ γάλα ποιοῦσιν, οἱ ῥυσοὶ δὲ καὶ ῥακώδεις ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς γραιώδεσι καὶ ἀραιοῖς συγκρίμασιν ὑδαρές, οἱ δὲ θρομβώδεις συστάσεις ἔχοντες παχὺ καὶ ὑπανώμαλον. “τὰς δὲ θηλὰς μήτε μεγάλας μήτε μικράς”· αἱ μεγάλαι μὲν <γὰρ> θλίβουσιν τὰ οὖλα καὶ τῇ καταπόσει κωλύουσι συνεργεῖν τὴν γλῶσσαν, αἱ μικραὶ δὲ δυσεπἰληπτοι τυχγάνουσιν καὶ κατ’ ὀλίγον <πέμπουσιν> ἐκφοροῦσιν τὸ γάλα, διὸ κακοπαθοῦντα τὰ βρέφη πρὸς τὰς ἐκμυζήσεις ταῖς λεγομέναις ἄφθαις εἴωθεν περιπίπτειν. “μήτε πυκνοτέρας μήτε σηραγγώδεις ἄγαν καὶ ἀθρόον τὸ γάλα προϊᾶσιν”, ὥστε κακοπαθεῖν ἐν ταῖς ἐκμυζήσεσιν τὰ βρέφη μὴ ἐπιχορηγουμένου τοσούτου γάλακτος, ὅσον ἐσπούδακεν ἐπισπάσασθαι, <αἱ> δὲ ἄγαν σηραγγώδεις κίνδυνον ἐπάγουσι πνιγμοῦ, πρὸς γὰρ τὴν ἐκμύζησιν ἀθροῦν ἐπιφέρεται τῷ στόματι τὸ γάλα.
(Soranus, Gunaikeia 2.12(32))

And “her breasts should be of medium size”: for small ones have little milk, whereas excessively large ones have more than is necessary so that if after nursing the surplus is retained it will be drawn out by the newborn when no longer fresh, and in some way already spoiled. If, on the other hand, it is all sucked out by other children or even other animals,* <the> wet nurse will be completely exhausted. Besides, the bigger breasts also weigh heavy when they fall upon the nursling; some people even are of the opinion that <such breasts> often have less milk because the food which is brought to them is spent for the increase of their flesh and not for the amount of milk. “Lax and soft and not wrinkled” and having neither a network of visible vessels nor clotted concretions suspended in them. For the breasts which are compact, hard, and have a network of vessels produce little milk; those which are shriveled and wrinkled as in old and thin bodies make it watery, while those which have clotted concretions make it thick and somewhat uneven. “Nipples which are neither big nor small”: <for> the big ones bruise the gums and hinder the tongue fronm co-operation in swallowing, while small ones are difficult to seize and <make> the milk <come out> in small amounts for the sucklings. Therefore, the newborn suffers in suckling and is usually afflicted with so-called aphthai.** “Neither compact nor too porous and giving forth milk overabundantly”: for if they have narrow ducts they do not easily bring forth the milk without being squeezed; consequently in suckling the newborn suffers, since not as much milk is furnished as it is eager to obtain. If, on the other hand, <they> are too porous, they bring on the danger of suffocation, for in suckling the milk is brought to the mouth overabundantly.

* This seems to suggest that young animals were sometimes employed to empty the breasts.
** I.e. thrush.

(tr. Owsei Temkin, with his notes)


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