Who said that famous saying? (Via Avva.)

2007 update. Since I just had trouble getting to the site, I think I’ll quote some excerpts here in case it becomes unreachable:

– To cut to the chase, there is no author to whom the exact phrase cited above can be attributed with confidence. It is apparently post-classical,
but it has classical antecedents, as we shall see. […]

ROBERT KNAPP (a early modernist at Reed, not the Berkeley expert on Rmn. Spain) wrote on the FICINO list: “Chadwyck-Healy’s PL turns up one hit on the proverb, in Joannes Murmellius and Rodulphus Agricola’s commentary on Boethius, Book III, Prose VII: ‘Tristes vero esse] Voluptati moerorem succedere cum norunt omnes, tum maxime libidinosi: nam, teste philosopho, omne animal a coitu triste est. Seneca Lucilio: Voluptates praecipue exstirpa, inter res vilisimas habe, quae latronum more in hoc nos amplectuntur, ut strangulent. Aristotelis, teste Valerio Maximo, utilissimum est praeceptum, ut voluptates abeuntes consideremus, quas quidem sic ostendendo [Co.. 1014B] minuit; fessas enim poenitentiaeque plenas animis nostris subjicit, quominus cupide repetantur.’ But this only takes us to the late 15th century.” [True, but the passage does explicitly attribute the key phrase to Aristotle—“teste philosopho.”]

– EDWIN RABBIE on the FICINO list made the shortest contribution to the twin threads, but perhaps it is the closest to hitting the bull’s-eye: “Latin translation of Ps.-Aristotle, Problems 955 a 23.” [In English the translation of this passage would be: “After sexual intercourse most men are rather depressed, but those who emit much waste product with the semen are more cheerful.” I don’t have the med. Latin trans. of Aristotle within reach. Also, it will be noted that “Aristotle” was talking specifically about men, not “omnia animalia.” But I humbly suspect that this is about as close as we’re going to get.]

2016 update. The Classics-L archive is gone, but Anatoly found this post at and reproduced it here.

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