By | March 9, 2022
Sperm Ancient Greece

In this post, we addressed what sperm was called in ancient Greece, the origin of sperm and some ancient interesting facts of sperm you should know.

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How Was Sperm Named?

sperm under microscope

Sperm is a word that is derived from the Greek language σπέρμα, which is sperma, and it means “seed”.

There is a difference between Sperm and Semen. Sperm is part of semen but semen is not part of sperm, hope that is clear? Sperm is a component of semen and a very important one if you want to reproduce.


The Discovery Of Sperm

Anton van Leeuwenhoek,(1632-1723) a Dutchman was the first person to study sperm.

He developed a new tool, a microscope which he used to examine things like bee stingers, human lice and lake water in the mid-1670s. 

He was urged by Colleagues to use his microscope to check out semen. This suggestion sounds absurd and  indecent to him, Writing about semen and sex seems like going beyond the ordinary, so he stalled  

In 1677, he gave in, he examined his ejaculate, he was dazed by the tiny ‘animalcules’ he saw wriggling.

He was hesitant to share his findings on the ‘wriggling animals’ with his colleagues.Van Leeuwenhoek who had been writing about his former discoveries on bacterias, blood cells reluctantly wrote to the Royal Society of London about his discovery on sperm . 

If your Lordship should consider that these observations may disgust or scandalize the learned, I earnestly beg your Lordship to regard them as private and to publish or destroy them as your Lordship sees fit.”

His Lordship who was the president of the Royal Society did opt to publish van Leeuwenhoek’s discoveries in the journal Philosophical Transactions in 1678—this marked the beginning of a brand new field of sperm biology. 

After van Leeuwenhoek discoveries of  sperm in 1677, it was approximately 200 years before scientists agreed on how human beings are formed.

The Origin Of Sperm

Spermis is produced at the  testicles. From the age of 13, millions of sperm cells are produced each day, Each of this sperm  measured about 0.002 inches (0.05 millimeters) long.

Sperm is produced in the testicles and after some days, it moves to the epididymis, which are the ducts behind the testicles that store and carry sperm.

The process of sperm growing from a germ cell to a mature sperm cell that is capable of fertilizing an egg takes around 74 days.

What Was Sperm Called In Ancient Greece?

Aristotle said the region around the eyes, was the region of the head most fruitful of seed (“most seedy” σπερματικώτατος), pointing to generally recognized effects upon the eyes of sexual indulgence and to practices which connotes that seed comes from liquid in the region of the eyes. 

This may be explained by the belief of the Pythagoreans that “semen is a drop of the brain [τὸ δε σπέρμα εἶναι σταγόνα ἐγκέφαλου].”

Greek Stoic philosophy conceived of the Logos spermatikos (“seminal word”) as the principle of active reason that fecundated passive matter. The Jewish philosopher Philo similarly spoke in sexual terms of the Logos as the masculine principle of reason that sowed seeds of virtue in the feminine soul.

The Christian Platonist Clement of Alexandria likened the Logos to physical blood as the “substance of the soul”, and noted that ” the animal semen is substantially foam of its blood”. Clement reflected an early Christian view that “the seed ought not be wasted nor scattered thoughtlessly nor sown in a way it cannot grow.”

 Clement was basically against contraceptives.

In ancient Greek religion as a whole, semen is considered a form of miasma, a Greek mythology and ritual purification was to be practiced after its discharge.

Ancient Greece And Sperm

In Ancient Greece, Aristotle wrote on semen importance. He said there is a link between blood and semen. He believed that blood produced semen using body heat.

Aristotle said only male can ejaculate semen since the males alone have the body heat that could convert semen from blood. He also said there is a direct connection between food , sperm and semen. He has this belief that engaging in sexual activity too early could mean a loss of semen and a loss of valuable and much-needed nourishment. He suggested that  male should engage in sexual activity when they have reached a certain age.