Translation copyright 2000 Neil W. Bernstein; all rights reserved.

What Aristotle related concerning the number of offspring in a single labor.

  1. The philosopher Aristotle related that an Egyptian woman gave birth to five children in a single labor. (1) He said that this is the limit for multiple births in human beings; nor did he know of more being born simultaneously, and furthermore this number was extremely rare.
  2. But the historians of the reign of the deified Augustus wrote that a slave of Caesar Augustus gave birth to five children in the Laurentian territory. They lived only a few days, and their mother died not long after the delivery. By order of Augustus a monument was erected to her on the Laurentian road with the number of births (which we mentioned) inscribed on it.


  1. Cf. Aristotle, History of Animals 7.4 (page 584, line 29); Pliny, Natural History 7.33.

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