Bartholinus anatomy made from the precepts of his father, and from the observations of all modern anatomists, together with his own ...
Bartholin, Thomas, 1616-1680., Bartholin, Caspar, 1585-1629., Walaeus, Johannes, 1604-1649.

Chap. XXXI. Of the Mem∣brane called Hymen.

THe Hymen or Membrane called*Eugion, is by others called the clo∣sure of Virginity, and the Flower of Virginity, because where it is, there is a sign of Virginity.

Now whether or no there is any sign of*Virginity, ought not to be doubted. For all Men find that marry Virgins, that there is somwhat that hinders their Yard from going in, unless it be thrust forward with great force and strength. Whence Terence saies the first Copulation of a Virgin is exceeding painful. And at that time for the most part, blood issue with great pain, more or less; which Blood is also called •…er of Viro.

Page  73For by reason of the widening of the* strait Neck of the Womb, and the tear∣ring of the Hymen, all Virgins have pain and a Flux of blood in their first Copulation. Younger Virgins have more pain and less Flux of blood, because of the driness of the Hymen and the smallness of their Vessels; but those that are older, and have had their Courses, have less pain and greater flux of blood, for the contrary causes.

But if her Courses flow, or have flowed a little before: the Yard is ea∣sily* admitted, by reason of the Relaxa∣tion of those Parts, whence there is little or no pain, and little or no flux of blood. And therefore Maids ought not to be married at that season, least the Bride∣groom come to suspect the Virginity of his Bride.

Now what it is that hinders the Yard from entring, that is to say, in* what part the token of Virginity con∣sists, there are sundry Opinions and Differences.

I. The Arabians say the Hymen is* a piece formed of five Veins at the middle of the Neck of the womb, in∣serted on either side, so that the Mouths of the right∣side Veins are joyned with those on the left.

These are Fancies.

II. Others (among whom are Fernelius and Ulmus) do say that the* sides of the Neck grow together, and when they are separated and widened, the Veins are broken which run in those Parts. But this is con∣trary to Experience, which witnesses, that in little Girls the Neck hath its Cavity, nor do the sides there∣of stick together.

III. Others say it is a transverse Membrane.*

And herein they are right. But they are deceived, who have feigned it to have Holes in it like a Seive, and placed it in the lowest end of the Neck: through which they would have the Urin to be voided.

IV. The newest Opinion of all, is that of Severinus Pinaeus, a most* expert Surgeon of Paris, who hath wrote an whole Book of the Notes of Virginity, not unprofitable to be read. Now he accounts the four Myrtle-shap'd Caruncles to be the Hymen, tied toge∣ther by a small Membrane, placed in the outer part of the neck of the womb; of which hereafter. And some learned men are at this day of his Opinion, as Bauhi∣nus for one. I could find no other in a young Girl, lately dissected in this place.

V. The more common Opinion is, that the Hymen is a transverse Mem∣brane* going athwart the neck of the womb, a little above the Neck of the Bladder, which resists the first Entrance of the Yard. And many Experiments and Authorities stand up for this Opinion. And in the first place of four most renowned Anatomists, of Pa∣dua, Vesalius, Fallopius, Aquapendent, and Casserius. And all Antiquity had some knowledg hereof. Hence the Author of that old Friers verse, or riming verse.

Est magnum crimen perrumpere virginis hymen.
Tis a huge sin to break the skin of a Virgins Gim.

Archangelus, Alexander Benedictus, and Wierus assent hereunto. Carpus also knew as m•…∣ger seem to have been ignorant hereof in the 1. Sect. of his 175. Exercitation, where he speaks of a Root that extreamly excites Lust. For he saies; If any shall piss thereon, they say he will presently be full of fleshy desires: Vir∣gins that look to Cattle in the fields, if they sit thereon or make water, tis said the skin in their Privity will break, as if they had been defloured by a Man. Columbus and Sebizius did three times find it, Baubinus twice, as he averrs in his Book of the similar Parts, and Wolfius seems in his In∣stitutions to assent thereunto, who witnesses that he found it at Padua. Adrianus Spigelius affirms that he found it in all the Virgins that ever he did cut up, and I my self and Veslingus at the same time saw it at Padua. Nor is it necessary to bring all the Authorities which might be had in this subject to this place.

And whereas Columbus and Paraeus* deny that it is alwaies found, and Lau∣rentius saies he could never find it: the reason was that they wanted Bodies to dissect, or were negligent in their work: or they might dissect supposed Virgins who had been defloured. Or if they dis∣sected young Virgins, they through wantonness do somtimes with their fingers break the said Skin or Membrane. But if they shall say they did cut up abor∣tive Births, Girls of two or three years old &c. I an∣swer tis incredible that the Hymen should be wanting in such, seeing the Authorities and Experiences of skil∣ful Anatomists forecited, are against it. Again, if in some by them dissected, it was wanting; by the same right that they say this Membrane is praeternaturally present, we shall say it was praeternaturally absent. For it is seldom absent, and for the most part present. And others that are for Laurentius against us, such as Capi∣vaccius and Augenius, are to be rejected as persons not skilled in Astronomie.

VI. There is a midling Opinion* of Melchior Sebizius, viz. that all the signs of Virginity must be joyned together, when they are present. And when the Hymen or Skin so called is absent, we must rest in the straitness of the Neck and other marks, which being widened in the first Copulation, pain and effusion of blood follows by reason of the Solution of Continuity.

These things thus promised, let us come to the Stru∣cture of this Hymen or thin Skin which goes cross the neck of the womb.

Tis situate in the neck of the womb, near the end thereof, just behind the Insertion of the Neck of the Bladder, or a little more inward. For the Situation does now and then vary, though the difference is but little. And there this Membrane goes cross the Cavi∣ty, like the Diaphragma or Midriff.

Its Figure. In the middle it hath an hole like a ring, so that in grown Maids, it will admit the top of ones little finger, through which hole the Courses flow.

But Aquapendent hath many times found this hole in a threefold difference.*

I. As being Naturally constituted, and just opposite to the external Privity.

II. Higher, and not just against the Privity.

III. That in the middle was no round hole, but a chink somwhat long. Sebezi∣us likens it to the horned Moon a little full. For Na∣ture sports her self in the variety of Shape.

But seldom is the Hymen without any holes 〈…〉 then the Courses cannot come away, whence f•… last Dis•… Death, unless it be ope•…

Page  74Its Magnitude. On its sides, where it grows to the neck of the womb, tis thicker then in the middle.

Its Connexion. It is continued to the Substance of the Neck, as if it grew out of the same.

Its Substance is partly membranous, partly fleshy, nor yet very thick. And in some it is thinner and wea∣ker then in others. As in the Prayan Virgins of Cam∣pania, who are there all devirginated after twelve years of age, partly by the Heat of the Sun, partly of their own Bodies breaking the Membrane, as I was told by Relation of Friends there. In some it is more soild and thick, and somtimes so strong, that it must be cut open, especially when the Bridegroom is lazie and im∣potent: for if he be a lusty Carle, he is wont after some months labor, to make his way through.

This Membrane is furnished with many little Veins, which being broken in the first Copulation, pain and blood-shed arises. Finally, it wears away at last, ei∣ther through Copulation, or wanton rubbing; even as in men the Fraenum or bridle of the Yard is somtimes torn.

But there is a great and serious Questi∣on, whether or no in the first carnal Act, all*Virgins must needs void Blood, as a certain sign of their Virginity?

I answer, that it happens so for the most part, and ought alwaies so to hap∣pen. And therefore in 22. of Deuterono∣mie, at Marriages the bloody cloath was shewed to the Elders, as a witness of the Virginity of the Bride. Leo Africanus saies the same custom was u∣sed in Mauritania, and I was told by a Syrian, that it is observed at this very day in Syria. Augenius indeed out of Rabbi Salomon and Lyranus, do understand this Text Metaphorically, as if the spreading of the Gar∣ment did signifie, the words of witnesses, by which the Chastity of the Bride was diligently enquired into and declared. But the best Interpreters retain the Litteral Sense of the Words. Sebizius proves that it was to them a perpetual sign, because 1. Their Virgins were married very young. 2. Every one was careful of him∣seif because of the Law of Jehova. Others contrary∣wise conceive that it was a sign for the most part. Ma∣rius excepts when the Bridegroom is impotent, and a Surgeon may easily judg in such a case. Sennertus saies in that Law the affirmative Inference is good, but not the negative; and that nothing else can be concluded, but that where it is, it is a sign of Virginity. There∣fore it may be hindred, and not appear.

  • 1. If Virgins break it through wantonness with their fingers, or some other Instrument. Hence it is that some Nations, sow up the Privities of Girls new born, leaving a little way for the Urin to come forth; nor do they open it till the time of Marriage: and then the Bridegroom causes it to be opened, that he may be sure he hath a Virgin.
  • 2. If it be the time of her Courses, or she have had them a little before.
  • 3. If the Chink in the Hymen be very long, for then there happens only a Dilatation and no breaking.
  • 4. If the Neck of the Womb be very wide, and the Yard not sufficiently thick.
  • 5. If the Man thrust in his Yard cleverly.
  • 6. If the Virgin have had the falling down of the womb, whereby the Hymen was broke.
  • 7. If the Virgin be in years before she is married.
  • 8. If by continual Deflux of sharp Humors, the n be either moistued or fretted, which frequen∣•…pens in sickly men, through fault of their Con∣•… badness of the Climate 〈…〉 healthly Hebrew Virgins, being in a good Climate, and of a strong Constitution, did easily by care avoid these In∣conveniences.

The Use of the Hymen is, to defend the internal Parts from external Injury. 2. To testifie a Maids Virginity.

Now a Maid may conceive without* hurting the token of her Virginity, which Americus Vesputius relates to have been common in the Indies, and Speronus and Peramatus prove the same. Tis reported that at Paris a certain wo∣man in this present Age wherein we live, was got with Child, without any Detriment to her Virginal Parts, and a like History is related by Clementina. Which we may conceive to be done five manner of waies, rec∣koned up by Plempius and Sinibaldus, which for Ho∣nors sake, I shall here omit. Nor does this any waies prejudice the Conception of our Savior, which was performed without any of these waies, without the Embracement of any Man, and only by the oversha∣dowing of the Holy Spirit, of which it belongs to Di∣vines to treat. If we believe Suidas, the Membrance was by the Midwives found in the Virgin Mary, when it was question'd, whether she had lost her Virginity or no; which I conceive to have been inconsistent with the Modesty of that blessed Virgin. The living Simon Magus, that he might be reputed for a God, boa∣sted that he was born of his Mother Rachel, she being a Virgin. St. Augustine conceits that in the State of Innocence, the Seed of the Man might be conveighed into the Womb of the Woman, her Virginity remain∣ing uncorrupted, even as now Menstrual blood comes out of the womb of a Virgin, without any Detriment to her Virginity. Which Opinion Vives does explain and approve.

But that Women can become fruitful without the Seed of a Man, is incredible. For Caranza judges that Story of Pomponius Mela, of certain hairy women in an Island, which are fruitful without any Copulation of Men, to be a Fable. Touching Incuboe, the Question is different, which I have handled in another place. It was lately reported in France, that Magdalena •• Aver∣mont the Wife of Hieronymus Augustus de Montelione a French Knight, did conceive a Son called Emmanuel, only by imagination, which de Lord a Professer at Mon∣pelier, made to be suspected, and P. Sanchius in the same place did wish me not to believe it. Old Authors re∣late that Mares in Portugal, do conceive by the wind, Ludovicus Carrius does justifie their report. But Justi∣nus the Epitomizer, does more rightly explain their meaning to have been only to note the fruitfulness of those Mares, and the speediness of their Conception