Aristotle's Historia Animalium and Apis reproduction.




Apidae, Apinae, Apini, Apis


The details of observations and accounts recorded in Aristotle’s Historia Animalium have been cataloged by scholars for decades.The degree to which his interpretations and accounts are accurate and demonstrate an actual understanding of honey bee biology have been debated.Throughout these discussions, however, it appears that one observation dutifully recorded has escaped notice.Aristotle made note of the direct product of the haplodiploid sex determination system, attesting to the power of his accounts, although he made no attempt to interpret it.


Metrics Loading ...


Barnes, J. 1984. The Complete Works of Aristotle [Bollingen Series LXXI:2]. Princeton University Press; Princeton, NJ; xiii+1250 pp. [volume 1], vii+1251–2487 pp. [volume 2].

Butler, C. 1609. The feminine monarchie; or, a treatise concerning bees, and the dve [divine] ordering of them; wherein the truth, found out by experience and diligent observation, discovereith the idle and fond conceipts, which many have written anent this subiect. Ioseph Barnes; Oxford, UK; [16]+182 pp.

Cook, A.B. 1895. The bee in Greek mythology. Journal of Hellenic Studies 15: 1–24.

Davies, M., & J. Kathirithamby. 1986. Greek Insects. Oxford University Press; Oxford, UK; xvi+[i]+211 pp.

Frisch, K., von. 1965. Tanzsprache und Orientierung der Bienen. Springer Verlag; Berlin, Germany; vii+578 pp.

Haldane, J.B.S. 1955. Aristotle’s account of bees’ ‘dances’. Journal of Hellenic Studies 75: 24–25.

Hartlib, S. 1655. The Reformed Commonwealth of Bees: Presented in severall letters and observations to Sammuel Hartlib, Esq.: With the reformed Virginian silkworm, containing many excellent and choice secrets, experiments, and discoveries for attaining of national and private profits and riches. Giles Calvert; London, UK; [ii]+62+[2]+40 pp.

Niclas, J.N. 1781. Geoponicorum, siue de re rustica libri XX. Cassiano Basso, scholastico, collectore; antea Constantino Porphyrogenneto a quibusdam adscripti; Graece et Latine post Petri Needhami curas ad mss. fidem denuo recensi [sic] et illustrati. Sumtu Caspari Fritsch; Lipsiae [Leipzig], Germany; [xii]+cviii+262+[2] pp., 263–562+[4] pp., 563–928+[2] pp., 929–1274+[142] pp. [NB: 1781 printing of text from Emperor Constantinus VII Porphyrogenitus (905–959) of Byzantium in four volumes]

Ransome, H.M. 1937. The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore. Houghton Mifflin Co.; Boston, MA; 308 pp.

Swammerdam, J. 1737. Biblia Naturae; sive Historia insectorum, in classes certas redacta, nec non exemplis, et anatomico variorum animalculorum examine, aeneisque tabulis illustrata. Insertis numerosis rariorum naturae observationibus. Omnia lingua Batava, auctori vernacula, conscripta. Accedit preafatio, in qua viam auctoris descripsit [Bybel der natuure; of, Histoire der insecten, tot zeekere zoorten gebracht: Door voorbeelden, ontleedkundige onderzoekingen van veerlerhande kleine gediertens, als ook door kunstige kopere plaaten opgeheldert. Verrykt met ontelbaare waarnemingen van nooit ontdekte zeldzaamheden in de natuur. Alles in de Hollandsche, des auteurs moedertaale, beschreven. Hier by komt een vooreeden, waar in het leven van den auteur beschreven is door]. Severinus; Leiden, The Netherlands; [xlv]+362 pp., +16 pls. [Eerste deel / Tome I], [xii]+367–910+124 [Tabulae harumque breves explicationes, quibus Biblia Naturae]+[36] pp., +53 pls. [Deel twee / Tomus II] [Bilingual text, Latin and Dutch: published posthumously by Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738) and Hieronymus D. Gaubius (1705–1780); Swammderam lived 1637–1680; Apis is in the second volume].

Whitfield, B.G. 1958. Aristotle and the dance of the bees. The Classical Review 8(1): 14–15.




How to Cite

Engel, M. S. (2013). Aristotle’s Historia Animalium and Apis reproduction. Journal of Melittology, 4, 1-3.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >>