Passing on the effects of Creo Rituals to future Generations

You have put my thoughts into words much better than I had managed to myself.

I would like to ask about some possible result that you have not mentioned directly and that I am not able to interpret from your post.

It seems to me that your proposal is that the offspring must take either after the father or the mother, but could it not be possible to take a little bit after both, to have a trait that averages out? or to use the terminology that you use in your post, could the hot and cold mix and create a lukewarm property?

Sorry I sort of went off on an example there based on Aristotle's theory without actually explaining it. Aristotle ascribes the "hot" property to the father's semen and the "cold" to the mother's menses. Traits are determined by which, if either, overpowers the other - if hot wins out they resemble the father, if cold does the mother. If neither then they will resemble some earlier ancestor instead, or the essential form with random traits depending on environmental factors.

Aristotle's theory is completely binary. The trait will entirely resemble the father, or the mother, or an earlier ancestor. What may seem like a "blending" can occur, but this is actually just the trait not resembling any ancestor and reverting to the essential form of the type. This may coincidentally seem to be a mix of the trait in the mother and father.

However, that's just Aristotle. Not all theories rejected the idea of a blending of traits - for example Hippocrates has traits as more of a continuum, which allows for blending.


Thank you for clarifying that as I had misunderstood your original post, or perhaps not. The fact that Aristotle's theory of inheritance is binary is strange to me. But oddly fitting for an old timey theory about biology.

It is good to know that other ancient theorists dont ascribe to such a strange theory.

I would like to point out that so far Lamarckian transmission of traits seems to exist among most (perhaps all) of the ancient theorists that you have cited, which to my mind means that there is very solid case to be made that having improvements caused by momentary Creo rituals persist across generations is supported in the Ars Magica universe.

Note however I am not saying that there is no case to be made as to the contrary, simply that there is a case to be made for my position.

I really like Argentinus learned thoughts on this.

Since breeding animals is not a scholarly pursuit though, but something done by the great unwashed, what would a medieval pig herder have believed?

I think the limit of Essential Nature probably would kick in. Considering it probably it's not the entire body per se what generates the seed, but it's essential nature, so the effect wouldn't pass into descendants.

Inheritance according to Aristotle we already discussed here.

Indeed. We can check with Aristotle, On the Generation of Animals: Book 4 Chapter 3:

For there are some who say that the semen, though one, is as it were a common mixture (panspermia) of many elements; just as, if one should mix many juices in one liquid and then take some from it, it would be possible to take, not an equal quantity always from each juice, but sometimes more of one and sometimes more of another, sometimes some of one and none at all of another, so they say it is with the generative fluid, which is a mixture of many elements, for the offspring resembles that parent from which it has derived most. Though this theory is obscure and in many ways fictitious, it aims at what is better expressed by saying that what is called ‘panspermia’ exists potentially, not actually; it cannot exist actually, but it can do so potentially. Also, if we assign only one sort of cause, it is not easy to explain all the phenomena, (1) the distinction of sex, (2) why the female is often like the father and the male like the mother, and again (3) the resemblance to remoter ancestors, and further (4) the reason why the offspring is sometimes unlike any of these but still a human being, but sometimes, (5) proceeding further on these lines, appears finally to be not even a human being but only some kind of animal, what is called a monstrosity.

In any case, Aristotle's On the Generation of Animals cannot be used to extend the effect of a Target Bloodline ritual beyond the bloodline affected during its Duration.

However in Book 1 he also accepts the notion that changes to an organism during its life may be passed on to the offspring:

If mutilated young are born of mutilated parents, it is for the same reason as that for which they are like them. And the young of mutilated parents are not always mutilated, just as they are not always like their parents; the cause of this must be inquired into later, for this problem is the same as that.

It's true that Aristotle rejects pangenesis, but he does not strongly reject the idea of inheriting traits that were acquired during life (though he is obviously not entirely convinced such claims are true either). So if a CrCo bloodline ritual were to improve a characteristic of an organism this could have a chance to be passed on by Aristotle's theory (but not guaranteed).

This isn't extending the magic beyond the bloodline as it was when the spell was cast, because a momentary Creo ritual results in a stable change which does not need magic to be sustained. The improvement being passed on to offspring is simply the natural passing on of acquired traits and wouldn't require magic.

That's how I see it anyway. In my earlier post I said everything hinged on pangenesis, but really I should have said it relies on acquired traits being inheritable (ala Lamarckian inheritance). The perils of writing a long post and not re-reading it fully...

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One would need to check the precise Greek wording and meaning of 'mutilated' here. I doubt he means 'maimed during its lifetime'.
EDIT: Aristotle writes 'kolobos', which is indeed generally translated as 'mutilated'. The bilingual edition to check it is here.

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Contrary to what all common sense would seem to say (to us in the present day, at least) that's exactly what he means (this is from earlier in the same book, and is a little more direct, without having to resort to the original Greek):

And these opinions are plausibly supported by such evidence as that children are born with a likeness to their parents, not in congenital but also in acquired characteristics; for before now, when the parents have had scars, the children have been born with a mark in the form of the scar in the same place, and there was a case at Chalcedon where the father had a brand on his arm and the letter was marked on the child, only confused and not clearly articulated.


Secondly, the alleged fact that mutilations are inherited, for they argue that since the parent is deficient in this part the semen does not come from thence, and the result is that the corresponding part is not formed in the offspring

Aristotle himself seems dubious of the claims, but doesn't attempt to dispute them directly. Nonetheless the idea was widely accepted enough that Aristotle feels it necessary to try and explain how it might happen, as absurd as it seems to the modern eye.

edit: I don't think he actually says as much anywhere, but I imagine Aristotle might have thought that this supported his own theory somewhat - congenital defects like a club leg could be explained by the offspring resembling a distant ancestor who was mutilated, and so passed on this potential trait.

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Anyway it doesn't help an argument, that changes acquired by T: Bloodline magic will be inherited in the bloodline, if Aristotle cautiously considers the possibility to inherit acquired mutilations.

Aristotle's cautious approach to inheritance I quoted above, especially his insistence on the manifold cases to cover, excludes attempts to derive simple inheritance mechanisms of single acquired traits from On the Generation of Animals.

OK, so Aristotle doesn't really take things definitively one way or the other - he denies pangenesis, allows for the idea of acquired characteristics being inherited and how that would be explained within his theory, but doesn't argue strongly that this is actually the case either. So let's set aside Aristotle for the time being.

If we look at some other people who might be considered authorities in 1220 (or who will soon become authorities!) pangenesis, and by extension the inheritance of acquired traits, is widely supported. The quotes below are not my own research (who would have time for that?) but instead are drawn from this article on the "History of the Idea of the Inheritance of Acquired Characters and of Pangenesis":

However for the benefit of people without access, I've re-quoted some of the excerpts below. Generally the idea of pangenesis is by far the most accepted view. Aristotle is for the most part alone in his refutation of it (at least among those authorities who were transmitted and were widely referenced in the 13th century), and almost no one denies the inhertiance of acquired traits, even if they reject pangenesis. It seems to have been mostly an accepted fact. Most importantly, it's supported by the leading minds of the 13th century (well, those who weigh in on the subject, anyway).

This for me is sufficient to conclude that both the inheritance of acquired traits and pangenesis are likely to be true in Mythic Europe. But this is only my opinion and as with all these things it's fundamentally up to the individual saga to say what's really what in Mythic Europe.

By Hippocrates (in The Sacred Disease) and other followers of the Hippocratic tradition:

As the seed comes from all parts of the body, healthy particles will come
from healthy parts, and unhealthy from unhealthy

and in Airs, Waters, and Places:

I will begin with the Longheads.. There is no other race at all with heads like theirs. Originally custom was chiefly responsible for the length of the head, but now custom is reinforced by nature. Those that have the longest heads they consider the noblest, and their custom is as follows. As
soon as a child is born they remodel its head with their hands, while it is still soft and the body tender, and force it to increase in length by applying bandages and suitable appliances, which spoil the roundness of the head and increase its length. Custom originally so acted that through force such a nature came into being; but as time went on the process became natural, so that custom no longer exercized compulsion. For the seed comes from all parts of the body, healthy seed from healthy parts, diseased seed from diseased parts. If, therefore, bald parents for the most part bald children, grey-eyed parents grey-eyed children, squinting parents squinting children, and so on with other physical peculiarities, what prevents a longheaded parent having a long-headed child?

Galen possibly followed in the tradition of Hippocrates, though with less certainty. The quote here is actually from Albertus Magnus summarising the Galenic position, I couldn't find the relevant quote directly from Galen, and the Galenic corpus is riddled with misatributions anyway but at least Albertus Magnus believed this was Galen's position:

Galen said however that he didn't know whether what Hippocrates says was true or not: but he said á propos of this idea that it was more probable that the sperm, which was the "'superfluous'" of the fourth digestion, exudes from all members of the body but especially from the head and receives by chance a mixture in the head for it is completed there more quickly, because in the head are the more noble forces of the soul.

Bartholomaeus Anglicus (just after 1220):

The matere of ye chyld is matere semniialis, that is sliedde by werkyng of generacon
And comyth of all ye parties of the fader & the moder

Albertus Magnus himself in De Animalibus book 3:

here is proof that [sperm] exudes from all members of the body because it has the potentiality of forming the whole body: and we see in many animals a member lacking at birth which was deficient in the generating forces.

and in Animalia book 15:

Besides, if what they say is true, the sons of those having defects will have imperfect and diminished members; always they will be with imperfection; and they will be incomplete and diminished in their members and this defect we see to exist with our own eyes. Nevertheless, in the following writings, we shall inquire the cause of both of these- namely, as much the cause of the similarity of children with their parents as the reason of the diminution of the members, which exists sometimes in parents and not in sons. For this question concerning the aforesaid accidents of both [similarity and diminution] is a common one.

He also has a rather long passage in De Nutrimento book 1 about it, but it's mainly refuting specific details of how the sperm is mixed and formed so it's not worth quoting here.

Thomas Aquinas also has a rather lengthy essay on the topic which comes to roughly similar (pro-pangenesis) conclusions. And specifically on the topic of the inheritance of acquired traits he writes (most concerned, as always, with the theological implications):

...thus a leper may beget a leper, or a gouty man may be the father of a gouty son, on account of some seminal corruption, although this corruption is not leprousy or gout... But all these explanations are insufficient. Because, granted that some bodily defects are transmitted by way of origin from parent to child, and granted that even some defects of the soul are transmitted in consequence, on account of a defect in the bodily habit, as in the case of idiots begetting idiots; nevertheless the fact of having a defect, by way of origin seems to exclude the notion of guilt, which is essentially something voluntary.

And by Roger Bacon (Opus Majus, part 6), mainly concerned with why men seem to live shorter lives than the biblical patriarchs:

Very rarely does it happen that anyone pays sufficient heed to the rules of health. No one does so in his youth, but sometimes one in three thousand thinks of these matters when he is old and approaching death, for at times he fears for himself and thinks of his health. But he can- not then apply a remedy because of his weakened powers and sense and his lack of experience. Therefore fathers are weakened and beget weak sons with a liability to premature death. Then by neglect of the rules of health the sons weaken themselves, and thus the son's son has a doubly weakened constitution, and in his turn weakens himself by a disregard of these rules. Thus a weakened constitution passes from father to sons, until a final shortening of life has been reached as is the case in these days ... the longevity of man has been shortened contrary to nature. Moreover, it has been proved that this excessive shortening of the span of life has been retarded in many cases, and longevity prolonged for many years by secret experiment.

The last part of which sounds suspiciously like he's talking about magi...

Whoof, that ended up a wall of text. On the bright side, writing this has been giving me all sorts of ideas about how this could be applied for original research on medical magic...

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Note that the Menagerie of Magical Beasts in Hermetic Projects has rules for animals inheriting traits. There are charts for random outcomes, but, broadly, the most common result is for the offspring to resemble its male parent, with chances of it resembling the female parent or having improved / worsened traits.

Hopefully forgivable necromancy, thought this would be better than starting a new topic:

I've long wondered about whether a bloodline could be boosted with magical items (conc duration, items maintain concentration). Would this cause warping?

Bonus points if these items are fueled by spirits trapped in canopic jars, buried in the original item-maker's grave...


A target bloodline effect can be designed to not warp a singular bloodline. An interesting implication of all of this is that in theory if a version of a longevity ritual could be devised which still allowed for procreation (though this may be opposed by the essential properties of how a longevity potion works, if for example it redirects the procreative energies towards preservation) then it suggests that a child conceived under the auspices of such a longevity ritual would inherit, in some way, its effect.

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If you take the Hyperborean magic section of Ancient Magic as being true, then a version of longevity magic which doesn't have the infertility downside is definitely possible, though the warping seems inescapable.

The Hyperborean version of a longevity ritual has to be recast every 19 years, but basically just allows the target to not age with no downsides or side-effects (other than annual warping).

In the same chapter there is an inset that says some Trianomae think that Trianoma and Tremere enforced join-or-die (emphasis on the die) against the last Hyperborean wizards because they wanted the secrets of longevity - in which case the hermetic longevity ritual is a poorly integrated version of the Hyperborean one.

But that all depends on whether you consider the Hyperorean stuff to be true in you saga, and even then the thing about longevity rituals is only hearsay. I quite like it as an explanation though, myself.

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Is it really a downside, though? Maybe if you're foolish enough to take the LR at 20, but most magi have plenty of opportunity to have children, considering most folks in the 13th century have children from 16-35.

Obviously the Gift is a bit of a barrier to finding love and starting a family...except that magi can look within Hermetic society for that (and arguably it's a better place for magi to look for a relationship). If you haven't had children by the time you take your LR, you probably haven't been trying.

The magi working on LRs probably held that view as well, though I imagine that if you get a good LR in your 30's, you'll be healthy and vigorous enough to consider having more kids for decades to come, but there's always grandchildren, which are all the fun and a fraction of the work.

But yes, Hyperborean longevity is all kinds of broken compared to the Hermetic version. But that's a lot of Hyperborean magics.

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The issue for Hermetics is that of apprenticeship- if you start at age 10 you are 25 when you finish, well past the typical age for bearing children in medieval society, with only 10 years before you are likely to be starting a LR. Even if you start the apprenticeship at age 5 you are already 20 when you are done, meaning that even if you are having children as an apprentice there is a strong likelihood they will be considered illegitimate.
Admittedly this might shift with setting- a merchant family in Italy might well be willing to marry their daughter to a Verditius to cement a venditore relationship...

Yes, of course, but it's easy to look at modern western society, where people emerge from University in the same circumstances - probably single in their early 20's, without children. Still plenty of time and opportunity to seek a mate.

Players of the game itself don't generally do this, because it's less interesting as a game, but looked at from the perspective of the NPC magi, there should be a lot of young magi moving around looking for a spouse among other young magi - and that there isn't some society in the Order facilitating this is a real oversight, you think House Jerbiton (and/or Tremere) would be running a huge matchmaking ring to get magi to settle down.

Heck, even House Tytalus might do it, which would be either spectacularly good or bad, depending.


On the other hand in modern culture where this is done there is a general drop in population levels, and that's with people being fertile and some women waiting until age 45- not an option with a longevity ritual! Of course it is fairly standard in the middle ages for men to marry younger, but this makes the situation worse, since the men become infertile at 35 while real world men remain fertile until after their 80's (barring other medical problems). Now I suppose a male magus could preserve their semen in enchanted jars... on the other side I have to wonder what happens when a 34 year old male magus knocks up their 16 year old female apprentice... dark sides of ars magica they don't often go into...

Peter Abelard (1079) and Héloïse (1090 or 1100) had a kid after 1116, before she was 22. He was between 37 and 40 at the time.

Might as well pick a legendary historical figures as samples.