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I recently saw the following tumblr meme on Facebook:

virgin blood tumblr meme

This strikes me more as a fanciful reinterpretation than an actual etymology (a la the more recent interpretation of "blood is thicker than water"). I'm wondering, is there any evidence to support the user's claim about the origin of "virgin blood"?

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According a 1788 printing of The Works of Aristotle (which wasn't really by Aristotle) "virgin blood" means the blood of a virgin.

A third cause of natural barrenness is, the letting of virgins' blood in the arm before their courses come down

...

The way to prevent this is to let no Virgin blood in the arm before her course' come down well

See also this 1784 printing and 1791 printing.

Also, the 1827 The Seven Tragedies of Æschylus, Literally Translated Into English Prose says:

if I shall slay my child, the idol of my house, staining a father's hands beside the altar with the streams of her virgin blood...the blood of the virgin ... her virgin life

  • I could be wrong, but reading the excerpts from the book, it doesn't seem clear that the context is the same. They seem more like (obviously outdated) medical commentary, rather than components of supernatural rituals. While it's not impossible, I personally wouldn't assume that, even if the excerpts were referring to the blood of virgins, that they are the same in that context and the question's. – Harris Aug 30 '18 at 18:41
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    @HarrisWeinstein that true. There don't seem to be many instances of the phrase "virgin blood" being used at all actually. – DavePhD Aug 30 '18 at 18:43
  • I do wonder how much of a trope it actually was, outside of blood libels. – Harris Aug 30 '18 at 18:48
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    @HarrisWeinstein is this better: " if I shall slay my child, the idol of my house, staining a father's hands beside the altar with the streams of her virgin blood" books.google.com/… ? – DavePhD Aug 30 '18 at 18:57
  • Yeah, that looks like much clearer evidence. I personally interpret that as referencing the blood of a virgin. It being about "unused blood" doesn't make much sense to me in the context of killing the person as part of the act. Good find! – Harris Aug 30 '18 at 19:15

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