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On Airs, Waters, And Places   

WHOEVER wishes to investigate medicine properly, should proceed
thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year, and what
effects each of them produces for they are not at all alike, but
differ much from themselves in regard to their changes. Then the
winds, the hot and the cold, especially such as are common to all
countries, and then such as are peculiar to each locality. We must
also consider the qualities of the waters, for as they differ from one
another in taste and weight, so also do they differ much in their
qualities. In the same manner, when one comes into a city to which
he is a stranger, he ought to consider its situation, how it lies as
to the winds and the rising of the sun; for its influence is not the
same whether it lies to the north or the south, to the rising or to
the setting sun. These things one ought to consider most
attentively, and concerning the waters which the inhabitants use,
whether they be marshy and soft, or hard, and running from elevated
and rocky situations, and then if saltish and unfit for cooking; and
the ground, whether it be naked and deficient in water, or wooded
and well watered, and whether it lies in a hollow, confined situation,
or is elevated and cold; and the mode in which the inhabitants live,
and what are their pursuits, whether they are fond of drinking and
eating to excess, and given to indolence, or are fond of exercise
and labor, and not given to excess in eating and drinking.
2. From these things he must proceed to investigate everything else.
For if one knows all these things well, or at least the greater part
of them, he cannot miss knowing, when he comes into a strange city,
either the diseases peculiar to the place, or the particular nature of
common diseases, so that he will not be in doubt as to the treatment
of the diseases, or commit mistakes, as is likely to be the case
provided one had not previously considered these matters. And in
particular, as the season and the year advances, he can tell what
epidemic diseases will attack the city, either in summer or in winter,
and what each individual will be in danger of experiencing from the
change of regimen. For knowing the changes of the seasons, the risings
and settings of the stars, how each of them takes place, he will be
able to know beforehand what sort of a year is going to ensue.
Having made these investigations, and knowing beforehand the
seasons, such a one must be acquainted with each particular, and
must succeed in the preservation of health, and be by no means
unsuccessful in the practice of his art. And if it shall be thought
that these things belong rather to meteorology, it will be admitted,
on second thoughts, that astronomy contributes not a little, but a
very great deal, indeed, to medicine. For with the seasons the
digestive organs of men undergo a change.
3. But how of the aforementioned things should be investigated and
explained, I will now declare in a clear manner. A city that is
exposed to hot winds (these are between the wintry rising, and the
wintry setting of the sun), and to which these are peculiar, but which
is sheltered from the north winds; in such a city the waters will be
plenteous and saltish, and as they run from an elevated source, they
are necessarily hot in summer, and cold in winter; the heads of the
inhabitants are of a humid and pituitous constitution, and their
bellies subject to frequent disorders, owing to the phlegm running
down from the head; the forms of their bodies, for the most part,
are rather flabby; they do not eat nor drink much; drinking wine in
particular, and more especially if carried to intoxication, is
oppressive to them; and the following diseases are peculiar to the
district: in the first place, the women are sickly and subject to
excessive menstruation; then many are unfruitful from disease, and not
from nature, and they have frequent miscarriages; infants are
subject to attacks of convulsions and asthma, which they consider to
be connected with infancy, and hold to be a sacred disease (epilepsy).
The men are subject to attacks of dysentery, diarrhea, hepialus,
chronic fevers in winter, of epinyctis, frequently, and of hemorrhoids
about the anus. Pleurisies, peripneumonies, ardent fevers, and

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