Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Hippocrates
Pages of On Airs, Waters, And Places



Previous | Next
                  

On Airs, Waters, And Places   


great and frequent, and because the heat is strong, the winters
severe, and there are frequent rains, and again protracted droughts,
and winds, from which many and diversified changes are induced.
These changes are likely to have an effect upon generation in the
coagulation of the semen, as this process cannot be the same in summer
as in winter, nor in rainy as in dry weather; wherefore, I think, that
the figures of Europeans differ more than those of Asiatics; and
they differ very much from one another as to stature in the same city;
for vitiations of the semen occur in its coagulation more frequently
during frequent changes of the seasons, than where they are alike
and equable. And the same may be said of their dispositions, for the
wild, and unsociable, and the passionate occur in such a constitution;
for frequent excitement of the mind induces wildness, and extinguishes
sociableness and mildness of disposition, and therefore I think the
inhabitants of Europe more courageous than those of Asia; for a
climate which is always the same induces indolence, but a changeable
climate, laborious exertions both of body and mind; and from rest
and indolence cowardice is engendered, and from laborious exertions
and pains, courage. On this account the inhabitants of Europe are than
the Asiatics, and also owing to their institutions, because they are
not governed by kings like the latter, for where men are governed by
kings there they must be very cowardly, as I have stated before; for
their souls are enslaved, and they will not willingly, or readily
undergo dangers in order to promote the power of another; but those
that are free undertake dangers on their own account, and not for
the sake of others; they court hazard and go out to meet it, for
they themselves bear off the rewards of victory, and thus their
institutions contribute not a little to their courage.
Such is the general character of Europe and Asia.
24. And there are in Europe other tribes, differing from one another
in stature, shape, and courage: the differences are those I formerly
mentioned, and will now explain more clearly. Such as inhabit a
country which is mountainous, rugged, elevated, and well watered,
and where the changes of the seasons are very great, are likely to
have great variety of shapes among them, and to be naturally of an
enterprising and warlike disposition; and such persons are apt to have
no little of the savage and ferocious in their nature; but such as
dwell in places which are low-lying, abounding in meadows and ill
ventilated, and who have a larger proportion of hot than of cold
winds, and who make use of warm waters- these are not likely to be
of large stature nor well proportioned, but are of a broad make,
fleshy, and have black hair; and they are rather of a dark than of a
light complexion, and are less likely to be phlegmatic than bilious;
courage and laborious enterprise are not naturally in them, but may be
engendered in them by means of their institutions. And if there be
rivers in the country which carry off the stagnant and rain water from
it, these may be wholesome and clear; but if there be no rivers, but
the inhabitants drink the waters of fountains, and such as are
stagnant and marshy, they must necessarily have prominent bellies
and enlarged spleens. But such as inhabit a high country, and one that
is level, windy, and well-watered, will be large of stature, and
like to one another; but their minds will be rather unmanly and
gentle. Those who live on thin, ill-watered, and bare soils, and not
well attempered in the changes of the seasons, in such a country
they are likely to be in their persons rather hard and well braced,
rather of a blond than a dark complexion, and in disposition and
passions haughty and self-willed. For, where the changes of the
seasons are most frequent, and where they differ most from one
another, there you will find their forms, dispositions, and nature the
most varied. These are the strongest of the natural causes of
difference, and next the country in which one lives, and the waters;
for, in general, you will find the forms and dispositions of mankind
to correspond with the nature of the country; for where the land is
fertile, soft, and well-watered, and supplied with waters from very

Previous | Next
Site Search