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1 So then spring is the most salubrious, next after it comes winter; summer is rather more dangerous than salubrious, autumn is by far the most dangerous. But as regards weather the best is that which is settled, whether cold or hot, the worst that which is the most changeable, and that is why autumn brings down the greatest number. For generally about midday there is heat, but at night and in the early morning, cold, as also in the evening. Thus the body, relaxed by the preceding summer, and now by the midday heat, is caught by the sudden cold. But while this chiefly occurs at this season, so whenever the like happens harm is done.

In settled weather fine days are the most salubrious, rainy better than foggy or cloudy days; and in winter the best days are those in which there is an entire absence of wind, in summer those in which westerly winds blow. As for the other winds, the northerly are more salubrious than those from the sunrising or south; nevertheless, these vary somewhat according to the character of the district. For almost everywhere wind when coming from inland is salubrious, and injurious when from the sea. And not only is health more assured in settled weather, but pre-existing diseases also, if there have been any, are milder and more quickly terminated. But the worst weather for the sick man is that which has[p. 89] caused his sickness, so much so that a change to weather of a naturally worse sort may be, in his condition, salutary.

The middle period of life is the safest, for it is not disturbed by the heat of youth, nor by the chill of age. Old age is more exposed to chronic diseases, youth to acute ones. The square-built frame, neither thin nor fat, is the fittest; for tallness, as it is graceful in youth, shrinks in the fulness of age; a thin frame is weak, a fat one sluggish.

In spring those diseases are usually to be apprehended which are stirred up anew by movement of humor. Consequently there tend to arise runnings from the eyes, pustules, haemorrhages, congestions in the body, which the Greeks call apostemata, black bile which they call μελανχολίαν, madness, fits, angina, choked nostrils, runnings from the nose. Also those diseases which affect joints and sinews, being at one time troublesome, at another quiescent, then especially both begin and recur.

But summer, while not wholly exempt from most of the foregoing maladies, adds to them fevers whether continued or ardent or tertian, vomitings, diarrhoeas, earaches, oral ulcerations, cankers which occur on other parts but especially upon the pudenda, and whatever exhausts the patient by sweating.

In autumn there is scarcely one of the foregoing which does not happen; but at this season in addition there arise irregular fevers, splenic pain, subcutaneous dropsy, consumption, called by the Greeks phthisis, urinary difficulty, which they call strangury, the[p. 91] small intestine malady which they term ileos, the intestinal lubricity which they call leienteria, hip-pains, fits. Autumn too is a season fatal to those exhausted by chronic diseases and overwhelmed by the heat just past, others it weakens by fresh maladies; and it involves some in very chronic ones, especially quartan fevers, which may last even through the winter. Nor is any other period of the year more exposed to pestilence of whatever sort; although it is harmful in a variety of ways.

Winter provokes headache, coughs, and all the affections which attack the throat, and the sides of the chest and lungs.

Of the various sorts of weather, the north wind excites cough, irritates the throat, constipates the bowels, suppresses the urine, excites shiverings, as also pain of the lungs and chest. Nevertheless it is bracing to a healthy body, rendering it more mobile and brisk. The south wind dulls hearing, blunts the senses, produces headache, loosens the bowels; the body as a whole is rendered sluggish, humid, languid. The other winds, as they approximate to the north or south wind, produce affections corresponding to the one or other. Moreover, any hot weather inflates the liver and spleen, and dulls the mind; the result is that there are faintings, that there is an outburst of blood. Cold on the other hand brings about: at times tenseness of sinews which the Greeks call spasmos, at times the rigor which they call tetanos, the blackening of ulcerations, shiverings in fevers. In times of drought there arise acute fevers, runnings from the eyes, dysenteries, urinary difficulty, articular pains. In wet weather there occur chronic fevers, diarrhoeas, angina, canker,[p. 93] fits, and the loosening of sinews which the Greeks call paralysis. Not only does the weather of the day but also of the preceding days matter. If a dry winter has been accompanied by north winds, or again a spring by south winds and rain, generally there ensue runnings from the eye, dysenteries, fevers, and most of all in more delicate bodies, hence especially in women. If on the other hand south winds and rain have prevailed during winter, and the spring is cold and dry, pregnant women near their confinement are in danger of miscarrying; those indeed who reach term, give birth only to weaklings hardly alive. Other people are attacked by dry ophthalmia, and if elderly by choked nostrils and runnings from the nose. But when the south wind prevails from the beginning of winter to the end of spring, side pains, also the insanity of those in fever which is called phrenesis, are very rapidly fatal. And when hot weather begins in the spring, and lasts through the summer, severe sweating must ensue in cases of fever. If a summer has been kept dry by northerly winds, but in the autumn there are showers and south winds, there may then arise cough, runnings from the nose, hoarseness, and indeed in some, consumption. But if the autumn is dry owing to a north wind continuing to blow, all those with more delicate bodies, among whom, as I have mentioned, are women, enjoy good health. The harder constitutions, however, may possibly be attacked by dry ophthalmias, and by fevers, some acute, some chronic, also by those maladies which arise from black bile.

As regards the various times of life, children and [p. 95]adolescents enjoy the best health in spring, and are safest in early summer; old people are at their best during summer and the beginning of autumn; young and middle-aged adults in winter. At these periods should any indisposition arise, it is very probable that infants and children still of tender age should suffer from the creeping ulcerations of the mouth which the Greeks call aphthas, vomiting, insomnia, discharges from the ear, and inflammations about the navel. Especially in those teething there arise ulcerations of the gums, slight fevers, sometimes spasms, diarrhoea; and they suffer as the canine teeth in particular are growing up; the most well-nourished children, and those constipated, are especially in danger. In those somewhat older there occur affections of the tonsils, various spinal curvatures, swelling in the neck, the painful kind of warts which the Greeks call acrochordones, and a number of other swellings. At the commencement of puberty, in addition to many of the above troubles, there occur chronic fevers and also nose-bleedings. Throughout childhood there are special dangers, first about the fortieth day, then in the seventh month, next in the seventh year, and after that about puberty. The sorts of affections which occur in infancy, when not ended by the time of puberty, or of the first coitions, or of the first menstruations in the females, generally become chronic; more often, however, puerile affections, after persisting for a rather long while, come to an end. Adolescence is liable to acute diseases, such as fits, especially to consumption; those who spit blood are generally youths. After that age come on[p. 97] pain in the side and lung, lethargy, cholera, madness, and outpourings of blood from certain mouths of veins which the Greeks call haemorrhoids. In old age there occur breathing and urinary difficulties, choked nostrils, joint and renal pains, paralysis, the bad habit of body which the Greeks call cachexia, insomnias, the more chronic maladies of the ears, eyes, also of the nostrils, and especially looseness of the bowels with its sequences, dysentery, intestinal lubricity, and the other ills due to bowel looseness. In addition thin people are fatigued by consumption, diarrhoea, running from the nose, pain in the lung and side. The obese, many of them, are throttled by acute diseases and difficult breathing; they die often suddenly, which rarely happens in a thinner person.

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load focus Introduction (Charles Victor Daremberg, 1891)
load focus Latin (Charles Victor Daremberg, 1891)
load focus Latin (W. G. Spencer, 1971)
load focus Latin (Friedrich Marx, 1915)
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