No ancient critic appears to have doubted the authenticity of this work, and only Haller among the moderns has rejected it.

It is divided roughly into two parts. The first (Chapters I-XI) deals chiefly with the effects of climate and situation upon health ; the second (XII-XXIV) deals chiefly with the effects of climate upon character. At the end of XII a portion has been lost dealing with the Egyptians and Libyans.

The style of the book has the dignified restraint which we associate with the Hippocratic group of treatises. In tone it is strikingly dogmatic, conclusions being enunciated without the evidence upon which they are based. Modern physicians are sceptical about many of these conclusions while fully recognizing the value of the principle that geographical conditions and climate influence health.

The second part of the work is scarcely medical at all, but rather ethnographical. It bears a close resemblance to certain parts of Herodotus, but lacks the graceful bonhomie which is so characteristic of the latter writer. Indeed it is hard not to see a close connection between the account of the impotent effeminates of Chapter XXII and the ἐνάρεες2 of Herodotus I. 105.

[p. 67]


THE chief MSS. are V and R, the latter being a fifteenth-century MS. at Rome called Codex Barberinus. To these must be added the readings of a MS. called by Kéhlewein b, which is now lost, but its readings have been noted by Gadaldinus of Venice. There are two Paris MSS. worth noticing. One (2255 or E) divides the treatise into two parts, and the other (7027) is a Latin translation which sometimes helps in the reconstruction of the text.

The work has often been edited. The earliest edition was published at Venice in 1497, and there were at least ten others during the sixteenth century.1 The best edition is that of Coray (2 vols., Paris, 1800). Though verbose it is both scholarly and medically accurate, Coray being a Greek by birth, a medical man by training, and a scholar by inclination.

There are English translations by Peter Low (London, 1597), John Moffat (London, 1788), Francis Clifton (London, 1734), and, of course, Francis Adams (London, 1849).

The following table, taken from Aetius III. 164, may prove useful in determining the periods of the year mentioned in the Hippocratic writings.

March 23 . . ἰς1ημερία ἐαρινή.

April 1 . . αἱ πληιάδες2 ἀκρόνυχοι φαίνονται.

April 19 . . αἱ πληιάδες2 ἑς1πέπιοι κρύπτονται.

April 21 . . αἱ πληιάδες2 ἀμα ἡλίου ἀνατολῇ ἐπιτέλλους1ι.

May 7 . . . αἱ πληιάδες2 ἑὧαι φαίνονται (heliacal rising).

[p. 68] June 6 . . . ἀρκτοῦρος2 δύνει.

June 25 . . τροπαὶ θεριναί.

July 19 . . κύων εὧος2 ἐπιτέλλει.

September 17 ἀρκτοῦρος2 ἐπιτέλλει (heliacal rising).

September 25 ἰς1ημερία φθινοπωρινή.

November 6 αἱ πληιάδες ἑὧαι δύνους1ι (cosmic setting).

December 23 τροπαὶ χειμεριναί.

February 25 ἀρκτοῦρος2 ἑς1πέριος2 ἐπιτέλλει καὶ (26) χελιδόνες2 πέτονται καὶ φαίνονται.

Spring began with the equinox, but was often popularly dated from the appearance of swallows and the acronychal rising of Arcturus in February. The heliacal rising of the Pleiades marked the beginning of summer, which ended with that of Arcturus, an event nearly coinciding with the autumnal equinox. Finally, winter began with the cosmic setting of the Pleiades.

A star is said to rise heliacally when it gets far enough in front of the sun to be visible before dawn. It sets cosmically when it gets so much further in advance as to be first seen setting in the west before dawn. The acronychal is the evening rising of a star, when it is visible all night, and contrasts with the heliacal, or morning, rising, when it soon disappears in the sun's rays.

Galen, in his commentary on the third section of Aphorisms, implies that there are two meanings of μεταβολαὶ τῶν ὡρέων, a common term in Airs Waters Places :

(1) the actual changes from season to season ;

[p. 69] (2) sharp contrasts of weather during the seasons.

It is clear from the passages in Airs Waters Places where the phrase occurs that it may have either meaning. The notion underlying it is that of violent change in the weather.

The reader should note the meanings of the following :

(1) "between the winter rising of the sun and the winter setting," i. e. roughly E.S.E. to W.S.W.;

(2) "between the summer setting and the summer rising," i. e. roughly W.N.W. to E.N.E.;

(3) "between the summer and winter risings," i. e. roughly E.N.E. to E.S.E.

The exact number of degrees is a question of latitude. The directions given above are roughly correct for the Mediterranean area.

1 See Littré, II. 9, 10.

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