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XIX. So much for their mode of living and their customs. As to their seasons and their physique, the Scythians are very different from all other men, and, like the Egyptians, are homogeneous ; they are the reverse of prolific, and Scythia breeds the smallest and the fewest wild animals. For it lies right close to the north and the Rhipaean mountains, from which blows the north wind. The sun comes nearest to them only at the end of its course, when it reaches the summer solstice, and then it warms them but slightly and for a short time. The winds blowing from hot regions do not reach them, save rarely, and with little force ; but from the north there are constantly blowing winds that are chilled by snow, ice, and many waters,1 which, never leaving the mountains, render them uninhabitable. A thick fog envelops by day the plains upon which they live, so that winter is perennial, while summer, which is but feeble, lasts only a few days. For the plains are high and bare, and are not encircled with mountains, though they slope from the north. The wild animals too that are found there are not large, but such as can find shelter under ground. They are stunted owing to the severe climate and the bareness of the land, where there is neither warmth2 nor shelter. And the changes of the seasons are

[p. 123] neither great nor violent, the seasons being uniform and altering but little. Wherefore the men also are like one another in physique, since summer and winter they always use similar food and the same clothing, breathing a moist, thick atmosphere, drinking water from ice and snow, and abstaining from fatigue. For neither bodily nor mental endurance is possible where the changes are not violent. For these causes their physiques are gross, fleshy, showing no joints, moist and flabby, and the lower bowels are as moist as bowels can be. For the belly cannot possibly dry up in a land like this, with such a nature and such a climate, but because of their fat and the smoothness of their flesh their physiques are similar, men's to men's and women's to women's. For as the seasons are alike there takes place no corruption or deterioration in the coagulation of the seed,3 except through the blow of some violent cause or of some disease.

1 Or, "heavy rains."

2 Strangely enough, both Littré and Adams translate as though they took ἀλέη to be the Epic word meaning "means of escape."

3 As a modern physiologist might put it, "abnormal variations in the formation of the embryo."

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