previous next

2 The weak, however, among whom are a large portion of townspeople, and almost all those fond of letters, need greater precaution, so that care may re-establish what the character of their constitution or of their residence or of their study detracts. Anyone therefore of these who has digested well may with safety rise early; if too little, he must stay in bed, or if he has been obliged to get up early, must go to sleep again; he who has not digested, should lie up altogether, and neither work nor take exercise nor attend to business. He who without heartburn eructates undigested food should drink cold water at intervals and none the less exercise self-control.

He should also reside in a house that is light, airy in summer, sunny in winter; avoid the midday sun, the morning and evening chill, also exhalations from rivers and marshes; and he should not often expose himself when the sky is cloudy to a sun that breaks through . . ., lest he should be affected alternately by cold and heat — a thing which excites[p. 47] particularly choked nostrils and running colds. Much more indeed are these things to be watched in unhealthy localities, where they even produce pestilence.

He can tell that his body is sound, if his morning urine is whitish, later reddish; the former indicates that digestion is going on, the latter that digestion is complete. On waking one should lie still for a while, then, except in winter time, bathe the face freely with cold water; when the days are long the siesta should be taken before the midday meal, when short, after it. In winter, it is best to rest in bed the whole night long; if there must be study by lamp-light, it should not be immediately after taking food, but after digestion. He who has been engaged in the day, whether in domestic or on public affairs, ought to keep some portion of the day for the care of the body. The primary care in this respect is exercise, which should always precede the taking of food; the exercise should be ampler in the case of one who has laboured less and digested less well.

Useful exercises are: reading aloud, drill, handball, running, walking; but this is not by any means most useful on the level, since walking up and down hill varies the movement of the body, unless indeed the body is thoroughly weak; but it is better to walk in the open air than under cover; better, when the head allows of it, in the sun than in the shade; better under the shade of a wall or of trees than under a roof; better a straight than a winding walk. But the exercise ought to come to an end with sweating, or at any rate lassitude, which should be[p. 49] well this side of fatigue; and sometimes less, sometimes more, is to be done. But in these matters, as before, the example of athletes should not be followed, with their fixed rules and immoderate labour. The proper sequel to exercise is: at times an anointing, whether in the sun or before a brazier; at times a bath, which should be in a chamber as lofty, well lighted and spacious as possible. However, neither should be made use of invariably, but one of the two the oftener, in accordance with the constitution. There is need of a short rest afterwards.

Coming to food, a surfeit is never of service, excessive abstinence is often unserviceable; if any intemperance is committed, it is safer in drinking than in eating. It is better to begin a meal with savouries, salads and such-like; and after that meat is to be eaten, best either when roasted or boiled. All preserved fruits are unserviceable for two reasons, because more is taken owing to their sweetness, and even what is moderate is still digested with some difficulty. Dessert does no harm to a good stomach, in a weak one it turns sour. Whoever then in this respect has too little strength, had better eat dates, apples and such-like at the beginning of the meal. After many drinkings which have somewhat exceeded the demands of thirst, nothing should be eaten; after a surfeit of food there should be no exertion. Anyone who has had his fill digests the more readily if he concludes the meal with a drink of cold water, then after keeping awake for a time has a sound sleep. When a full meal is taken at[p. 51] midday, after it there should be no exposure to cold, heat or fatigue, which do not harm the body so easily when it is empty as when it is full. When from whatever causes there is prospective want of food, everything laborious should be avoided.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

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)
hide References (25 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: