(a short essay for my 36th birthday)
I came across this text in Stobaeus' Eclogae. It's a characterization of Hippocrates' beliefs about medicine, purportedly from Galen, but I doubt this attribution is correct. (I'll explain why in a minute.) I couldn't find an English translation or discussion of it, so I translated it here. I think lots can be said about it, and I hope this gives more people a chance to look at it.
[ed: Jouanna made a new edition of it in 2008 with French translation: J. Jouanna, « Un Galien oublié: "Caractéristiques propres à Hippocrate" (Stobée, Anthologie 4.37.14), avec une nouvelle édition », Storia della tradizione e edizione dei medici greci. Atti del VI Colloquio internazionale, Paris 12-14 aprile 2008, Collectanea 27, Napoli, M. D'Auria, 2010, p. 199-229]
The text comes from a section of the Eclogae on regimen or healthy way of life (περὶ ὑγείας καὶ τῆς περὶ τὴν διαμονήν αὐτῆς προνοίας = Eclogae 4.37). The section includes quotations from Pythagoras, Alcmaeon, Plato, Plutarch, Aristoxenus, "Socrates", "Gorgias", and "Hippocrates" - quite a weird mix.
There is one other author, who is quoted more than the others (eight times total): the doctor and surgeon, Antyllus. In fact, four fragments of Antyllus' writings come immediately after this passage, all on differences in the air according to things like time of day, time of year, and geography. (Air was often thought to be a cause of disease: more famously in extreme cases, like the miasmata caused by putrefying air, sometimes in cases we don't often think about today, like morning or afternoon air, but also in cases which we still think about, like smokey or dirty city air.)
The text presents a series of claims about medicine which are "believed by Hippocrates" ("ἀρέσκει δὲ αὐτῷ" and variants). First, we are given Hippocrates' beliefs about physiology (and in what texts he wrote about them). Physiology here begins with whatever things are 'evident' (ἐναργῆ), and that means the primary division is that of the body into solids, liquids and gases. These are in turn associated with tissues (solids), pneuma and the four humours (liquids). Next, we get a statement of his beliefs about the analogy between humours, times of life of a human being, seasons of the year, times of day, and their relation to the qualities hot, cold, moist and dry. We then get a discussion of the differences in qualities (hot cold moist dry) of men and women, the function of the humours, his views on reproduction, and the relationship between bodily axes (right / left, up / down). Last come his views on pathology, followed by therapy and prognostics, and especially the importance of knowing critical days and affected parts.
In Hense's text of the Eclogae, he prints "Galen's" ("Γαληνοῦ'), and there is nothing in the critical apparatus to suggest it was attributed to any other author. Hense, who edited Stobaeus for Teubner in the early 1900s, writes: "ecl. cum lemm. hab. S, om. M A. Gesnerum fere sequitur Charterius." I think what he is saying is that the title is missing in manuscripts M and A (although maybe it means the whole thing is missing in M and A?), and also that Chartier, who included it in his edition of Galen of 1638/9, followed Gesner's 1559 edition of Stobaeus (or followed him in attributing it to Galen? or what? I don't know how to read these properly). I haven't checked M (codex Mendozae Escurialensis LXXXX Σ II 14) or A (codex Parisinus Graecus 1984) to see what they say, but it would be worth doing.
Whether or not Galen's name is in the manuscripts, I think it is pretty unlikely that this text comes from him. It seems to me to contradict some basic commitments Galen ascribes to Hippocrates, particularly about the elements and about the relationship between the seasons of the year, times of life, the humours, and the four-qualities. For example, in Mixtures 1.3-4, Galen says that the attempts to find analogies like the ones in our passage are the result of a lack of scientific training, and he suggests the passages from Hippocrates' writings, which others use to support the analogy, are misinterpreted. One might say that Galen does not state explicitly what he thinks Hippocrates' views on this relationship are, only that it is incorrect to think there is in fact an analogy between the seasons and mixtures and that in each season one quality dominates. But the fact Galen thinks these people get Hippocrates wrong suggests to me that he thinks Hippocrates did not commit such an error.
Regarding the elements, Galen wrote a whole book explaining that the primary elements according to Hippocrates are earth, air, water and fire, which are not elements evident to perception. I have not come across any passages where Galen attributes the three-fold division of the body (into solid parts, liquid parts, and pneumata) to Hippocrates, although he writes of other doctors who did. I've written about these passages here before.
My hunch then is that this text is not from Galen, but that it comes either from Antyllus, or from some book (or passage in a book) incorrectly ascribed to Galen. Antyllus because he is the medical source Stobaeus relies on the most and the fragments we have from him generally agree with the beliefs ascribed to Hippocrates in this text. A pseudo-Galenic work because there are many instances of texts, like the Introductio or Definitiones, carrying Galen's name even though they were not written by him. It could also come from an earlier compilation with a similar incorrect attribution.
Because of the correspondence between this text and the passages from Antyllus that come after, I'd like to think it's from him. Antyllus is an interesting thinker and writer, but he is mysterious. This makes my claim a bit hard to prove. There are lots of fragments preserved in Oribasius, but we have almost no other evidence about him. The best we can say is that he probably lived after Archigenes (fl. around the time of Trajan), since Archigenes' name shows up in a passage attributed to Antyllus in Oribasius (Coll. med. 9.23.18 at the end). That would put him at the earliest around 100 CE. And we can say, since Oribasius quotes him, that it is very likely that he lived before Oribasius (who was born early fourth century). That would put him at the latest around the 350s or so. Somewhere in those 250 years, we can find Antyllus.
I have an ulterior motive in wanting to attribute the text to Antyllus. What I find interesting about this text is how similar it sounds to views scholars often ascribe to the Pneumatist school of medicine, of which Antyllus is often said to be a member. I think historians of medicine too often assume that the Pneumatists were a more distinctive group of doctors than they actually were. I have read that the Pneumatists shared a unique set of beliefs, beliefs that differ markedly from their contemporaries. These are beliefs about the composition of the human being (either out of three kinds of parts, solids, liquids, gases; or out of the four qualities, hot cold moist and dry); beliefs about analogies between the seasons, times of life and bodily humours; beliefs about the causes of diseases and their treatment through opposites; and I have heard people say that the Pneumatists had an interest in developing a way of doing medicine which followed the doctrines of "Hippocrates".
There is however very little evidence tying these beliefs and practices specifically to the doctors called 'Pneumatist' in our sources. Texts like the pseudo-Galenic Introductio and Definitiones, and even the Anonymus Londinensis, show that these characteristics were common to a lot of doctors in the 00s and 100s CE. On the other hand, what our sources say was distinctive about the Pneumatists is in fact very little: we are told they, following the Stoics, believe pneuma controls health and disease, that they follow Hippocrates, and that Hippocrates identifies pneuma with the innate heat. That's it.
When people claim Antyllus is a Pneumatist, they almost never offer any evidence. When they do, the evidence tends not to be very convincing. I think there are two reasons for this. First, there are no complete writings by Antyllus which survive, no contemporary discussions about him and we have no precise evidence for when he lived. He is an obscure figure in the history of medicine, and any evidence we have is going to be controversial and require a lot of interpretation and speculation. That's fine - the same goes for most ancient authors - but I also think it means we should be a bit more careful.
Second, Antyllus does not call himself a Pneumatist in any of the fragments we have. This means the evidence usually comes from places where Antyllus mentions some Pneumatist authors, or where he mentions things that sound Pneumatist in the fragments. People especially point to cases where he uses the word 'pneuma.' But the fact that he adopts views from Athenaeus or discusses Archigenes does not make him a Pneumatist any more than it makes Galen one. Neither does the fact that Antyllus occasionally talks about pneuma or "tension" (tonos - a Stoic and Pneumatist technical term, but the word is by no means limited to them) make him a Pneumatist any more than it makes one of Caelius Aurelianus (who uses Latin equivalents for both but calls himself a Methodist). Just about everyone in antiquity after Aristotle who writes about living things mentions pneuma, and no one thinks they're all Pneumatists.
This, then, is the unconvincing evidence. There is, however, some better evidence that Antyllus is a Pneumatist doctor. For one thing, he fits the description of some people whom Galen calls the "followers of Athenaeus". (I've placed the text from Galen at the end of this piece.) I have also found some striking similarities between a fragment of Athenaeus preserved in Aetius and some fragments of Antyllus preserved in Oribasius' Medical Collections (and in their parallels in this section of Stobaeus). In fact, Antyllus takes over whole sentences from Athenaeus, always without attribution, and he expands on them as if he were trying to explain or refine Athenaeus' views.
Nevertheless, I do not find even this evidence all that persuasive. Athenaeus was followed by lots of people, but that does not imply each follower was committed to the all or even the most central of the ideas associated with him: that pneuma controls health and disease. I haven't found any evidence for this belief in the fragments of Antyllus. Given this lack of evidence and given we don't know Antyllus' dates, it's even harder to place him among the Pneumatists. He may have been a later medical writer who liked what Athenaeus had to say, or both he and Athenaeus may have been drawing on the same source material. We just don't know.
I admit that whether Antyllus was a Pneumatist or not is not a terribly important historical question. I guess the question of whether he wrote this particular text isn't that important either. Still, whoever it was who wrote the characateristics of Hippocrates, it's a nice example of the ideal of a "Hippocratic" medicine, an ideal which was developed and promoted in the 00s and 100s CE (and after), and which has endured until today. It's only recently that historians of medicine like Philip van der Eijk began to try to understand this ideal: scholars who raise the question of how and why the idea of "the Hippocratic" was constructed and how it rose to such prominence. Along with other texts like the pseudo-Galenic Introductio, I think this little fragment (which I'd still like to think was written by Antyllus) tells part of this story.
Stobaeus, Eclogae, 4.37.14 (Vol. 5, 883,2-886,6 Hense)
Galen’s “Things that are characteristic of Hippocrates”
He says that it is clearly his opinion that the elements of the art are those which are evident. So, he says "human beings and all animals are composed from solids, liquids and pneumata." The nature of plants are not without a share of the three-fold kind of these things; however, it lives, increases, reproduces and grows by their composition in accordance with nature, and it becomes diseased, decays, dies and withers by their imperfection and dissolution.
He refers the composition of the solid parts to bones, nerves and cartilage, and further membrane, artery and vein. For in some [of his writings] he also says these belong to the solid kind. Following what is reasonable, he shares the opinion the principle of their assembly and formation is the head. He has also devoted to [the subject of] the nature of the solid parts the [books] On Fractures, On Joints, and those similar to them; while to the pneumata, [he devoted] the book called (peculiarly) On Winds; to the liquids, [he devoted] the [books] On Humours, On the Nature of the Human Being, and [he wrote about them] here and there in other works. These are blood and phlegm, and the two biles, yellow and black. [He says] the nature of blood is moist and hot, its colour red, and its quality sweet. Phlegm is cold and moist, white and salty. Yellow bile is hot and dry, ochre and bitter, while the other is cold and dry, black and sea-weedy.
It is also his opinion that the age of a person and the seasons of the year alike are divided into four. Each of the humours mentioned exceed the others in amount at the proper age and season of each of them. So in the time of childhood and in the season of spring, blood exceeds the others. In the time of the prime of life and in the season of summer, yellow bile. In the time past one's prime and in the autumn, black [bile]. And [in the time of] of old age and in winter, phlegm. For the natures of humours resemble those of the seasons. Therefore, the spring is hot and moist, like blood, and the summer is hot and dry. Fall is cold and dry, while winter is cold and wet, in proportion with the humours. The day is also divided in accordance with them, both in number and nature, as if in a small proportion. Generally, the natures of men differ from those of women. For the former tend towards hotter and drier, the latter towards colder and wetter. There is a smaller difference in kind for each of these and relative to one another, following the locations of the places, the particular qualities of the airs, and how people lead their lives. Each of the humours in the nature of a human being provides a special use. So blood nourishes, heats, moistens and is productive of good complexion. Yellow bile holds the body and the pores together, lest it be relaxed, stimulates perception, completes concoction, and provides easy passages for excretions. Black [bile] is a seat and, as it were, pedestal of the other humours. Phlegm [provides] for rapidity of movement to the nerves, membranes, cartilage, and tongue.
He thinks the seed contributes to reproduction, that of the male and of the female equally, and that it comes from all the parts of the body. And that males are generated on the right side of the womb, females on the left. The [parts] on the right side [of the body] are dominant relative to those on the left, and the upper [parts] relative to the lower ones.
And he thinks, concerning the causes of diseases, that some are from violent blows, some are from the environment, while the majority come from the liquids we mentioned, according to excess and defect, and change in quality or change from place to place [in the body].
It is also his belief that one [should] use remedies from things which are contrary to the causes [of the disease]. Of diseases, some are by nature acute, some chronic, some unclear. Acute diseases come about for the most part from bile and blood, and occur in the prime of life, and in summer and spring. Chronic diseases come from phlegm, black bile, and occur in the elderly and in winter. Unclear diseases are those which have mixed causes. And further, he makes prognoses about which of them one can recover from and which are fatal. He also thinks prognosis and prediction are both necessary for the art and that they differ from one another. For, sometimes the doctor only needs to make a prognosis, but sometimes it is safe to predict. He divides prognosis into past and present symptoms, as many have an uncertain quantity, and into future ones.
It is also his opinion that one recognize the critical days. For the most part, the odd-numbered days belong to acute diseases, the even-numbered ones to chronic [diseases]. And those in the summer time, in youths, in the right-side parts [of the body], and in the upper parts [occur on] odd-numbered days, while in the case of their contraries, on even-numbered days. And further, he recommends knowing the places affected primarily, the recognition of which contributes no small part to indication and therapy.
Γαληνοῦ χαρακτηριάζοντα εἰς Ἱπποκράτην (=II p. 72 Chart.)
Τὰ τῆς τέχνης στοιχεῖα σαφῶς ἀρέσκειν αὐτῷ λέγει τὰ ὅσα ἐναργῆ. συνέστηκεν οὖν, φησίν, ὅ τε ἄνθρωπος καὶ τὰ σύμπαντα ζῷα ἐκ στερεῶν ὑγρῶν καὶ πνευμάτων. οὐκ ἀμοιρεῖ δὲ οὐδ' ἡ τῶν φυτῶν φύσις τῆς τούτων τριγενείας, ἀλλὰ ζῇ τε καὶ αὔξεται καὶ γεννᾷ καὶ φύεται τῇ τούτων συστάσει κατὰ φύσιν, νοσεῖ δὲ καὶ φθίνει καὶ θνῄσκει καὶ αὐαίνεται τῇ τούτων πλημμελείᾳ καὶ διαστάσει.
τὴν μὲν οὖν τῶν στερεῶν σύστασιν ὀστοῖς ἀνατίθησι καὶ νεύροις καὶ χόνδροις, ἤδη δὲ καὶ ὑμένι καὶ ἀρτηρίαις καὶ φλεψί· καὶ γὰρ ταῦτα τοῦ στερεοῦ γένους ἔν τισιν εἶναι λέγει. τῆς δὲ τούτων συμπηγίας καὶ διαπλάσεως, ἑπόμενος τῷ εὐλόγῳ, τὴν κεφαλὴν εἶναι ἀρχὴν συνδοκεῖ. ἀνατέθεικε δὲ τῇ τῶν στερεῶν φύσει τό τε περὶ ἀγμῶν καὶ τὰ περὶ ἄρθρων καὶ τὰ τούτοις ὅμοια· τῷ δὲ πνεύματι τὸ περὶ φυσέων ἰδίως ἐπιγραφόμενον σύγγραμμα· τοῖς δ' ὑγροῖς τὸ περὶ χυμῶν καὶ τὸ περὶ ἀνθρώπου φύσεως, ἤδη δὲ καὶ σποράδην ἐν ἄλλοις· ἔστι δὲ ταῦτα αἷμα καὶ φλέγμα, χολὴ διττή, ξανθὴ καὶ μέλαινα. εἶναι δὲ τὸ μὲν αἷμα τὴν φύσιν ὑγρὸν καὶ θερμὸν καὶ τὴν χρόαν ἐρυθρόν, τὴν δὲ ποιότητα γλυκύ· τὸ δὲ φλέγμα ψυχρὸν καὶ ὑγρὸν καὶ λευκὸν καὶ μᾶλλον ἁλμυρόν· τὴν δὲ ξανθὴν χολὴν θερμήν τε καὶ ξηρὰν καὶ ὠχρὰν καὶ πικράν, τὴν δὲ ἑτέραν ψυχρὰν καὶ ξηρὰν καὶ μέλαιναν καὶ φυκώδη.
ἀρέσκει δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ τὰς ἡλικίας διαιρεῖν εἰς δʹ καὶ τὰς ὥρας τοῦ ἔτους ὁμοίως. πλεονάζειν δὲ τῶν εἰρημένων χυμῶν ἕκαστον ἐν τῇ ἡλικίᾳ καὶ τῇ ὥρᾳ τῇ οἰκείᾳ ἑκάστου. καὶ ἐν μὲν τῇ τῶν παίδων ἡλικίᾳ πλεονάζειν τὸ αἷμα, καὶ τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ ἔαρος· ἐν δὲ τῇ τῶν ἀκμαζόντων τὴν ξανθὴν χολήν, καὶ ὥρᾳ θέρους· ἐν δὲ τῇ τῶν παρηβώντων τὴν μέλαιναν, καὶ φθινοπώρῳ· ἐν δὲ τῇ τῶν γερόντων τὸ φλέγμα, καὶ χειμῶνος· ἐοικέναι γὰρ τὰς τῶν χυμῶν φύσεις ταῖς τῶν ὡρῶν. τὸ γοῦν ἔαρ θερμόν τε καὶ ὑγρόν, ὡς τὸ αἷμα· καὶ τὸ θέρος θερμόν τε καὶ ξηρόν· τὸ δὲ μετόπωρον ψυχρόν τε καὶ ξηρόν· ὁ δὲ χειμὼν ψυχρὸς καὶ ὑγρός, ἀναλόγως τοῖς χυμοῖς· κατὰ ταὐτὰ δὲ καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν διαιρεῖ, καὶ τῷ ἀριθμῷ καὶ τῇ φύσει, ὡς ἐν μικρᾷ τῇ ἀναλογίᾳ. καθόλου γε τὰς τῶν ἀνδρῶν φύσεις πρὸς τὰς τῶν γυναικῶν διαφέρειν. εἶναι γὰρ τοὺς μὲν ἐπὶ τὸ θερμότερον καὶ ξηρότερον, τὰς δὲ ἐπὶ τὸ ψυχρότερον καὶ ὑγρότερον. ἐν ἑκάστου δὲ τούτων γένει καὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἔχειν μικροτέραν διαφοράν, παρά τε τὰς τῶν χωρίων θέσεις καὶ τὰς τῶν ἀέρων ἰδιότητας καὶ τὰς τῶν διαιτημάτων ἀγωγάς. παρέχειν δὲ καὶ τῶν χυμῶν ἕκαστον ἐν τῇ φύσει τοῦ ἀνθρώπου χρείαν ἐξαίρετον. καὶ τὸ μὲν αἷμα τρέφειν καὶ θερμαίνειν καὶ ὑγραίνειν καὶ εὐχροίας εἶναι ποιητικόν· τὴν δὲ ξανθὴν χολὴν συνέχειν τὸ σῶμα καὶ τοὺς πόρους μὴ ἐᾶν ἐκλύεσθαι, καὶ μυωπίζειν τὴν αἴσθησιν, καὶ συντελεῖν τῇ πέψει, καὶ τὰς ὁδοὺς τῶν ἐκκρίσεων παρέχειν εὐπετεῖς· τὴν δὲ μέλαιναν ἕδραν καὶ οἱονεὶ βάθρον τῶν ἄλλων χυμῶν· τὸ δὲ φλέγμα νεύροις ὑμέσι καὶ χόνδροις καὶ ἄρθροις καὶ γλώττῃ πρὸς τὸ εὔδρομον τῆς κινήσεως.
δοκεῖ δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα πρὸς ζῳογονίαν τό τε τοῦ ἀνδρὸς καὶ τὸ τῆς γυναικὸς ἐπίσης συντελεῖν καὶ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν μελῶν φέρεσθαι τοῦ σώματος. καὶ τὰ μὲν ἄρρενα ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς τῆς μήτρας, τὰ δὲ θήλεα ἐν τοῖς ἀριστεροῖς γεννᾶσθαι. ἰσχύειν δὲ καὶ τὰ δεξιὰ ὡς πρὸς τὰ ἀριστερά, καὶ τὰ ὑπερκείμενα ὡς πρὸς τὰ ὑποκείμενα.
δοκεῖ δ' αὐτῷ καὶ τὰς αἰτίας τῶν νοσημάτων ἃς μὲν ἐκ πληγῶν βιαίων, ἃς δὲ ἐκ τοῦ περιέχοντος εἶναι· τὰς δὲ πλείστας ἐκ τῶν ὑγρῶν τῶν εἰρημένων κατὰ πλῆθος καὶ ἔλλειψιν καὶ μεταβολὴν τὴν κατὰ ποιότητα ἢ τὴν ἐκ τόπου εἰς τόπον.
ἀρέσκει δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ τὰ βοηθήματα εἰσφέρειν ἐκ τῶν ἐναντίων ἱσταμένων ταῖς αἰτίαις. τῶν δὲ νοσημάτων ἃ μὲν εἶναι φύσει ὀξέα, ἃ δὲ χρόνια, ἃ δὲ ἐνδοιαστά. γίνεσθαι δὲ ὡς πολὺ ἀπὸ χολῆς καὶ αἵματος καὶ ἡλικίας ἀκμαζούσης καὶ θέρους καὶ ἔαρος τὰ ὀξέα· τὰ δὲ χρόνια ἀπὸ φλέγματος καὶ μελαίνης χολῆς καὶ ἐν πρεσβύταις καὶ χειμῶνι· τὰ δ' ἐνδοιαστά, ὁπόσα μεμιγμένας ἔχει τὰς αἰτίας. ἤδη δὲ καὶ τίνα αὐτῶν σωτήρια καὶ τίνα θανατικά, προγινώσκει· βούλεται δὲ καὶ τὴν πρόγνωσιν καὶ τὴν πρόρρησιν ἀναγκαίαν τε εἶναι πρὸς τὴν τέχνην καὶ διαφέρειν ἀλλήλων. ὅπου μὲν γὰρ προγνῶναι χρὴ μόνον τὸν ἰατρόν, ὅπου δὲ καὶ προειπεῖν ἀσφαλές. διαιρεῖ δὲ τὴν πρόγνωσιν εἴς τε τὰ προγεγονότα καὶ τὰ ἐνεστῶτα τῶν συμπτωμάτων, ὁπόσα † ἔχει πόσην ἀδηλότητα, καὶ εἰς τὰ μέλλοντα.
ἀρέσκει δ' αὐτῷ καὶ τὰς κρισίμους ἡμέρας ἐπεγνωκέναι. γίνεσθαι γὰρ ὡς τὸ πολὺ τὰς μὲν περιττὰς κριτικὰς τῶν ὀξέων νοσημάτων, τὰς δὲ ἀρτίους τῶν χρονίων. καὶ τὰς μὲν θέρους καὶ ἐπὶ νέων καὶ τῶν δεξιῶν μερῶν καὶ τῶν ὑπερκειμένων τὰς περισσάς· τὰς δὲ ἀρτίους ἐπὶ τῶν ἐναντίων. ἤδη δὲ καὶ τοὺς πρωτοπαθοῦντας τόπους εἰδέναι παραινεῖ, ἐκ τῆς τούτων ἐπιγνώσεως οὐ μικρὰν συμβαλλομένης μοῖραν εἰς σημείωσίν τε καὶ θεραπείαν.
Galen, Mixtures 1.3 (8,28-10,3 Helmreich = I 522-523K)
When attacking these kinds of arguments [against the non-existence of hot/wet diseases], some of the followers of Athenaeus of Attalia force the issue, saying there is nothing wrong with a wet and hot condition, and asserting that no illness has been discovered that is wet and hot; rather, in every case [illness] is either hot and dry like fever, cold and wet like dropsy, or cold and dry like melancholia. And they also mention at this point the seasons of the year, asserting that the winter is wet and cold, the summer dry and hot, and the autumn cold and dry, while the spring, they say, is well-mixed, [being] at the same time a hot and wet season.
And so they also say that, of the ages of life, youth is well-mixed and [is] both hot and wet. They consider the good balance of it [sc. youth] to be shown also from [the fact that] the activities of nature are strong especially at this time. And then they also say that death leads the bodies of animals to dryness and cold—at any rate, corpses are called "alibas" because they no longer possess any "libas", i.e., moisture: at the same time, they have been desiccated due to the departure of the hot and solidified by the cooling. 'But if,' they say, 'death is such, then necessarily life, being the opposite of this, will be both hot and wet.' And they say, 'if life is something hot and wet, it is also altogether necessary that the mixture most resembling it [sc. life] be best. But if [it is best], it is altogether clear [that it is] as well-mixed as possible. Therefore, in regard to the same thing, it follows that a well-mixed [person?] has a wet and hot nature and good-mixture is nothing other than the prevalence of the wet and the hot.'
These, then, are the arguments of those around Athenaeus. In a way, the opinion of the philosopher Aristotle and of Theophrastus seems to be the same, and also after them, of the Stoics, so that we are embarrassed by the majority of witnesses. But concerning Aristotle, how he used to understand hot and wet mixture, perhaps, if it is needed, I will explain as the argument proceeds. For they seem to me to have misunderstood him.
πρὸς δὴ τοὺς τοιούτους λόγους ἀπομαχόμενοί τινες τῶν ἀπ' Ἀθηναίου τοῦ Ἀτταλέως ὁμόσε χωροῦσιν οὔτε κατάστασιν ὑγρὰν καὶ θερμὴν μέμφεσθαι λέγοντες οὔθ' εὑρεθῆναί τι νόσημα φάσκοντες ὑγρὸν καὶ θερμόν, ἀλλὰ πάντως ἢ θερμὸν καὶ ξηρὸν ὑπάρχειν ὡς τὸν πυρετόν, ἢ ψυχρὸν καὶ ὑγρὸν ὡς τὸν ὕδερον, ἢ ψυχρὸν καὶ ξηρὸν ὡς τὴν μελαγχολίαν. ἐπιμέμνηνται δ' ἐνταῦθα καὶ τῶν ὡρῶν τοῦ ἔτους, ὑγρὸν μὲν καὶ ψυχρὸν εἶναι τὸν χειμῶνα φάσκοντες, ξηρὸν δὲ καὶ θερμὸν τὸ θέρος καὶ ψυχρὸν καὶ ξηρὸν τὸ φθινόπωρον, εὔκρατον δ' ἅμα καὶ θερμὴν καὶ ὑγρὰν ὥραν εἶναί φασι τὸ ἔαρ.
οὕτω δὲ καὶ τῶν ἡλικιῶν τὴν παιδικὴν εὔκρατον θ' ἅμα καὶ θερμὴν καὶ ὑγρὰν εἶναί φασιν. δηλοῦσθαι δὲ τὴν εὐκρασίαν αὐτῆς νομίζουσι κἀκ τῶν ἐνεργειῶν τῆς φύσεως ἐρρωμένων τηνικαῦτα μάλιστα. καὶ μὲν δὴ καὶ τὸν θάνατόν φασιν εἰς ξηρότητα καὶ ψῦξιν ἄγειν τὰ τῶν ζῴων σώματα. καλεῖσθαι γοῦν ἀλίβαντας τοὺς νεκροὺς ὡς ἂν οὐκέτι λιβάδα καὶ ὑγρότητα κεκτημένους οὐδεμίαν, ἐξατμισθέντας θ' ἅμα διὰ | τὴν ἀποχώρησιν τοῦ θερμοῦ καὶ παγέντας ὑπὸ τῆς ψύξεως. ἀλλ' εἴπερ ὁ θάνατος, φασί, τοιοῦτος, ἀναγκαῖον ἤδη τὴν ζωήν, ὡς ἂν ἐναντίαν οὖσαν αὐτῷ, θερμήν τ' εἶναι καὶ ὑγράν· καὶ μὴν εἴπερ ἡ ζωή, φασί, θερμόν τι χρῆμα καὶ ὑγρόν, ἀνάγκη πᾶσα καὶ τὴν ὁμοιοτάτην αὐτῇ κρᾶσιν ἀρίστην ὑπάρχειν· εἰ δὲ τοῦτο, παντί που δῆλον, ὡς εὐκρατοτάτην, ὥστ' εἰς ταὐτὸ συμβαίνειν ὑγρὰν καὶ θερμὴν φύσιν εὐκράτῳ καὶ μηδὲν ἄλλ' εἶναι τὴν εὐκρασίαν ἢ τῆς ὑγρότητός τε καὶ θερμότητος ἐπικρατούσης.
οἱ μὲν δὴ τῶν ἀμφὶ τὸν Ἀθήναιον λόγοι τοιοίδε. δοκεῖ δέ πως ἡ αὐτὴ δόξα καὶ Ἀριστοτέλους εἶναι τοῦ φιλοσόφου καὶ Θεοφράστου γε μετ' αὐτὸν καὶ τῶν Στωϊκῶν, ὥστε καὶ τῷ πλήθει τῶν μαρτύρων ἡμᾶς δυσωποῦσιν. ἐγὼ δὲ περὶ μὲν Ἀριστοτέλους, ὅπως ἐγίγνωσκεν ὑπὲρ θερμῆς καὶ ὑγρᾶς κράσεως, ἴσως ἄν, εἰ δεηθείην, ἐπὶ προήκοντι τῷ λόγῳ δείξαιμι· δοκοῦσι γάρ μοι παρακούειν αὐτοῦ.