Tools

Aristotle

ΠΕΡΙ ΜΑΚΡΟΒΙΟΤΗΤΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΒΡΑΧΥΒΙΟΤΗΤΟΣ

464 b

I. Περὶ δὲ τοῦ τὰ μὲν εἶναι μακρόβια τῶν ζῴων 20τὰ δὲ βραχύβια, καὶ περὶ ζωῆς ὅλως μήκους καὶ βραχύτητος ἐπισκεπτέον τὰς αἰτίας. ἀρχὴ δὲ τῆς σκέψεως ἀναγκαία πρῶτον ἐκ τοῦ διαπορῆσαι περὶ αὐτῶν. οὐ γάρ ἐστι δῆλον πότερον ἕτερον ἢ τὸ αὐτὸ αἴτιον πᾶσι τοῖς ζῴοις καὶ φυτοῖς τοῦ τὰ μὲν 25εἶναι μακρόβια τὰ δὲ βραχύβια· καὶ γὰρ τῶν φυτῶν τὰ μὲν ἐπέτειον τὰ δὲ πολυχρόνιον ἔχει τὴν ζωήν. ἔτι δὲ πότερον ταὐτὰ μακρόβια καὶ τὴν φύσιν ὑγιεινὰ τῶν φύσει συνεστώτων, ἢ κεχώρισται καὶ τὸ βραχύβιον καὶ τὸ νοσῶδες, ἢ κατ᾿ ἐνίας μὲν νόσους ἐπαλλάττει τὰ νοσώδη τὴν φύσιν σώματα 30τοῖς βραχυβίοις, κατ᾿ ἐνίας δ᾿ οὐδὲν κωλύει νοσώδεις εἶναι μακροβίους ὄντας.

Περὶ μὲν οὖν ὕπνου καὶ ἐγρηγόρσεως εἴρηται πρότερον, περὶ δὲ ζωῆς καὶ θανάτου λεκτέον ὕστερον, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ νόσου καὶ ὑγιείας, 465 aὅσον ἐπιβάλλει τῇ φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ· νῦν δὲ περὶ τῆς αἰτίας τοῦ τὰ μὲν εἶναι μακρόβια τὰ δὲ βραχύβια, καθάπερ εἴρηται πρότερον, θεωρητέον. ἔστι δ᾿ ἔχοντα τὴν διαφορὰν ταύτην ὅλα τε πρὸς ὅλα

394

On Length and Shortness of Life

On Length and Shortness of Life

I. Our task is now to consider the reasons whyConnexion between health and longevity. some living creatures are long-lived and others short-lived, and generally to inquire into the causes of length and shortness of life. The necessary starting-point of our inquiry is a statement of the difficulties that arise on the subject. For it is not clear whether the reason why some animals and plants are long-lived, and others short-lived, is the same in all cases or different. For some plants last only for one year, while others live for a long time. Secondly, are longevity and good health the same thing in the case of all natural structures, or are short life and disease unconnected, or again in some diseases do disease and short life go together, while in others there is nothing to prevent the diseased from being also long-lived?

We have previously discussed sleep and the wakingGeneric and specific differences. state, and later on we must speak of life and death, and similarly of disease and health, as far as they appertain to physical philosophy. But our present inquiry, as I have said before, is concerned with the reasons why some living things live long, and some are short-lived. This difference is found not only between genera as

395
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-parva_naturalia_length_shortness_life.1957