Galen, On Good Bodily State

LCL 546: 452-453

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750KΤὸ τῆς ἕξεως ὄνομα κατὰ παντὸς ἐπιφέρειν εἰθίσμεθα τοῦ μονίμου τε καὶ δυσλύτου καὶ οὐδὲν μᾶλλον ἐπαινοῦντες ἢ ψέγοντες. ἀλλ’ ὅταν εὐεξίαν ἢ καχεξίαν εἴπωμεν, ἤδη τηνικαῦτα διοριζόμεθ’,1 ὁποίαν τινὰ τὴν ἕξιν εἶναί φαμεν. ἀγαθὴ μὲν οὖν ἁπλῶς ἕξις ἐν ἀρίστῃ κατασκευῇ γίνεται σώματος, οὐχ ἁπλῶς δὲ καθ’ ἑκάστην φύσιν σώματος. ἡ μέντοι καχεξία περὶ πᾶσαν συνίσταται | 751Kκατασκευὴν σώματος, εἴθ’ ἁπλῶς εἴτ’ ἐν τῷ πρός τι λέγοιτο. χρὴ τοίνυν ἀναμνησθῆναι τῶν περὶ τῆς ἀρίστης κατασκευῆς εἰρημένων ἰδίᾳ τὸν βουλόμενον ἀκριβῶς ἐπιγνῶναι, τί ποτ’ ἐστὶν ἁπλῶς εἰπεῖν εὐεξία.

Πλάτος γὰρ ἱκανὸν ἐχούσης τῆς ὑγιείας, ὡς πολλάκις ἐν ἑτέροις ἐπιδέδεικται, τὴν μὲν ἐπίτασιν αὐτῆς εὐεξίαν ὀνομάζουσιν οἱ παλαιοὶ φιλόσοφοί τε καὶ ἰατροί, τὴν δ’ ἔκλυσιν ἰδίῳ μὲν οὐκέτι προσαγορεύουσιν ὀνόματι, τῷ δὲ τοῦ παντὸς γένους ὡσαύτως ὑγίειαν καλοῦσιν, ὥστ’ ἀρίστη τις ὑγίεια ἡ εὐεξία, καὶ διὰ

  • 1διοριζόμεθ’ H; διορίζομεν K



750KWe are accustomed to apply the term hexis (bodily state)1 to any state which is stable and difficult to dissipate, neither praising nor blaming more. But whenever we say “good bodily state” (euexia) or “bad bodily state” (kachexia), we are, under these circumstances, already making a distinction as to what kind we say the bodily state to be. Thus an excellent state occurs absolutely in an excellent constitution of a body, but not absolutely in each nature of a body. Of course, a bad bodily state (cachexia) may exist involving every constitution | 751Kof a body, and may be said either absolutely or in relation to something. Accordingly, for one who wishes to know precisely, what must be borne in mind are those things said specifically about the best constitution, what at any time euexia is when said absolutely.

Since health has a considerable range, as has been demonstrated often in other places, the doctors and philosophers of ancient times called the intensification of this euexia (a good bodily state) while they did not yet call the dissipation by a specific term, calling the whole class similarly health. Consequently, euexia is optimum health, and

  • 1The contrast is with schesis—see p. 435.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.galen-good_bodily_state.2020