τοῦτ’ ἐν τοῖς ἄριστα κατεσκευασμένοις γίνεται σώμασιν. εἰ γάρ τι μὴ τοιοῦτον, οὐκ ἂν δέξαιτο τὴν ἀρίστην ὑγίειαν, ὥστ’ οὐδὲ τὴν εὐεξίαν. ἡ2 δ’ ἐν τῷ πρός τι κατὰ τὴν ἑκάστου φύσιν γίνεται καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μετὰ προσθήκης λέγεται Δίωνος, εἰ οὕτως ἔτυχεν, ἢ Μίλωνος εὐεξία, οὐχ ἁπλῶς εὐεξία. ἡ μέν γε τοῦ Μίλωνος καὶ ἡ τοῦ Ἀχιλλέως καὶ ἡ τοῦ Ἡρακλέους ἁπλῶς τ’ εἰσὶν εὐεξίαι καὶ χωρὶς προσθήκης ὀνομάζονται, καθάπερ καὶ | 752Kκαλὸς μὲν ὁ Ἀχιλλεὺς ἁπλῶς, ὁ δὲ πίθηκος οὐχ ἁπλῶς, ἀλλ’ ὡς πίθηκος καλός. ἐκ τῶν μετὰ προσθήκης ἐστὶ λεγομένων καὶ ἡ τῶν ἀθλητῶν εὐεξία καὶ δεόντως ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς ὁ Ἱπποκράτης ἔλεγεν· “Ἐν τοῖσι γυμναστικοῖσιν αἱ ἐπ’ ἄκρον εὐεξίαι σφαλεραί.” οὐ γὰρ δὴ τήν γ’ ἁπλῶς ὀνομαζομένην εὐεξίαν, ἐπειδὰν εἰς ἄκρον ἥκῃ, σφαλερὰν εἶναί φησιν. αὐτὸ γὰρ δὴ τοῦτ’ ἔστιν αὐτῇ τὸ εἰς ἄκρον ἥκειν, τὸ πασῶν τοῦ σώματος τῶν διαθέσεων ὑπάρχειν ἀσφαλεστάτην. ἀλλ’ ἡ τῶν ἀθλητῶν ἢ γυμναστικῶν ἢ ὅπως ἂν ἐθέλῃ τις ὀνομάζειν εὐεξία, διότι μὴ ἁπλῶς ἐστιν εὐεξία ἡ ἀρίστη διάθεσις σώματος, εὐλόγως εἰς ἄκρον ἰοῦσα σφαλερωτάτη γίνεται. “Διάθεσις γάρ,”
because of this occurs in the bodies constituted best. If it were not such a thing, it would not receive the best health and so would not receive euexia. If, however, it is relative to something, it occurs in relation to the nature of each person, and because of this, euexia is said to be added to Dion, if this happens to be the case, or to Milo, and not euexia absolutely. In fact, the euexias of Milo, Achilles and Hercules2 are euexias said absolutely, and are named apart from any addition, just as also | 752KAchilles is beautiful absolutely whereas a monkey is not beautiful absolutely but as a monkey that is beautiful, and is among those things said with an addition, as also is the euexia of athletes. On this matter, Hippocrates rightly said: “In those who exercise, the euexias that reach an extreme are dangerous.”3 For he is certainly not saying euexia is a term applied absolutely, which, when it comes to a peak is dangerous, for euexia itself, when it comes to a peak, is the safest of all the conditions of the body. But when it is of athletes, or of those who are devoted to gymnastics, or however someone might wish to apply the term, euexia is not absolutely the best condition of a body, and with good reason, because when it comes to an extreme it is very dangerous. For Hippocrates says: “The athletic condition
- 2Milo of Croton was an athlete and a wrestler famous for his strength, particularly in his hands. Galen gives a disparaging and somewhat amusing account of some of his most famous feats in his Protrepticus, I.34–35K. Hercules (Heracles), son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, was a legendary hero noted for his great strength. Achilles, son of Peleus and Thetis, was the greatest of the Greek heroes in the Trojan War and the central character of Homer’s Iliad.
- 3Hippocrates, Aphorisms 1.3. W. H. S. Jones has: “In athletes, a perfect condition that is at its highest pitch is treacherous” (Hippocrates IV, LCL 150, 98–99).