qualities theory; (b) Hippocrates held that both bodily states and mental dispositions are affected by physical and climatic conditions, mediated through bodily krasis.

In the final section, Galen ventures into more philosophical matters, in particular whether the human soul or nature is innately good or innately evil. Indeed, while the Stoics and their contemporaries were grappling with the issue, the two leading Confucians who followed the sage, Meng Ke and Xun Qing, were likewise engaged. As far as I am aware, the matter remains unresolved. Another less pressing issue on which there is some uncertainty is the date of composition of this work of Galen’s and, related to this, the concordance of the views expressed with those in his other works on the same subject, most notably his major work, On the Opinions of Plato and Hippocrates. On present evidence it seems reasonable to accept a late date of composition for The Soul’s Traits Depend on Bodily Temperament, probably the final decade of the century.

The Greek text is essentially that of Bazou (B). Notable differences from Müller (Scripta Minora, SM) or Kühn (K) are indicated by a footnote. The title literally translated is That the Capacities of the Soul Follow the Krasias of the Body. The alternative title is used to avoid the assumption of prior knowledge of two Galenic technical terms.


1. A brief statement is given of the basic claim of the work: that the state and functioning of the soul is dependent on the krasis of the body as a whole and can be influenced by various factors that influence this, including foods, drinks, and regimen generally.



2. Galen makes two initial points: (a) even in small children there are apparent individual differences in the capacities of the soul; (b) the soul has a substance that is responsible for its functions. Next, he enlarges on these capacities and the numerical correspondence between the number of capacities and the number of functions. He lists the capacities of the soul and introduces Plato’s subdivision of these, giving a summarized account of his concept of a tripartite soul.

3. Galen accepts Plato’s idea of a tripartite soul and the location of the rational soul in the brain, the spirited soul in the heart, and the appetitive soul in the liver. He refers to the basic division into matter and form and elaborates on the Aristotelian position. The capacities of the soul follow its substance—a central statement in Galen’s position. He questions Plato’s claim that the rational soul is incorporeal and immortal. He cites a number of examples of the rational soul being affected by a demonstrable physical factor, which must support the view that it is corporeal rather than incorporeal. Relatively detailed consideration is given to the good and bad effects of wine on the rational soul, with several quotations from Homer. This, Galen avers, is through the effect of wine on krasias and humors. He concludes: “It will also be necessary, then, for those who postulate the soul to be a specific substance, to concede that it is itself a slave to the krasias of the body.”

4. Galen considers Plato’s theory that the wetness of the embryonic body into which the immortal rational soul is received has a deleterious effect, since, generally, wetness is associated with lack of understanding (foolishness) and dryness with quick understanding (sagacity). He briefly considers the views of Andronicus the Peripatetic

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.galen-souls_traits_bodily_temperament.2020