Galen, On Temperaments

LCL 546: 214-215

Go To Section
Go To Section


ἀέρα δυνάμει. λέγεται δέ ποτε δυνάμει καὶ τὸ τῷ κατὰ | 649Kσυμβεβηκὸς ἀντιδιαιρούμενον, οἷον εἰ τὴν ψυχρολουσίαν ἐπ’ εὐσάρκου νέου θερμαίνειν τις φαίη τὸ σῶμα κατὰ συμβεβηκός, οὐκ οἰκείᾳ δυνάμει.

Κατὰ τοσούτους δὴ τρόπους καὶ τὰ δυνάμει θερμὰ καὶ ψυχρὰ καὶ ξηρὰ καὶ ὑγρὰ λεχθήσεται καὶ ζητηθήσεται δεόντως, τί δή ποτε καστόριον ἢ εὐφόρβιον ἢ πύρεθρον ἢ στρουθίον ἢ νίτρον ἢ μίσυ θερμὰ λέγομεν ἢ θριδακίνην ἢ κώνειον ἢ μανδραγόραν ἢ σαλαμάνδραν ἢ μήκωνα ψυχρά· πότερον τοῖς εἰρημένοις τρόποις ὑποπέπτωκεν ἢ κατ’ ἄλλον τινὰ λέγεται μηδέπω διῃρημένον.1 ἄσφαλτος μὲν γὰρ καὶ ῥητίνη καὶ στέαρ ἔλαιόν τε καὶ πίττα δυνάμει θερμά, διότι ῥᾳδίως ἐνεργείᾳ γίγνεται θερμά· καὶ γὰρ ἐκφλογοῦται τάχιστα καὶ τοῖς σώμασιν ἡμῶν προσαγόμενα θερμαίνει σαφέστατα. χαλκῖτις δὲ καὶ μίσυ καὶ νᾶπυ καὶ νίτρον ἄκορόν τε καὶ μῆον καὶ κόστος καὶ πύρεθρον ἡμῖν μὲν προσαγόμενα θερμαίνειν φαίνεται τὰ μὲν μᾶλλον αὐτῶν, τὰ δ’ ἧττον, οὐ μὴν ἐκφλογοῦσθαι πέφυκεν. ἢ παραλογίζονται σφᾶς αὐτοὺς οἱ | 650Kτοῦτο μόνον ἐπισκοποῦντες, εἰ μὴ ῥᾳδίως ἐκφλογοῦνται; ἐχρῆν γὰρ οὐχ οὕτως, ἀλλ’ εἰ μηδ’ ἀνθρακοῦνται σκοπεῖν, ὡς οὐδέν γ’ ἧττον φλογὸς ὁ ἄνθραξ πῦρ. ἀλλ’ ἡ μὲν φλὸξ ἀέρος ἐκπυρωθέντος ἤ τινος ἀερώδους σώματος, ὁ δ’ ἄνθραξ γῆς ἤ τινος γεώδους γίγνεται. καὶ δὴ μέχρι τοῦδε συμφωνεῖν ὁ λόγος ἔοικεν ἑαυτῷ πάντη·



fire, or the vapor is air potentially. Sometimes, however, in potentiality is also said | 649Kin contradistinction to the contingent—for example, if someone were to say bathing in cold water would heat the body of a well-fleshed youth, he would be using it contingently and not in reference to the characteristic potential [of the cold bath].

In just so many ways, certainly, hot, cold, dry, and wet will be said “potentially” and will be looked into as they ought to be, as to why we ever call castor, spurge, pellitory, soapwort, nitron (sodium carbonate), or copper ore3 hot, or lettuce, hemlock, mandragora, salamander, or poppy cold, and whether they fall under the ways stated or are said in some other manner which has not yet been determined. For asphalt, pine resin, hard fat (suet), olive oil, and pitch are hot potentially because they readily become hot actually. Also they scorch very quickly, and when applied to our bodies, very clearly heat. Rock alum, copper ore, mustard, nitron, yellow flag, spignel, kostos,4 and pellitory when applied seem to heat us, some of them more and some less, but are not naturally scorching. Or do they mislead themselves by false reasoning, those | 650Kwho consider this alone, if it does not scorch easily? For it is necessary not to consider it in this way, but whether or not it is turned into charcoal, for charcoal is fire no less than flame is. But flame is when air is burned, or some airy body, whereas charcoal arises from earth or something earthy. And certainly up to this point, the argument seems to

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.galen-temperaments.2020