Hippocrates of Cos, Airs Waters Places

LCL 147: 110-111



διάφοροι ἔωσι μέγα1 σφέων αὐτέων, διαφοραὶ 24καὶ πλείονες γίνονται τοῖς εἴδεσι.

XIV. Καὶ ὁκόσα μὲν ὀλίγον διαφέρει τῶν ἐθνέων παραλείψω, ὁκόσα δὲ μεγάλα ἢ φύσει ἢ νόμῳ, ἐρέω περὶ αὐτῶν ὡς ἔχει. καὶ πρῶτον περὶ τῶν Μακροκεφάλων. τούτων γὰρ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο ἔθνος ὁμοίας τὰς κεφαλὰς ἔχον οὐδέν· τὴν μὲν γὰρ ἀρχὴν ὁ νόμος αἰτιώτατος ἐγένετο τοῦ μήκεος τῆς κεφαλῆς, νῦν δὲ καὶ ἡ φύσις συμβάλλεται τῷ νόμῳ. τοὺς γὰρ μακροτάτην ἔχοντας τὴν κεφαλὴν γενναιοτάτους ἡγέονται. ἔχει 10δὲ περὶ νόμου ὧδε· τὸ παιδίον ὁκόταν γένηται τάχιστα, τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ἔτι ἁπαλὴν ἐοῦσαν μαλθακοῦ ἐόντος ἀναπλάσσουσι τῇσι χερσὶ καὶ ἀναγκάζουσιν ἐς τὸ μῆκος αὔξεσθαι δεσμά τε προσφέροντες καὶ τεχνήματα ἐπιτήδεια, ὑφ᾿ ὧν τὸ μὲν σφαιροειδὲς τῆς κεφαλῆς κακοῦται, τὸ δὲ μῆκος αὔξεται. οὕτως τὴν ἀρχὴν ὁ νόμος κατειργάσατο, ὥστε ὑπὸ βίης τοιαύτην τὴν φύσιν γενέσθαι· τοῦ δὲ χρόνου προϊόντος ἐν φύσει ἐγένετο, ὥστε τὸν νόμον μηκέτι ἀναγκάζειν. ὁ γὰρ 20γόνος πανταχόθεν ἔρχεται τοῦ σώματος, ἀπό τε τῶν ὑγιηρῶν ὑγιηρὸς ἀπό τε τῶν νοσερῶν νοσερός. εἰ οὖν γίνονται ἔκ τε φαλακρῶν φαλακροὶ καὶ ἐκ γλαυκῶν γλαυκοὶ καὶ ἐκ διεστραμμένων στρεβλοὶ ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πλῆθος, καὶ περὶ τῆς ἄλλης μορφῆς ὁ αὐτὸς λόγος, τί κωλύει καὶ ἐκ μακροκεφάλου μακροκέφαλον γίνεσθαι; νῦν δὲ ὁμοίως οὐκέτι γίνονται ὡς πρότερον· ὁ γὰρ νόμος οὐκέτι 28ἰσχύει διὰ τὴν ὁμιλίην τῶν ἀνθρώπων.


Airs Waters Places

differences be great, the more too are the differences in the shapes.

XIV. The races that differ but little from one another I will omit, and describe the condition only of those which differ greatly, whether it be through nature or through custom. I will begin with the Longheads.1 There is no other race at all with heads like theirs. Originally custom was chiefly responsible for the length of the head, but now custom is reinforced by nature. Those that have the longest heads they consider the noblest, and their custom is as follows. As soon as a child is born they remodel its head with their hands, while it is still soft and the body tender, and force it to increase in length by applying bandages and suitable appliances, which spoil the roundness of the head and increase its length. Custom originally so acted that through force such a nature came into being; but as time went on the process became natural, so that custom no longer exercised compulsion. For the seed comes from all parts of the body, healthy seed from healthy parts, diseased seed from diseased parts. If, therefore, bald parents have for the most part bald children, grey-eyed parents grey-eyed children, squinting parents squinting children, and so on with other physical peculiarities, what prevents a long-headed parent having a longheaded child?2 At the present time long-headedness is less common than it was, for owing to intercourse with other men the custom is less prevalent.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.hippocrates_cos-airs_waters_places.1923