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Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, by Kathleen Freeman, [1948], at


Alcmaeôn of Crotôn was in his prime at the beginning of the fifth century B.C.

He wrote a book on Natural Science.

1. Alcmaeon of Croton, son of Peirithous, said the following to Brotinus and Leon and Bathyllus: concerning things unseen, (as) concerning things mortal, the gods have certainty, whereas to us as men conjecture (only is possible).

Ia. Man differs from the other (creatures) in that he alone understands; the others perceive, but do not understand.

2. Men perish because they cannot join the beginning to the end.

3. (In mules, the males are sterile because of the fineness and coldness of the seed, and the females because their wombs do not open).

4. Health is the equality of rights of the functions, wet-dry, cold-hot, bitter-sweet and the rest; but single rule among them causes disease; the single rule of either pair is deleterious. Disease 

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occurs sometimes from an internal cause such as excess of heat or cold, sometimes from an external cause such as excess or deficiency of food, sometimes in a certain part, such as blood, marrow or brain; but these parts also are sometimes affected by external causes, such as certain waters or a particular site or fatigue or constraint or similar reasons. But health is the harmonious mixture of the qualities.

5. It is easier to guard against an enemy than against a friend.

Next: 25-27. Iccus, Parôn, Ameinias