THE peculiarities of all nations are distinguished according to entire parallels and entire angles, and by their situation with regard to the Sun and the Ecliptic.
The climate which we inhabit is situated in one of the Northern Quadrants: but other nations, which lie under more southern parallels, that is to say, in the space between the equinoctial line and the summer tropic, have the Sun in their zenith, and are continually scorched by it. They are consequently black in complexion, and have thick and curled hair. They are, moreover, ugly in person, of contracted stature, hot in disposition, and fierce in manners, in consequence of the incessant heats to which they are exposed; and they are called by the common name of Æthiopians. But the human race does not alone afford evidence of the violent heat in these regions; it is shown also by all other animals and by the state of the surrounding atmosphere.
The natives of those countries which lie under the more remote northern parallels (that is to say, under the Arctic circle and beyond it 1) have their zenith far distant from the zodiac and the Sun's heat. Their constitutions, therefore, abound in cold, and are also highly imbued with moisture, which is in itself a most nutritive quality, and, in these latitudes, is not exhausted by heat: hence they are fair in complexion, with straight hair, of large bodies and full stature. They are cold in disposition, and wild in manners, owing to the constant cold. The state of the surrounding atmosphere and of animals and plants, corresponds
with that of men; who (as natives of these countries) are designated by the general name of Scythian.
The nations situated between the summer tropic and the Arctic circle, having the meridian Sun neither in their zenith nor yet far remote from it, enjoy a well-temperated atmosphere. This favourable temperature, however, still undergoes variation, and changes alternatively from heat to cold; but the variation is never vast nor violent. The people who enjoy this kindly atmosphere are consequently of proportion-ate stature and complexion, and of good natural disposition: they live not in a state of dispersion, but dwell together in societies, and are civilised in their habits. Among the nations comprehended in this division, those verging towards the south are more industrious and ingenious than the others, and more adapted to the sciences: and these qualifications are engendered in them by the vicinity of the zodiac to their zenith, and by the familiarity thus subsisting between them and the planets moving in the zodiac, which familiarly gives activity and an intellectual impulse to their minds. Again, the natives of those countries which lie towards the east excel in courage, acting boldly and openly under all circumstances; for in all their characteristics they are principally conformed to the Sun's nature, which is oriental, diurnal, masculine and dexter--(and it is plainly apparent that the dexter parts of all animals are much stronger than others)--hence results the greater courage of the inhabitants of the East. And as the Moon, on her first appearance after conjunction, is always seen in the west, the western parts are therefore lunar, and consequently feminine and sinister; whence it follows that the inhabitants of the west are milder, more effeminate and reserved.
Thus, in all countries, certain respective peculiarities exist in regard to manners, customs and laws; and in each it is found that some portion of the inhabitants differs partially and individually from the usual habits and condition of their race. These variations arise similarly to the variations perceptible in the condition of the atmosphere; as, in all countries, the general state of whose atmosphere may be either hot, or cold, or temperate, certain districts are found to possess a particular temperature of their own, and to be more or less hot, or cold, by being more or less elevated than the general face of the country. So, likewise, certain people become navigators owing to their proximity to the sea, while others are equestrian, because their country is a plain; and others, again, become domiciliated by the fertility of their soil.
And thus, in each particular climate, certain peculiar qualities are to be found, arising from the natural familiarity which it holds with the stars and the twelve signs. And although these qualities do not pervade it, in such a manner as to be necessarily exhibited by every individual native, yet they are so far generally distributed as to be of much utility in investigating particular events; and it is highly important to take at least a brief notice of them.
41:1 "Under the Bears," in the Greek.