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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
How to Preserve the Health
By Athenæus of Naucratis (Second Century?)
 
From the ‘Deipnosophistæ’: Translation of Charles Duke Yonge

ONE ought to avoid thick perfumes, and to drink water that is thin and clear, and that in respect of weight is light, and that has no earthy particles in it. And that water is best which is of moderate heat or coldness, and which, when poured into a brazen or silver vessel, does not produce a blackish sediment. Hippocrates says, “Water which is easily warmed or easily chilled is alway lighter.” But that water is bad which takes a long time to boil vegetables; and so too is water full of nitre, or brackish. And in his book ‘On Waters,’ Hippocrates calls good water drinkable; but stagnant water he calls bad, such as that from ponds or marshes. And most spring-water is rather hard.  1
  Erasistratus says that some people test water by weight, and that is a most stupid proceeding. “For just look,” says he, “if men compare the water from the fountain Amphiaraus with that from the Eretrian spring, though one of them is good and the other bad, there is absolutely no difference in their respective weights.” And Hippocrates, in his book ‘On Places,’ says that those waters are the best which flow from high ground, and from dry hills, “for they are white and sweet, and are able to bear very little wine, and are warm in winter and cold in summer.” And he praises those most, the springs of which break toward the east, and especially toward the northeast, for they must be inevitably clear and fragrant and light. Diocles says that water is good for the digestion and not apt to cause flatulency, that it is moderately cooling, and good for the eyes, and that it has no tendency to make the head feel heavy, and that it adds vigor to the mind and body. And Praxagoras says the same; and he also praises rain-water. But Euenor praises water from cisterns, and says that the best is that from the cistern of Amphiaraus, when compared with that from the fountain in Eretria.  2
  That water is really nutritious is plain from the fact that some animals are nourished by it alone, as for instance grasshoppers. And there are many other liquids that are nutritious, such as milk, barley water, and wine. At all events, animals at the breast are nourished by milk; and there are many nations who drink nothing but milk. And it is said that Democritus, the philosopher of Abdera, after he had determined to rid himself of life on account of his extreme old age, and after he had begun to diminish his food day by day, when the day of the Thesmophorian festival came round, and the women of his household besought him not to die during the festival, in order that they might not be debarred from their share in the festivities, was persuaded, and ordered a vessel full of honey to be set near him: and in this way he lived many days with no other support than honey; and then some days after, when the honey had been taken away, he died. But Democritus had always been fond of honey; and he once answered a man, who asked him how he could live in the enjoyment of the best health, that he might do so if he constantly moistened his inward parts with honey, and the outer man with oil. And bread and honey was the chief food of the Pythagoreans, according to the statement of Aristoxenus, who says that those who eat this for breakfast were free from disease all their lives. And Lycus says that the Cyrneans (a people who live near Sardinia) are very long-lived, because they are continually eating honey; and it is produced in great quantities among them.  3
 
 
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