Environmental theories focus on the way geography, nature, climate, or physical environment shape physique and character. There are many manifestations of this theory and it often combines with theories of descent or genealogy. Variations on the environmental theme appear in texts ranging from geographers and astrologers to medical writers and architectural texts.
1. Hippocratic Corpus On Airs, Waters, Places 12-24 (5th century BCE). This text is the longest exposition of the environmental theory of race and ethnicity. It was written as a handbook for physicians as they headed out into the world to practice their craft. After a detailed discussion of how various climates can cause different sorts of illnesses or medical conditions, the author shows how climate dictates facial features, physique and even the character of peoples in various regions outside of Greece, focusing especially on the Scythians. (RFK)
12. I want to show now how Asia and Europe differ from each other in all ways, and particularly how the peoples of each place differ physically from one another. I assert that Asia varies most from Europe in the nature of its plant life and inhabitants. Everything grows more beautifully and larger by far in Asia. The land there is less wild than Europe and the people are also gentler and more even-tempered. The reason for this is a temperate climate. Specifically, the land lies east in the middle of the sun’s path and is further away from cold than we are. Such growth and tameness is most frequently a result of no single element (like cold or heat) dominating. Instead, a sense of equality permeates everything…
The author describes the climate and plant life of the central portion of Asia Minor.
…The men are also well-nourished and their physiques very noble. They are extremely tall and differ very little from one another in build and stature. The land is most like spring in its nature and consistency of climate. Courage, endurance, and industriousness would not be able to arise in such a climate, either among natives or immigrants. Thus, by necessity, pleasure reigns <…> among the wild animals, there is a variety of shape and size.
13. The same can be said, as I see it, of the Egyptians and Libyans. They live to the right of the sun’s course near Lake Maeotis, the boundary between Europe and Asia. Their condition is as follows: these peoples are more diverse than those in Asia because of the changes in climate and the nature of the land. The land experiences the changes just as the men do. For, where the changes in the seasons are very excessive, the land is also savage and very irregular. You will find massive mountains, woods, plains, and meadows. Where the seasons alter very little, the landscape is very regular. It’s the same for men, if someone cares to examine them. The natures of some of them resemble wooded and well-watered mountains. Others resemble airy, dry lands, or marshy meadows, or bare, dry plains. The seasons, which alter the nature of one’s physique, differ among themselves. If the differences in the seasons are vast, then the differences between the shapes and sizes will be more noticeable.
14. I will leave out discussion of those peoples who differ from us minimally and will describe instead those peoples who are very different physically and culturally. Let’s begin with the Macrocephalai, or Longheads. Their heads are unlike those of any other people. At first, they had long heads through custom, but now it is a combination of custom and nature. The Macrocephalai believe that the longest head is the most beautiful. Their custom concerning this is as follows: whenever a child is born, immediately while the head is still pliant, they use their hands to reshape the head to make it longer and then apply bandages and other appropriate “shapers” to aid in the process. The roundness of the head is thus destroyed and the length increased. Custom worked in the beginning in such a way that it forced nature to follow suit. As time went on, nature itself took over so that custom is no longer needed since one’s “stock” comes from every part of the body: healthy stock from the healthy parts and diseased stock from diseased parts. If, then, bald children come from bald parents and grey-eyed children come from grey-eyed parents and deformed children from deformed parents, and so on, would this not be the case with other physical characteristics? What prevents a long-headed child being born from a long-headed parent? Nevertheless, having a long head is now less common than before since marriages outside of the community are no longer restricted by custom.
15. That is what I have to say about the Macrocephalai. I turn now to those who dwell on the Phasis River. The land is marshy, hot, wet, and wooded. Frequent torrential storms mark the region year round. The people dwell in the marshes and construct homes of wood and reeds on the water. They rarely walk around the city and harbor, preferring to sail up and down the water on single logs since there are numerous canals. They drink hot, stagnant water that has been corrupted by the sun and augmented by the rains. The Phasis itself is the most stagnant of all rivers with an almost non-existent flow. The fruits that grow there are meager, soft and underdeveloped because of the excessive rains. This also explains why they never ripen. The water also creates a lot of fog over the land. The aforementioned conditions are why the Phasians’ bodies are so different from the rest of mankind. They are tall, extremely fat and neither their joints nor veins are visible. They have pallid complexions as if yellowed by jaundice. Their voices are the deepest of all men because the air they breathe is not clear, but damp and dirty. They are naturally lazy when it comes to physical labor. The seasons do not vary much, neither with heat nor cold. The winds are mostly damp except for one wind particular to the region. This wind blows strong and hot, and is called the chechrona, the millet wind. The north wind rarely blows there and whenever it does, it is weak and mild.
16. That is all I have to say about the differences in nature and shape between the inhabitants of Asia and Europe. There is more to be said about the faint-heartedness and cowardice of Asians. Asians are less warlike than the peoples of our part of the world. The reason is, of course, the climate. There are no great shifts in the weather, which is neither hot nor cold, but temperate. Therefore, they experience no mental anxiety and no physical shocks. Such shocks enflame the temper and increase recklessness and passion more so than constant sameness. As a result, it seems to me that Asian races are feeble. Their laws only add to this condition. Asians live mostly under kings. Where men neither rule themselves nor are autonomous, but are subjects to a despot, there is no self-interest in appearing warlike. On the contrary, it benefits them more to seem the opposite since their dangers are not the same as those who self-govern. It is more likely that subjects under a despot will be forced to suffer and die or to be separated from their families and friends for the sake of the despot. All their famous deeds and courage serve to increase the means and glory of the despot, while all they themselves get are danger and death. Furthermore, the land upon which such men live is necessarily made desert by their enemies and their own laziness. The result is that anyone born with a courageous and bold nature is changed by the laws of the land. I have proof of this: All the Greeks and barbarians in Asia who are not ruled by a despot, but by themselves, endure hardships for their own sake and are the most warlike men of all. They endure dangers for their own sake and they alone take home the prizes for courage or infamy for acts of cowardice. You will find that Asians differ from each other as well. Some are superior, some inferior. Changes in the climate are the reason for this, as previously stated.
17. This is how conditions hold for Asians. In Europe, there is a Scythian tribe called the Sauromatai who dwell near Lake Maeotis. They are different from all other peoples. Their women, so long as they are unmarried girls, ride horses, practice archery, hurl javelins from horseback and fight tribal enemies. They do not set aside their maidenhood until they have killed three enemies, and even then they do not enter into a marriage until they have made the traditional sacrifices. Once a woman has taken a husband to herself, she stops riding horseback unless there is a tribe-wide military campaign. These women do not have a right breast. While they are still infants, their mothers apply a special-made hot bronze device to their right breast and burn it so that growth stops. The result is that all growth and strength shifts to the right shoulder and arm.
18. Concerning the physiques of other Scythians and how they are similar to others or not, the same principle applies to them as to Egyptians, though Egyptians are afflicted by heat, while the Scythians are afflicted by cold. The so-called Scythian desert is, in fact, a meadow-like plain devoid of trees and moderately wet (there are great rivers that act as drains for the water from the plain). The Scythians who live here are called Nomads. They don’t dwell in houses, but in wagons. The smallest of these wagons has four wheels, the rest have six. The wagons are covered with felt and are constructed like houses with two or three rooms. These wagons are proofed against water, snow and winds, and each one is pulled by two or three hornless oxen (they are hornless because of the cold). The women live in these wagons and the men ride alongside upon horseback, followed by all the sheep, oxen, and horses. They all remain in the same place so long as there is plenty of food for the animals. Once the food runs out, they migrate to another area. They themselves eat roasted meat and drink mare’s milk. They also snack on a mare’s milk cheese called hippace.
19. Those are their customs and lifestyles. The climate and physiques of the peoples of Scythia are very different from those of other people and, like the Egyptians, are very uniform among themselves with very little diversity. The land produces very few and very small wild animals since Scythia lies right under the Great Bear and the Rhipaian Mountains, whence the north wind blows. The sun comes nearest them only during the summer solstice and at the end of its journey. It warms them, then, a little and for a short time. The winds blowing from hot regions do not arrive there except very rarely and weakly. However, the cold winds from the north always blow with the snow, ice, and heavy rains. The mountains are continually inundated with such weather and are thus made uninhabitable. During the day, dense fog lies upon the plains where they live. Thus, it is always winter, while the summer is nearly non-existent. The plains are high and barren and are not encircled by mountains, but they are sloped on the northern side. The wild animals there are not large, but are of such a kind as can shelter themselves in the barren landscape. The winter and the barrenness of the land stunt their growth because there is no warmth or shelter. The changes in the season in this region are neither obvious nor shocking. Instead, the weather is fairly constant with only unnoticeable changes between seasons. Because of this, the people are identical in appearance (men with men, women with women). Because the summer and winter are the same, year round they wear the same clothes, eat the same food, breathe the same damp air, drink from the same snow- and ice-melted water, and refrain uniformly from labor. It is well known that where there are no strong shifts in climate neither bodies nor souls can endure physical activity. By necessity, then, their bodies are stout, fleshy, jointless, bloated, and flabby, while their lower bellies are the most bloated bellies of all peoples. It is near impossible for a stomach to dry out in such a land with a nature and climate of this sort. And, because of their fatness and smooth fleshiness, the bodies of all, male and female, are identical with each other. Since the seasons are constant, the genetic seeds undergo no decay or damage when they join, except through some trauma or disease.
20. I will present an obvious proof of their bloatedness. You will find that the majority of the Scythian Nomads had their shoulders, arms, wrists, breasts, hips and loins cauterized for no other reason than their soft and bloated nature. Because of the bloating and flabbiness, they are not able to draw a bow with their shoulder or hurl a javelin. When they cauterize themselves, the excess water is dried up from the joints and their bodies become more taut, better nourished and more defined. Their bodies are flabby and wide, first, because they don’t swaddle themselves like the Egyptians do. They think [that pants are better] for horseback riding allowing them to sit ahorse more easily. Secondly, is their laziness. Male children, until they are old enough to ride horses, spend the bulk of their life in the wagons and they rarely walk because of the constant migrations. The female children are a marvel of flab and fat. Also, the Scythian race is red-headed and red-faced, though not because of the sun’s fierce heat. The cold burns their faces and turns them red.
21. Such a nature does not encourage fertility either since the men are not all that eager for intercourse given their bloated stomachs and extremely soft and cold lower bellies—a man in this condition is highly unlikely to be able to satisfy his lusts. Furthermore, the constant bouncing on horseback has rendered Scythian men unfit for sex. This is why the men are infertile. The women, on the other hand, are infertile because they are fat and bloated. Their wombs are so wet that they are incapable of absorbing a man’s seed. Their monthly purge is also not as it should be, but is infrequent and scanty. Moreover, the mouths of their wombs are clogged by fat and thus the seed is blocked. The women are fat and lazy and their bellies are cold and soft. Thus, the Scythian race is infertile. Clear proof? The slave girls. They have strong and fit bodies and the moment they’ve had sex with a man, they become pregnant.
22. Additionally, the majority of Scythian men become impotent and do women’s work, live as women, and converse like women. Such men are called the Anares, the non-men. The natives believe a god is responsible for this condition and they revere and worship those who catch it, while fearing for their own manhood. It seems to me that these diseases are divine (as all are), but no more than any other disease is divine or more human than another. All are equal and all are divine. Each has its own nature and does not arise without this nature. This particular disease seems to me to happen for the following reason: All that horseback riding causes joint swelling because their feet are always dangling from the horses’ backs. In the worst cases, the swelling is followed by the development of lacerated and disabled hips. Their cure is as follows: When the disease first appears, they cut the veins behind each ear. Once the blood stops flowing, light-headedness overtakes them and they fall asleep. When they wake up some men are cured, others are not. As I see it, though, the seed is destroyed by this practice. It is the cutting of these veins, the ones behind the ears, that causes the impotence. Men who try to have sex with a woman after this cure and are unable, think nothing of it at first. After two or three or more unsuccessful attempts, however, they start to think they have offended a god and assume that is the cause of the impotence. They then don women’s clothes since they believe their manhood is lost. They proceed to act like women and work with the women at their tasks.
Wealthy Scythians experience impotence, not the rabble. Only the strongest and most noble among them. It is because they alone ride horses. The poor do not experience it as much simply because they do not ride…
The author goes on to discuss why the disease would strike the poor more often if it were truly a “divine” disease.
…And such a disease arises among the Scythians for the reasons I already stated. This is how it is for other peoples as well where the majority ride frequently and for extended periods of time. The majority of these peoples are seized by swelling, sciatica and gout and have very limited libidos. These are common problems for the Scythians and for the reasons stated above, they are the most impotent of men. The fact that they wear pants and are on horseback most of their lives also contributes since both of these things limit masturbation. Furthermore, the cold and fatigue cause them to forget about sexual desire so that they are unmanned without ever having been aroused.
23. This is how the Scythian race lives. The other races of Europe differ among themselves in stature and physique on account to changes in the seasons, which are dramatic and frequent. The summer heat is extreme and the winters harsh. There are excessive rains followed by extended droughts and winds, which cause more variations in the weather. As a result of this, it is likely that coagulation of the seed varies depending on whether it happens in the summer or winter, in rain instead of drought. This is why I think the physiques of Europeans show more variety than those of Asians and why their stature changes even from city to city. The thickened seed is more prone to flaws and irregularities when the seasons change more frequently than when they remain constant. The same logic holds for character. In such inconsistent environments, savagery, anti-social attitudes and boldness tend to arise. The frequent shocks to the mind make for wildness and impair the development of civilized and gentle behaviors. This is why I think those living in Europe are more courageous that those in Asia. Laziness is a product of uniform climate. Endurance of both the body and soul comes from change. Also, cowardice increases softness and laziness, while courage engenders endurance and work ethic. For this reason, those dwelling in Europe are more effective fighters. The laws of a people are also a factor since, unlike Asians, Europeans don’t have kings. Wherever there are kings, by necessity there is mass cowardice. I have said this before. It is because the souls are enslaved and refuse to encounter dangers on behalf of another’s power and they willingly withdrawal. Autonomous men—those who encounter dangers for their own benefit—are ready and willing to enter the fray and they themselves, not a master, enjoy the rewards of victory. Thus, laws are not insignificant for engendering courage.
24. This, then, is all there is concerning Europe and Asia. There are in Europe itself tribes that differ from each other in stature, physique, and courage. The differences are the same as those I stated above, but I will now clarify further. Whoever dwells in a mountainous region, a region rugged, high, and damp, and where changes in seasons are dramatic, they likely have large physiques and have become acclimatized to endurance and courage. They are also quite savage and fierce. Whoever dwells in valleys, regions with meadows, stifling heats, winds that tend to be hot instead of cold, and where they use hot water, these people would not be large, nor would they be models of physical perfection. Instead, they would be naturally wide, fleshy, dark-haired, and swarthy rather than fair-skinned. They would also be less phlegmy and more bilious. They would likewise not be by nature courageous or enduring, but with laws and reinforcement of such qualities, they could become so. If there should happen to be rivers in the region to siphon off the stagnant waters and rains from the land, those people would be healthy and bright-skinned. Where no rivers are, the people would drink stagnant, marshy, fenny waters, which would necessarily make their bellies bloated and distended. Whoever dwells in a region with high plateaus, windy and damp, would be tall and fairly homogenous. Their character, however, would be rather unmanly. Those who dwell in a region with thin, dry, bare soil, where the climate is not temperate, here the people are likely to be hard, lean, and muscular, with yellowish skin rather than dark, and a stubborn and independent character and temperament. Where the changes of seasons are most frequent and differ radically from each other, there you will find the most diverse physiques, character and nature.
Climate, then, is the greatest factor in diversity among people. Next come the land in which one is raised and the waters there. You will find, for the most part, that the physique of a man and their habits are formed by the nature of the land. Where the land is rich, soft, and well-watered, and the waters are near the surface so that they become hot in the summer and cold in the winter, and where the climates are nice, there the men are flabby and jointless, bloated, lazy and mostly cowards. Lack of eagerness and sleepiness are evident among them and they are stupid and witless. But where the land is barren, dry, harsh, and harried by storms in the winter or scorched by the sun in the summers, there one would find strong, lean, well-defined, muscular and hairy men. By nature they are hard-working, wakeful, stubborn and independent. They are fierce rather than gentle, more skilled, intelligent, and warlike than others. The things that grow in a land also conform to the climate.
These are the most diverse natures and physiques among men. You will not go wrong if you use these rules as a starting point for further observations.
2. Herodotus Histories 3.12 (5th century BCE). Herodotus sees what he considers a physical or genetic difference between Egyptians and Persians and explains that difference through a description of environment and cultural practices. (CSR)
3.12. I saw a great marvel there, which I learned about from the locals. The bones of the people who died in the battle from each side were scattered separately (for the bones of the Persians were lying in one place, where they had been separated at the beginning, and the bones of the Egyptians in another place), and the skulls of the Persians were so weak that, if you wanted to strike one with a pebble, you would pierce through it. The heads of the Egyptians, though, were so strong indeed that you would hardly break through, even if you struck them with a big rock.  They say that the cause of this phenomenon is as follows (and they persuaded me easily): The Egyptians, right from childhood, shave their heads and the bone is thickened in the sun.  This is the same reason why they do not become bald--Egyptians have the fewest number of bald men out of all mankind.  This, then, is why Egyptian men have strong heads. The Persians have weak heads because they wear felt hats from birth to shelter themselves from the sun. This is how things stand now. I also saw other similar things in those who were destroyed at Pampremis together with Achaemenes the son of Darius by Inaros of Libya.
3. Herodotus Histories 9.122 (5th Century BCE). At the very end of his Histories, Herodotus relates an anecdote about Cyrus, the first king of Persia, and correlates the toughness of a people with the harshness of their climate. (RFK)
Artayates, who was hung up, had a grandfather named Artembares. He introduced the Persians to the following idea, which they took up and proposed to Cyrus: “Since Zeus has given hegemony to the Persians, and to you in particular, Cyrus, once you’ve destroyed Astyages, go! For we possess a meager and rugged land. Let’s depart and dwell elsewhere. There are many lands both near and far that, possessing them, we would truly be worth the admiration of all. It is reasonable for men who rule an empire to do such things. Indeed, when will there be a better opportunity than now, since we rule over many men and the whole of Asia?” Cyrus listened, but was not impressed by what they wanted to do. Instead, he preferred the following advice: “Do it, if you want. But be prepared to rule no longer but be ruled instead. For soft men tend to come from soft lands. It’s not common for marvelous fruits and men courageous in war to grow from the same earth.” The Persians agreed, defeated by Cyrus’ logic, and decided to return home. They thus chose to dwell in a poor land and rule rather than sow rich soil and be slaves to others.
4. Xenophon Agesilaos 1.27-28 (4th century BCE). King Agesilaos II (444-360 BCE) invaded Persia in 396 BCE claiming to liberate Greek cities in Asia Minor from Persian control. In this passage, he has gathered his forces together in Ephesus to prepare for a campaign. (CSR)
1.27. How encouraging would that be to have seen Agesilaos followed by his crowned soldiers marching from the gymnasium to dedicate their crowns to Artemis? For when men revere the gods, train in warfare, and exercise obedience, how is it not likely that everything they do is filled with noble aspirations? 28. Agesilaos, believing that despising one’s enemy emboldens men to fight, instructed heralds to sell the barbarians, stripped naked, who had been captured in raids. The soldiers saw how pale their skin was from never stripping and saw that they were fat and lazy from always riding in litters. They concluded that fighting a war with them would be little different from fighting against women. Then, Agesilaos announced that he would lead them immediately by a short cut to the best region in Asia Minor so that they could prepare their bodies and minds for battle as if preparing for an athletic contest.
5. Aristotle Politics 7.5.6 (1327b) (4th century BCE). Aristotle reflects the tensions found in Airs, Waters, Places between environmental and cultural reasons for differences in character and physical features. (RFK)
Concerning the citizen population, we stated earlier what the maximum number should be. Now, let’s discuss the innate characters of that population. One could potentially learn this from observing the most famous cities among the Greeks and how the rest of the inhabited world is divided up among the various peoples. The peoples living in cold climates and Europe are full of courage but lack intelligence and skill. The result is a state of continual freedom but a lack of political organization and ability to rule over others. The peoples of Asia, however, are intelligent and skilled, but cowardly. Thus they are in a perpetual state of subjection and enslavement. The races of the Greeks are geographically in between Asia and Europe. They also are “in between” character-wise sharing attributes of both—they are intelligent and courageous. The result is a continually free people, the best political system, and the ability to rule over others (if they happen to unify under a single constitution).
6. [Aristotle] Physiognomics 806b15 (4th century BCE). Physical characteristics and geography are here linked to determine character in birds and men. (RFK)
In general, the same holds true among birds—stiff winged birds are brave and soft-winged birds are cowardly. The same is observable among quails and cocks as well. Likewise, this can be seen among the races of men. For those men who dwell in the north have stiff hair and are courageous, while those who dwell further south are cowardly and have soft hair.
7. Cicero On Divination 2.96-97 (1st century BCE). Cicero refutes the astrological theory that the stars are responsible for the diversity of peoples by referring to environmental factors. (MLG)
Can there be any doubt that many people who have been born with some unnatural deformity are restored and corrected by nature herself (when she comes to her senses), or through some skill or medicine? For example, people whose tongues have become stuck and could not speak are relieved by a cut of the scalpel. In fact, many people have removed a natural fault by careful effort, just as Demetrius of Phaleron has written about Demosthenes. When the orator could not say rho, constant practice allowed him to pronounce it very clearly. But if the constellations created and influenced these conditions, no amount of effort could change them. What about the different environments? Don’t they produce dissimilar men? Such differences are indeed easy to list—the differences, for example, of body and character among the Indians, Persians, Ethiopians and Syrians. There is unbelievable variety and differentiation.
These differences prove the environmental situation has more influence on birth than the moon’s state. Surely the rumor is false that for 470,000 years the Babylonians have taken the horoscopes of children on their birth and tested the results. Really, if that was their custom, then they would not have stopped. But we have no authority to say that it is now performed or know that it ever was!
8. Vitruvius On Architecture 6.1.3-5, 8-11 excerpted (1st century CE). In book six of his treatise on architecture, Vitruvius argues that buildings should be appropriate to their environment by comparing how nature adapts the human body to its local environment. (RFK)
6.1.3. We should observe and examine the effects of environment on buildings and should observe also nature’s effects on the limbs and bodies of various peoples. For the sun produces only moderate heat in some places where it maintains temperate bodies. As for those places that advance near the sun, they burn and the sun removes the moisture from them. In contrast, in cold regions, the moisture is not taken from the complexions of those who live there because they are far from the south. Instead, dewy-moist air pours down from the sky onto their bodies and gives them larger physiques and deeper voices. These same people who dwell in the north, receive from the ample moisture and cool air tall bodies, fair complexions, straight red hair, blue eyes and a lot of blood.
4. Those peoples who dwell near the southern axis, however and who live nearer to the course of the sun are shaped by its violence with shorter stature, dark complexions, curly hair, black eyes, strong legs and a limited amount of blood. On account of this limited supply of blood, they are afraid to stand in a battle line, but, since their bodies are nourished by fire, they endure heat and fevers without fear. This is unlike the bodies of those living in the north, whose bodies are weakened and enfeebled by fever, but who have no fear in battle since they have ample blood to spare. 5. As with the bodies, no less so do the voices of the various peoples differ…
Vitruvius goes on to describe the shape of the world and to explain with comparison to a triangular, stringed instrument known to the Greeks as a sambucê how its regions differ according to their distance from the sun and equator.
8. Indeed, the phenomenon that deeper voices prevail in damper regions while higher-pitched voices occur in hot ones can be observed through an experiment. Take two cups, fired for the same mount of time in the same furnace and which have the same weight and make the same sound when struck. Of these two cups, dip one in water and, after removing it, strike both it and the dry cup. When done, each generates a distinctively different sound as well as has different weights. Similarly, human bodies that are shaped in the same way and that are born in the same world vary according to their specific conditions. Some, under the influence of heat, have high, sharp voices while others speak very deeply because of the abundance of moisture in the air around them.
9. Likewise, southern peoples are moved rather quickly towards the devising of plans because the dry air renders their minds sharp as opposed to northern people, who have sluggish minds slowed by the thick air and chilling dampness. These same effects can be observed in snakes: they move most quickly when the heat has dried out any chilling dampness in the air, but become motionless and sluggish during the seasons when the weather turn rainy and cold. It should not be surprising, then, if warm air renders the minds of men more astute while the cold slows their wits. 10. Of course, although southern peoples have the keenest minds and infinite cleverness in making plans, when it actually comes time to act bravely on those plans, they fail because the courage has been sucked out of their bodies by the sun. Those who are born in colder regions are more prepared for the violence of battle. Draped in great courage, they know no fear, though due to their slow wits, they rush into battle without thought and are thwarted by their lack of tactics and planning. Since the world, then, is allocated as it is and since all peoples are distinguished by their varied mixture, truly we can see that it is the Roman people who are positioned in the direct center of the entire world.
11. Regarding the need for bravery, the people in Italy are the most balanced in both their physical build and their strength of mind. For just as the planet Jupiter is tempered due to running its course between the extreme heat of Mars and the extreme cold of Saturn, in the same manner, Italy, located between north and south and thereby balanced by a mixture of both, garners unmatched praise. By its policies, it holds in check the courageousness of the barbarians [northerners] and by its strong hand, thwarts the cleverness of the southerners. Just so, the divine mind has allocated to the Roman state an eminent and temperate region so that they might become masters of the world.