Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Aristotle: Part 3

I've just been trying to find a reference for this Aristotle quote that appears on my website;
"Fishermen, divers for murex, and generally those whose work is on the sea, have red hair."
On Google Books I found this in the Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation; edited by Jonathan Barnes;
"Why have fishermen reddish hair, and divers for murex, and in short all who work on the sea? Is it because the sea is hot and full of dryness because it is salty? Now that which is of this nature, like lye and orpiment, makes the hair reddish. Or is it because they are warmer in their outer parts, but their inner parts are chilled, because, owing to their getting wet, the surrounding parts are always being dried by the sun? And as they undergo this process, the hair being dried becomes fine and reddish. Furthermore all those who live towards the north have fine, reddish hair."
This full passage is much more interesting and gives a lot more detail. The first line is identical in content to my quote too :)

This comes from an Aristotle collection titled 'Problems'. According to scholars there's some doubt as to whether this collection can be attributed to Aristotle or not. It apparently reached its final form somewhere between the 3rd century BC and the 6th century AD :/

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