No ancient critic appears to have doubted the
authenticity of this work, and only Haller among
the moderns has rejected it.
It is divided roughly into two parts. The first
(Chapters I-XI) deals chiefly with the effects of
climate and situation upon health ; the second
(XII-XXIV) deals chiefly with the effects of climate
upon character. At the end of XII a portion has
been lost dealing with the Egyptians and Libyans.
The style of the book has the dignified restraint
which we associate with the Hippocratic group of
treatises. In tone it is strikingly dogmatic, conclusions
being enunciated without the evidence upon
which they are based. Modern physicians are
sceptical about many of these conclusions while
fully recognizing the value of the principle that
geographical conditions and climate influence health.
The second part of the work is scarcely medical
at all, but rather ethnographical. It bears a close
resemblance to certain parts of Herodotus, but lacks
the graceful bonhomie which is so characteristic of
the latter writer. Indeed it is hard not to see a
close connection between the account of the impotent
effeminates of Chapter XXII and the ἐνάρεεσ2
of Herodotus I. 105.