The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.1.10

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 6.1.9 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 6.1.11 ›››

Gwilt translation

10Though, however, the southern nations are quick in understanding, and sagacious in council, yet in point of valour they are inferior, for the sun absorbs their animal spirits. Those, on the contrary, who are natives of cold climates are more courageous in war, and fearlessly attack their enemies, though, rushing on without consideration or judgment, their attacks are repulsed and their designs frustrated. Since, then, nature herself has provided throughout the world, that all nations should differ according to the variation of the climate, she has also been pleased that in the middle of the earth, and of all nations, the Roman people should be seated;

Morgan translation

10But although southern nations have the keenest wits, and are infinitely clever in forming schemes, yet the moment it comes to displaying valour, they succumb because all manliness of spirit is sucked out of them by the sun. On the other hand, men born in cold countries are indeed readier to meet the shock of arms with great courage and without timidity, but their wits are so slow that they will rush to the charge inconsiderately and inexpertly, thus defeating their own devices. Such being nature’s arrangement of the universe, and all these nations being allotted temperaments which are lacking in due moderation, the truly perfect territory, situated under the middle of the heaven, and having on each side the entire extent of the world and its countries, is that which is occupied by the Roman people.