Montesquieu on weather’s persuasions

This kind of, sort of confirms (at least to me) how influential weather is on the human spirit & on life:

 

Heard first onImage Slate’s political gabfest, then pulled from Wikipedia:

“Meteorological climate theory

Another example of Montesquieu‘s anthropological thinking, outlined in The Spirit of the Laws and hinted at in Persian Letters, is his meteorological climate theory, which holds that climate may substantially influence the nature of man and his society. By placing an emphasis on environmental influences as a material condition of life, Montesquieu prefigured modern anthropology’s concern with the impact of material conditions, such as available energy sources, organized production systems, and technologies, on the growth of complex socio-cultural systems.

He goes so far as to assert that certain climates are superior to others, the temperate climate of France being ideal. His view is that people living in very warm countries are “too hot-tempered,” while those in northern countries are “icy” or “stiff.” The climate of middle Europe is therefore optimal. On this point, Montesquieu may well have been influenced by a similar pronouncement in The Histories of Herodotus, where he makes a distinction between the ‘ideal’ temperate climate of Greece as opposed to the overly cold climate of Scythia and the overly warm climate of Egypt. This was a common belief at the time, and can also be found within the medical writings of Herodotus’ times, including the ‘On Airs, Waters, Places’ of the Hippocratic corpus. One can find a similar statement in Germania by Tacitus, one of Montesquieu’s favorite authors. However, the earlier works that most closely resemble Montesquieu’s complex climate theory are the Muqaddimah (1377) by the Arab sociologist, Ibn Khaldun, and The Travels of Sir John Chardin in Persia and the Orient (1711) by the French traveller Jean Chardin.[5]”

 

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