Aristotle on which racial group lacks intellect

Have you ever heard someone assert that "Of course northern Europeans are intelligent: they had to be to deal with that cold climate!"

Here is what Aristotle thought about this (and note: he does not include Greeks among Europeans here):

"The nations that live in cold regions and those of Europe are full of spirit, but somewhat lacking in skill and intellect..." -- The Politics, Book VII


  1. During the time of the Rome, the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain were considered their enemies. It's ironic how they ended up building an empire that lasts even today.

    1. I think that's in part due to the technological advantages that England had in the Dark Ages because it had been under Roman rule previously.

  2. Mistranslation. He meant Austrians.
    Aristotle, Economikae, Bk V

  3. Let's suppose that all the peoples of the world are equally endowed with the same natural abilities. All that separates them is a few superficial characteristics such as skin colour, eye/nose shape etc,.

    Isn't it just utterly bizarre then, that some countries are so poor and some so rich?! What could possibly explain this? It's just the same people, after all. Some of the relatively poor countries are resource-rich, too! How extraordinary. I can see why "evil white men" is such an appealing explanation for this weird state of affairs. I can also see why "cold climate breeds smarts" appeals to others.

    As I am totally uneducated in these fields, I can but stare on in wonderment. I does one become educated ENOUGH to have such sure opinions on these questions?


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