J Med Ethics 24:263-267 doi:10.1136/jme.24.4.263
  • Research Article

Greek theories on eugenics.

  1. D J Galton
  1. St Bartholomew's Hospital, London.


      With the recent developments in the Human Genome Mapping Project and the new technologies that are developing from it there is a renewal of concern about eugenic applications. Francis Galton (b1822, d1911), who developed the subject of eugenics, suggested that the ancient Greeks had contributed very little to social theories of eugenics. In fact the Greeks had a profound interest in methods of supplying their city states with the finest possible progeny. This paper therefore reviews the works of Plato (The Republic and Politics) and Aristotle (The Politics and The Athenian Constitution) which have a direct bearing on eugenic techniques and relates them to methods used in the present century.