The paper starts with a brief description of the corpus of physiognomic texts that was handed down from Classical Antiquity to the West through the elaboration of the Latin and Arabic Middle Ages, highlighting the importance both of the Peripatetic treatise On physiognomy (ca. 300 BCE) and of the homonymous treatise by Polemon (2nd Century CE). Then the focus shifts to the long incubation of physiognomic knowledge that unfolded since Homer throughout Greek culture under the impulse of an interest in the moral significance of physical features which contributed to detach physiognomy from other divinatory practices. Hence the interest brought to the art of physiognomy by Aristotle, who famously reflected on the methodological problems it raised and on the need to enrich the field with systematic observations, in particular of the animal world. Thus, as shown throughout the paper, Aristotle laid the foundation for the writing of the first treaty on the discipline, which not by chance took place within the Peripatos.

The Beginnings of Physiognomy in Greece

Maria Michela Sassi
2021-01-01

Abstract

The paper starts with a brief description of the corpus of physiognomic texts that was handed down from Classical Antiquity to the West through the elaboration of the Latin and Arabic Middle Ages, highlighting the importance both of the Peripatetic treatise On physiognomy (ca. 300 BCE) and of the homonymous treatise by Polemon (2nd Century CE). Then the focus shifts to the long incubation of physiognomic knowledge that unfolded since Homer throughout Greek culture under the impulse of an interest in the moral significance of physical features which contributed to detach physiognomy from other divinatory practices. Hence the interest brought to the art of physiognomy by Aristotle, who famously reflected on the methodological problems it raised and on the need to enrich the field with systematic observations, in particular of the animal world. Thus, as shown throughout the paper, Aristotle laid the foundation for the writing of the first treaty on the discipline, which not by chance took place within the Peripatos.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1115494
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