Physiognomy

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Related to physiognomies: augured, betokened

physiognomy

[‚fiz·ē′äg·nə·mē]
(psychology)
The prediction of personality functioning from facial appearances and expression.

Physiognomy

 

in the science of antiquity and of certain later periods, the study of the direct connection between the outward appearance and character of a person or an animal.

Physiognomy is rooted in the ancient practice of incorporating experience of life into folklore and the lore of sorcerers, fortune tellers, and the like. Physiognomic observations became part of the cultures of the ancient East; in the classical era they were systematized in the same way as other scientific disciplines of the time. Proportions of the face and body, characteristic gestures and facial expressions, and types of posture, build, and carriage of the body were described and classified.

In antiquity physiognomy was associated with the theory of temperaments and with Hippocrates’ theory of the dependence of an individual’s or a people’s physical and mental makeup on climate. Physiognomy was also related to the system of moral types (“characters”) worked out by Theophrastus and other students of Aristotle and to the use of types in classical literature, as exemplified by the character masks in New Comedy and the techniques of verbal portraiture in classical rhetoric, historiography, and biography.

Physiognomy was based on the notion prevalent in antiquity that the actions and behavior of every person are rigidly determined by his inborn character. According to Heraclitus, a person’s character was his “demon,” that is, his fate; similar statements were made by Epicharmus, Democritus, and Plato. It was believed that every person’s association with a moral type was just as clear and obvious, just as tangible and biological, as his physical features.

The classical tradition of physiognomy was reflected in the culture of Byzantium and of medieval Western Europe; it had a particularly strong influence on Arab science and on the cabala of Jewish mysticism. Some Western European scientists, for example, G. della Porta in De humana physiognomonia (1586), resumed the study of physiognomy between the 16th and 18th centuries. However, the establishment of new scientific criteria in the 17th and 18th centuries relegated physiognomy to the realms of common sense and artistic intuition. In his Physiognomical Fragments (1775–78), J. K. Lavater failed in an attempt to restore physiognomy to the status of a science. Similar attempts by such epigones of German romanticism as R. Kassner and L. Klages also failed to achieve acceptance. Klages’ graphology and characterology may be mentioned in this connection.

REFERENCES

Scriptores physiognomonici graeci et latini, vols. 1–2. Edited by R. Foerster. Leipzig, 1893.
Evans, E. C. Physiognomies in the Ancient World. Philadelphia, 1969.

S. S. AVERINTSEV

References in periodicals archive ?
The specific mention of the eyes, rather than the gestures and characters expressed on the face, points to an emphasis on one anatomical part of the face, the eyes, that will become important in the literature on physiognomies beginning with Polemon's version of physiognomies (see below).
Two of the principal marks from Garga and Aristotle, svara-phone (voice) and varna-chrdma (complexion) also figure among the first three signs that indicate imminent death in early Indian medicine (Ayurveda), revealing physiognomies's connection with medicine in the Indian tradition.
Indeed, it points to a common choice of technical terms shared by the ancient Greek and the early Indian systems of physiognomies. Further, the Indian tradition has links to the early Indian medical tradition of Ayurveda.
The Basic Sources and Marks of Greek and Indian Physiognomies (16) Greek Latin (16) Sanskrit English [phrase omitted] motus gati movement (kinesis) [phrase omitted] figura samsthana form/figure/gesture (schema) [phrase omitted] color varna complexion (chroma) (ethos) mos sattva character [phrase omitted] kes'a/loman hairs (of the head (trichoma) & body) [phrase omitted] levitas sneha (oily) smooth skin (leiotes) [phrase omitted] vox svara voice (phone) (sarasvati) (eloquence) [phrase omitted] caro masa/mamsa flesh/muscle (sarx) [phrase omitted] pars gatra limbs (meros) carana, pani, feet, hands, etc.
Another similarity between early Greek and Indian physiognomies occurs in their respective modes for enumerating the different parts of the human body.
In order to determine statistically significant differences in architectural parameters among physiognomies, we used one-way ANOVAs when data met those assumptions (errors normally distributed and homocedasticity).
The extent of variation in architectural traits related to physiognomies was determined using a quantitative estimate of phenotypic plasticity (Valladares et al., 2006).
where j and j' are individuals of the different physiognomies i and i'.
However, the first shoot height showed no significant variation among these three physiognomies (Table 1).
bishopi in the physiognomies can certainly be related to other factors not considered in this work, such as texture and consistence of the soil, number of roots among others.
Taxil, L'Astrologie et la physiognomie en leur splendeur (1614); Jean Belot, Institution familiare (1619), Agostino Mascardi, Romanae dissertationes de affectibus sive perterbationibus animi earumque characteribus (1639); Richard Sanders, Physiognomie, and Chiromancie, Metoscopie (1653), Marin Cureau de la Chambre, L'Art de connoistre les hommes (1659), J.
Taxil, L'Astrologie et la physiognomie en leur splendeur (1614); Jean Belot, Institution familiare (1619); Agostino Mascardi, Romanae dissertationes de affectibus sive perterbationibus animi earumque characteribus (1639); Richard Sanders, Physiognomie, and Chiromancie, Metoscopie (1653); Marin Cureau de la Chambre, L'Art de connoistre les hommes (1659); J.