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Physiognomonika of pseudo-Aristoteles: introductory study and translation

Grant number: 21/02329-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2021
Effective date (End): June 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Literatures
Principal Investigator:Daniel Rossi Nunes Lopes
Grantee:Gustavo Henrique Carvalho Fagundes
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The technique of inferring character through the interaction between 'body and soul', the physiognomy, became notorious in Ancient Greece since its foundations expanded to the fields of arts, Hippocratic medicine, and ancient philosophy. Although since Homer literature and iconography have explored a 'physiognomic sense' under the aspiration for symmetry and for the harmony of bodily forms in view of the ideals of the aristocracy - the Good and the Beautiful -, the first methodological treatise on physiognomy emerge in the middle of the third century BCE, surrounding the peripatetic school. The text deals with three methods of analyzing the disposition of the soul based on external signs: zoomorphy, ethnographic physiognomy, and the analysis of the affections of character (thus) manifested on the face. Whereas the good formation of the body involving the formation of the soul encompasses the intents of Greek paideia and philosophy, being reflected in art and in the diagnosis of diseases - pathognomonic -, the emergence of a treatise on physiognomy in the Hellenistic period testifies to the relevance of the matter to Greek civilization, so that its survey can contribute to a thorough understanding of the unfolding regarding the relationship between body and soul in ancient thought. The repercussions of Greek physiognomy stemmed from the pseudo-Aristotelian treatise that became widespread among the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and modernity, having been projected on pseudo-scientific concerns, such as phrenology and eugenics, of interest to the History of Science, and also for Art History. This project aims to carry out an introductory study and a complete translation of the treatise Physiogn Monika, whose authorship was later attributed to Aristotle. (AU)

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