Aristotle, Physiognomics

LCL 307: 84-85

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805 aI. Ὅτι αἱ διάνοιαι ἕπονται τοῖς σώμασι, καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αὐταὶ καθ᾿ ἑαυτὰς ἀπαθεῖς οὖσαι τῶν τοῦ σώματος κινήσεων. τοῦτο δὲ δῆλον πάνυ γίνεται ἔν τε ταῖς μέθαις καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἀρρωστίαις· πολὺ γὰρ 5ἐξαλλάττουσαι φαίνονται αἱ διάνοιαι ὑπὸ τῶν τοῦ σώματος παθημάτων. καὶ τοὐναντίον δὴ τοῖς τῆς ψυχῆς παθήμασι τὸ σῶμα συμπάσχον φανερὸν γίνεται περί τε τοὺς ἔρωτας καὶ τοὺς φόβους τε καὶ τὰς λύπας καὶ τὰς ἡδονάς. ἔτι δὲ ἐν τοῖς φύσει γινομένοις μᾶλλον ἄν τις συνίδοι ὅτι οὕτως ἔχει 10πρὸς ἄλληλα σῶμά τε καὶ ψυχὴ συμφυῶς ὥστε τῶν πλείστων ἀλλήλοις αἴτια γίνεσθαι παθημάτων. οὐδὲν γὰρ πώποτε ζῷον γεγένηται τοιοῦτον ὃ τὸ μὲν εἶδος ἔσχεν ἑτέρου ζῴου, τὴν δὲ διάνοιαν ἄλλου, ἀλλ᾿ ἀεὶ τοῦ αὐτοῦ τό τε σῶμα καὶ τὴν ψυχήν, ὥστε ἀναγκαῖον ἕπεσθαι τῷ τοιῷδε σώματι τοιάνδε 15διάνοιαν. ἔτι δὲ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ζῴων οἱ περὶ ἕκαστον ἐπιστήμονες ἐκ τῆς ἰδέας δύνανται θεωρεῖν, ἱππικοί τε ἵππους καὶ κυνηγέται κύνας. εἰ δὲ ταῦτα ἀληθῆ εἴη (ἀεὶ δὲ ταῦτα ἀληθῆ ἐστίν), εἴη ἂν φυσιογνωμονεῖν.

Οἱ μὲν οὖν προγεγενημένοι φυσιογνώμονες κατὰ 20τρεῖς τρόπους ἐπεχείρησαν φυσιογνωμονεῖν, ἕκαστος καθ᾿ ἕνα. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἐκ τῶν γενῶν τῶν ζῴων




I. Dispositions follow bodily characteristics and are Justification for a science of physiognomics. not in themselves unaffected by bodily impulses, This is obvious in the case of drunkenness and illness; for it is evident that dispositions are changed considerably by bodily affections. Conversely, that the body suffers sympathetically with affections of the soul is evident in love, fear, grief and pleasure. But it is especially in the creations of nature that one can see how body and soul interact with each other, so that each is mainly responsible for the other’s affections. For no animal has ever existed such that it has the form of one animal and the disposition of another, but the body and soul of the same creature are always such that a given disposition must necessarily follow a given form. Again, in all animals, those who are skilled in each species can diagnose their dispositions from their forms, horsemen with horses, and huntsmen with dogs. Now if this is true (and it is invariably so), there should be a science of physiognomies.

Now previous physiognomists have attempted three Methods adopted. methods in the science of physiognomies. For some base the science on the genera of animals, assuming

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-physiognomics.1936