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The body as a mirror of the soul: an inquiry into the reception of the Physiognomonica in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Medieval scholars reading (pseudo-)Aristotle’s Physiognomonica, a text dealing with the deduction of internal character traits from external features, did not read this treatise in the original Greek language, but had access to it through the Latin translation by Bartholomew of Messina (13th century). This translation (rather than the original Greek text) circulated widely in the medieval West and was instrumental in the dissemination of Aristotle’s natural philosophical thought during the Middle Ages. This project offers the first critical edition of this influential translation of the Physiognomonica (based on a careful analysis of all extant manuscripts), accompanied by a study of its reception in medieval thought. This reception study will reveal the importance of this text for the history of medicine, the history of emotions and the history of philosophy by charting and analyzing the medieval commentaries that were written on this treatise, as well as by studying the ways in which this text was used at late medieval universities and which status it enjoyed.


Date:1 Oct 2014 →  30 Sep 2018
Keywords:physiognomy, Aristotle, Physiognomonica, Middle Ages
Disciplines:Theory and methodology of philosophy
Project type:PhD project