Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul: Polemons Physiognomy from Classical Antiquity to Medieval Islam

Hardcover | April 8, 2007

EditorSimon SwainbyGeorge Boys-Stones, Jas Elsner

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Polemon of Laodicea (near modern Denizli, south-west Turkey) was a wealthy Greek aristocrat and a key member of the intellectual movement known as the Second Sophistic. Among his works was the Physiognomy, a manual on how to tell character from appearance, thus enabling its readers to choosefriends and avoid enemies on sight. Its formula of detailed instruction and personal reminiscence proved so successful that the book was re-edited in the fourth century by Adamantius in Greek, translated and adapted by an unknown Latin author of the same era, and translated in the early Middle Agesinto Syriac and Arabic. The surviving versions of Adamantius, Anonymus Latinus, and the Leiden Arabic more than make up for the loss of the original.The present volume is the work of a team of leading Classicists and Arabists. The main surviving versions in Greek and Latin are translated into English for the first time. The Leiden Arabic translation is authoritatively re-edited and translated, as is a sample of the alternative Arabic Polemon.The texts and translations are introduced by a series of masterly studies that tell the story of the origins, function, and legacy of Polemon's work, a legacy especially rich in Islam. The story of the Physiognomy is the story of how one man's obsession with identifying enemies came to be taken upin the fascinating transmission of Greek thought into Arabic.

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Polemon of Laodicea (near modern Denizli, south-west Turkey) was a wealthy Greek aristocrat and a key member of the intellectual movement known as the Second Sophistic. Among his works was the Physiognomy, a manual on how to tell character from appearance, thus enabling its readers to choosefriends and avoid enemies on sight. Its form...

Simon Swain is Professor of Classics at the University of Warwick. George Boys-Stones is Lecturer in Classics, University of Durham. Jas Elsner is Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Antonella Ghersetti is Lecturer, Universita Ca' Foscari, Venice. Robert Hoyland is Reader in Arabic and Middle East Stud...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:712 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.75 inPublished:April 8, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199291535

ISBN - 13:9780199291533

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Table of Contents

1. Simon Swain: IntroductionI. Antiquity2. George Boys-Stones: Physiognomy and Ancient Psychological Theory3. Simon Swain: Polemon's Physiognomy4. Jas Elsner: Physiognomics: Art and TextII. Islam5. Robert Hoyland: The Islamic Background to Polemon's Treatise6. Antonella Ghersetti: The Semiotic Paradigm: Physiognomy and Medicine in Islamic Culture7. Antonella Ghersetti with Simon Swain: Polemon's Physiognomy in the Arabic TraditionIII. Texts and Translations8. Robert Hoyland: A New Edition and Translation of the Leiden Polemon9. Antonella Ghersetti: The Istanbul Polemon (TK Recension): Edition and Translation of the Introduction10. Ian Repath: The Physiognomy of Adamantius the Sophist11. Ian Repath: Anonymus Latinus, Book of Physiognomy