Monday, April 18, 2016


Reading Character in Faces

Aristotle, History of Animals 1.8 (491 b; tr. A.L. Peck):
Persons who have a large forehead are sluggish, those who have a small one are fickle; those who have a broad one are excitable, those who have a bulging one, quick-tempered.
Id. 1.9 (491 b):
Below the forehead are the eyebrows. Straight ones are a sign of a soft disposition, those which bend in towards the nose, a sign of harshness; those which bend out towards the temples, of a mocking and dissimulating disposition....Eyebrows which are drawn down <are a sign> of enviousness.
Common to the upper and lower eyelid we have a part known as the nick—there are two of these to each eye, one towards the nose, one towards the temples. If these are long, they are a sign of a malicious disposition; if they have the part towards the nose fleshy, as the kites do, it is a sign of dishonesty.
Id. 1.10 (492 a):
Eyes may be large, or small, or medium-sized (these are the best). They may protrude, or be deep-set, or intermediate: those which are deep-set are in all animals the keenest: the intermediate are a sign of the finest disposition. Again, eyes may tend to blink, or to remain unblinking, or exhibit no extreme in either direction: the last-named show the finest disposition, the first indicates instability, the second impudence.
Id. 1.10 (492 a-b):
Ears may be smooth, or hairy, or intermediate: the last are the best for hearing, but are no sign of disposition. They may be large, or small, or of medium size. They may stand well out, or not stand out at all, or intermediately. The last are a sign of the finest disposition; large, projecting ears are a sign of senseless talk and chatter.

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