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In respect to which part is physiognomy especially carried out?

Is it in respect to the heart or the brain?

Second, in respect to which part is physiognomy especially carried out? Is it in respect to the heart or the brain?

1. It seems that it is in respect to the heart, because the operative virtues flow from the heart as their root; but mores proceed from the operative virtues. Therefore, they are especially known in respect to the heart.

2. Likewise, the motive virtues proceed from the brain, from the posterior part, and the sensitive virtues from the anterior part. If then a physiognomy of mores occurs in respect to the brain, it occurs especially in respect to the posterior part, from which the operative virtues flow. But this is not true, as the Philosopher's determination makes clear; therefore, etc.

The Philosopher's determination makes the opposite clear, for physiognomy is especially accomplished by means of the face and the anterior parts that are near the brain.

One must say that mores can be linked to a given part in two ways, either as if to a root and virtue or as if to a power and the origin of the mores. And thus physiognomy can be accomplished especially in respect to the heart, because the heart is the first part and the root of an animal, and that is why it is situated in the middle of the body just like a king in his kingdom. And thus a person will vary in mores with respect to the heart's possessing more or less heat or dryness and whether it is large or small.

They can also be linked to that in which they especially appear or become apparent. And thus physiognomy can especially occur with respect to the brain. For, although the motive virtues come forth from the heart as their root, this nevertheless happens with the brain playing a mediating role. And this is why a physiognomy of the natural mores of a person can be obtained especially through the brain or the parts adjacent to it.

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that although the motive powers [ vires] proceed from the heart as their root, in a more immediate way they come from the brain.

2. To the second, one must reply that the head is not completely a sphere, but is oblong in part. The brain is under the sinciput and under the occiput there is more emptiness, though there is no absolute emptiness there, but rather this part is bonier than the anterior part. And as a result, the sensitive powers are situated nearer the brain, and this is why physiognomy is obtained in the senses and the anterior part of the brain more than in the posterior part.

Why the suture in the bone of a human skull is more noticeable than in the bone of other animals.

Why several sutures are visible on the head of a man and only one on a woman's head.

Next one asks why the suture in the bone of a human skull is more noticeable than in the bone of other animals.

It seems that the human bone has to be more solid because a human's brain requires more protection; therefore, etc.

And the same applies for why several sutures appear on the head of a man and only one on a woman's head.

1. (a)[1] To the first, one must reply that the human brain is large with respect to the size of his body when compared to other animals. Thus, the skull is often filled with vapors rising to the brain, on account of which his brain especially requires ventilating, and for this reason there is a suture on the human head.

(b) Again, the veins and arteries proceed from the brain and it is through these that the sensitive and motive powers are diffused to the individual members. And this is why it is fitting that there should be a suture in the bone, so that it would allow transit and stability for the veins and arteries.

(c) Third, the brain is wrapped in two pellicles, the outer one of which is hard.89 And this is why there are sutures on the bone, so that the brain is not injured by this pellicle but instead attaches more firmly to bone and flesh.

2. To the second, one must reply that there are more vapors in a woman than in a man, and it is easier to divide something in length than in breadth, and this is why a circular suture appears on a woman's head, whereas on a man's head there are several sutures, and they are divided in a more longitudinal fashion.

3. And in addition to this, owing to a defect in her heat the vapors in a woman's head cannot penetrate the bone to the extent that vapors in a man's head can, and this is why women's heads are more subject to pain than the heads of men. And so too to the other.

89. "Hard": dura, hence the name of the membrane, used even today, the dura mater.

  • [1] The numbering that follows is inserted by the translators to help correct and clarify the incorrect numbering of the original text.
 
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