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Tra il visibile e l'invisibile

Testi di fisiognomica nella tradizione greco-latina e arabo-islamica

Between the visible and the invisible
Texts of physiognomics in the Greek-Latin and Arab-Islamic traditions

Maria Fernanda Ferrini, Guido Giglioni (edited by)

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14,00 €

Among the ancient forms of technical expertise (technai) that claimed to be based on rules, theoretical knowledge and corroborated practices, physiognomy occupies from its very beginning the most ambiguous and yet dynamic position. When compared with other cultures at the time, the initial stages of Greek physiognomy were defined by a characteristic descriptive approach. The power of the images and various techniques of verbal visualization, designed to place invisible realities before the eyes of readers and hearers, were successfully applied in physiognomic descriptions which fostered the development of increasingly more refined strategies in description and classification. Their principal aim was to bridge the gap between saying and seeing. Unforgettable pages in modern literature and artistic depictions testify to the way in which physiognomic knowledge has become an integral part of a long and uninterrupted tradition. At the same time, the interest in the method and the principles underlying physiognomic investigations remains alive in various scientific domains as well as in legal and forensic contexts. This volume collects some of the contributions that scholars of different background and research fields presented at the Colloquium on ‘Between Visible and Invisible’ at the University of Macerata in 2017. They shed light on several aspects related to the exegetic tradition linked to the foundational texts of physiognomy in Greek, Latin and Arabic languages. The Conference was under the auspices of the Centro di studi interuniversitario GrAL (Greco Arabo Latino) Incontro di culture and of the Warburg Institute, London.

About the Authors
Maria Fernanda Ferrini is Associate Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Macerata. Her principal monographies are focused on the technical and scientific treatises of the Corpus Aristotelicum (De coloribus, Problemata, Physiognomonica, De audibilibus, Mechanica, De plantis, Rhetorica ad Alexandrum). Among her most recent publication is ΧΡΩΜΑΤΑ (Chrōmata). Lessico dei termini greci di colore. I: alpha (2019).

Guido Giglioni is Associate Professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Macerata. His research investigates the link between life and imagination in the early modern period, a topic on which he has written several contributions focused on Marsilio Ficino, Girolamo Cardano e Tommaso Campanella. Among his books are a study on Jan Baptista van Helmont’s theory of imagination (Milan, 2000) and a monograph on Francis Bacon (Rome, 2011).


  • Codice ISBN (print) 978-88-6056-615-7
  • Codice ISSN (print) 2704-6389
  • Numero pagine 212
  • Formato 14x21
  • Anno 2019
  • Editore © 2019 eum edizioni università di macerata

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