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Πολέμων), the author of a short Greek work on Physiognomy, which is still extant. Nothing is known of the events of his life, but from some expressions that he uses (e. g. the word εἰδωλόθυτος, 1.6. p. 197) it has been supposed that he was a Christian. With respect to his date it can only be stated that he must have lived in or before the third century after Christ, as he is mentioned by Origen (Cont. Cels. 1.33. p.351, ed. Bened.), and from his style he cannot be supposed to have lived much earlier than this time.


On Physiognomy

His work, which appears to have suffered much from the ignorance of transcribers, consists of two books: in the first, which contains twenty-three chapters, after proving the utility of physiognomy, he lays down the general principles of the science; he speaks of the shape of the head, the colour of the hair, of the forehead, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the manner of breathing, the sound of the voice, &c.; in the second book, which consists of twenty-seven chapters, he goes on to apply the principles he had before laid down, and describes in a few words the characters of the courageous man, the timid, the impudent, the passionate, the talkative, &c.


It was first published in Greek by Camillus Peruscus, with Aelian's "Varia Historia," and other works, at Rome, 1545, 4to. It was translated into Latin by Nicolaus Petreius, and published with Meletius "De Natura Hominis," and other works, at Venice, 1552, 4to.

The last and best edition is that by J. G. F. Franz in his "Scriptores Physiognomoniae Veteres," Altenburg. 1780. 8vo. in Greek and Latin, with a Preface and Notes.


It was translated into Arabic, and is still extant in that language. [PHILEMON].

Further Information

See Franz's Preface to his "Script. Physiogn. Vet." and Penny Cyclopaedia.


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