WE may observe that many Latin words have departed from their original signification and passed into one that is either far different or near akin, and that such a departure is due to the usage of those ignorant people who carelessly use words of which they have not learned the meaning. As, for example, some think that facies, applied to a man, means only the face, eyes and cheeks, that which the Greeks call πρόσωπον; whereas facies really designates the whole form, dimensions and, as it were, the make-up of the entire body, being formed from facio as species is from aspects and figura from fingere. Accordingly Pacuvius, in the tragedy entitled Niptra, used faces for the height of a man's body in these lines: 1
A man in prime of life, of spirit bold,But facies is applied, not only to the bodies of men, but also to the appearance of other things of every kind. For facies may be said properly, if the application be seasonable, of a mountain, the heavens and the sea. 2 The words of Sallust in the second book of his Histories are 3 “Sardinia, in the African Sea, having the appearance (facies) of a human foot, 4 projects farther on the eastern than on the western side.” And, by the way, it has also occurred to me that Plautus too, in the Poenulus, said facies, [p. 513] meaning the appearance of the whole body and complexion. These are his words: 5
Of stature (facie) tall.
But tell me, pray, how looks (qua sit facie) that nurse of yours?—Besides, I remember that Quadrigarius in his nineteenth book used facies for stature and the form of the whole body.
Not very tall, complexion dark.—'Tis she!—
A comely wench, with pretty mouth, black eyes—
By Jove! a picture of her limned in words!