Chapter

<i>Complexio</i>/Complexion

Valentin Groebner

in The Moral Authority of Nature

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780226136806
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226136820 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226136820.003.0015
Complexio/Complexion

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This chapter explores the background and the uses of some Renaissance notions of the nature of individuals and the boundaries they were placed within, with particular attention to the frameworks of visualization that surrounded and shaped these notions. By what outward signs could the “nature” of an individual be recognized, and by what categories were these signs linked to a person's body and its physical qualities, embodied or incorporated in the literal sense? For this, the chapter focuses on the notion Hippocrates uses and describes its journey from the medieval centers of Scholastic learning in Italy and Paris to the sixteenth-century printing presses north of the Alps. Derived from learned Renaissance discourse, it has, to our days, a certain prominence in administrative protocols of a person's outward appearance, a piece of history of science in the identity documents.

Keywords: nature of individuals; Renaissance; Hippocrates; physical qualities; Scholastic learning; administrative protocols

Chapter.  9943 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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