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Body Marks—Birthmarks

Body Divination in Ancient Literature and Iconography

Véronique Dasen

A very popular form of ancient divination relies on reading the signs delivered by the human body, such as quivering or skin irregularities. A treatise attributed to Melampous, Περὶ ἐλαιῶν τοῦ σώματος, lists predictions and psychological interpretations drawn from the observation of cutaneous defects. Physiognomic omens are well evidenced in ancient Babylonia, as well as in later Arabic and Jewish traditions. This practice did exert a marked influence in Graeco-Roman Antiquity. It appealed to all, the elite as well as the plebe, to men and women. Several texts allude to professionals, men and women, who read the future from facial features. Allusions to elaioscopy may be found in iconography, and the treatise of pseudo-Melampous could offer a key for interpreting the presence of moles on portraits, mostly of the Roman Republican period.

Stephan Packard

Fiction properly gets its ›science‹ moniker: While it is understood as a futurology, a science of the future, it is named not for that scientific endeavor but rather for making its predictions by engaging with the progress of natural science. In the (seminal and more general) piece My Own View , Asimov

Catherine Z. Elgin

theologically loaded counterparts that we might find congenial. We regularly make predictions about others, based on our assessments of their character. We say of one person that he will come to a bad end; of another, that she will go far; of a third, that his impulsiveness will cause him difficulties. We can

Arne Willée

Genette : Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method . Ithaca 1983 . Alvin I. Goldman : Actions, Predictions, and Books of Life . In: American Philosophical Quarterly 5 . 3 ( 1968 ), pp. 135 – 151 . Karl S. Guthke : Lebenszeit ohne Ende. Kulturgeschichte eines Gedankenexperiments in der


Timothy J. White

more apparent with the financial crisis was indicative of Germany’s economic leadership in Europe, not its military leadership. This economic leadership proved decisive in determining how EU institutions chose to respond to the financial crisis. Realists are not entirely incorrect in their predictions