Metoposcopy, the early modern divinatory practice that reads the pattern of lines on a person's forehead for their signification, has been the object of studies primarily focused on the discipline's historical evolution. This article analyzes the complex origins of this practice, its concrete techniques, and its possible legal and medical applications. The essay opens with a reassessment of Girolamo Cardano's Metoposcopia by emphasizing the essential influence exerted by the art of memory, which he mentions in a key passage of his De sapientia. The essay investigates the problematic role played by Cardano's treatise, which is usually considered as the first and most comprehensive examination of metoposcopy, even though it was published posthumously in 1658 when interest in this science was waning. A fundamental aspect that hasn't received significant attention is the connection between metoposcopy, focused on the upper part of the head, and contemporary views of human intellectual faculties that granted this science special significance.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| January 01 2024
Fate, Human Character, and Divinatory Perception in Early Modern Metoposcopy
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2024) 54 (1): 57–87.
Armando Maggi; Fate, Human Character, and Divinatory Perception in Early Modern Metoposcopy. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2024; 54 (1): 57–87. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-10948479
Download citation file: