As I put the finishing touches on my presentation I've realized that I must drop a section on physiognomy from my paper. It is a shame because this section included a wonderful description of everyone's favorite tyrant, Caligula. Here is part of the section I dropped:
Physiognomonic ideology supposed that it was possible to recognize personality traits by observing a person’s physical features. Analogs to “known” animal characteristics were often employed or presupposed.
Ps-Aristotle explains that “soul and body react on each other; when the character of the soul changes, it changes also the form of the body, and conversely, when the form of the body changes, it changes the character of the soul” (808b). In this view, one’s external characteristics reflected something of one’s personality and vice versa. Consider then this description of Caligula by Suetonius:
He was very tall, and extremely pale, with a huge body, but very thick neck and legs. His eyes and temples were hollow, his forehead broad and grim, his hair thin and entirely gone on the top of his head, though his body was hairy. While his face was naturally forbidding and ugly, he purposely made it even more savage, practicing all kinds of terrible and fearsome expressions before a mirror. (Cal. 50)Caligula is a helpful example because he represents a figure who was almost universally despised in retrospect and who departs in so many ways from Suetonius’ physiognomic ideal. Suetonius emphasizes Caligula’s goat-like appearance and disposition: “The goat was of this appearance. Creatures with hairy legs are sensual . . . . He has a pale skin and is covered with black, straight hair, which is a sign of cowardice, which indicates stupidity and foolishness.”
So there you have it. Caligula's appearance mirrored the fugliness of his soul.