Thymos (or thumos), cognate with Indo-European words meaning “smoke,” is one of a number of terms in Greek which associate psychological activity with air and breath. In the Homeric poems, thymos is one of a family of terms associated with internal psychological process of thought, emotion, volition, and motivation. Though the range of the term’s applications in Homer is wide, that in itself gives us a sense of the unity of cognitive, affective, and desiderative processes in Homeric psychology. No post-Homeric author can rival that range, but something of the richness of the Homeric conception of thymos as an interrelated set of motivations re-emerges in Plato’s conception of the tripartite soul in the Republic and the Phaedrus. Plato’s thymos represents a pared-down model of human agency typified by one central desire or aim in life but also exhibiting whatever further capacities of persons are necessary to enable it to pursue that aim in interaction with the other elements of the personality. As in Homer, the metaphorical agency of Plato’s thymos does not detract from the notion of the individual as the real centre of agency.
Diodorus (3) of Agyrium, Sicily (hence “Diodorus Siculus”) is the author of the Bibliothēkē (‘Library’), a universal history whose scope spans (a) the time from the beginning of mankind to Diodorus’ own day and (b) the space of the entire inhabited world. Diodorus worked on the Bibliothēkē from c. 60 to c. 30 bce. His main technique is the compilation of existing historical writings. He compiled existing historical writings and organised the vast material into two narrative structures: a space-centred and a time-centred one. Key topics treated in the Bibliothēkē are paradoxography, great men and women, emotions, and technical achievements. By focussing on these aspects, Diodorus not only captivates and engrosses his readers, but also enables them to learn from his all-encompassing history.There are very few testimonies on Diodorus (3) outside of his Bibliothēkē, and even these external sources derive their information from his work. For that reason, every reconstruction of Diodorus’ biography deals with the text itself, especially with the main proem at the beginning of the .
Tragic history is a phrase coined in the late 19th century to describe a certain type of Hellenistic history writing, which was thought to have Peripatetic underpinnings, and whose main proponents were Duris of Samos and Phylarchus (of Athens or Naucratis). The expression gained currency quickly and is still widely used to designate un-Polybian, sensationalist, and emotionally involved historiography from the Hellenistic period (the works of which have all been lost), in spite of the current communis opinio among specialists that there was no real “school” of tragic history.Tragic history is a phrase coined in the late 19th century to describe a certain type of Hellenistic history writing, which was thought to have Peripatetic underpinnings, and whose main proponents were Duris of Samos and Phylarchus (of Athens or Naucratis). The expression gained currency quickly and is still widely used to designate un-Polybian, sensationalist, and emotionally involved historiography from the Hellenistic period (the works of which have all been lost), in spite of the current .
Physiognomy, the art of observing and making inferences from physical features of the body, was practised from c. 1500 bce (when it is mentioned in Mesopotamian handbooks on divination). A focus on personal character (and a reflection on the relation between physical and psychical facts) seems to be a Greek innovation. Aristotle attempted to give an inductive basis to assertions of the interdependence of body and soul (in An. pr. 2.27); the Historia animalium provided empirical evidence that corroborated early ideas about moral types among animals. The first extant treatise on the subject, the Physiognomonica (a Peripatetic work of c. 300 bce long attributed to Aristotle), established a few criteria of comparison with animal, racial, and gender types, as well as with the expressions of emotions. This treatise is the forerunner of a tradition embracing Polemon of Laodicea in the 2nd century ce, an anonymous Latin treatise (Anonymus Latinus) in the 4th, as well as medieval, Renaissance, and modern writers.