The Word "complexion" Is Derived From The Late Latin complexi, Which Initially Referred In General Terms To A Combination Of Things, And Later In Physiological Terms, To The Balance Of humors.
The Four Humours Were Four fluids that Were Thought To Permeate The Body And Influence Its Health. The Concept Was Developed By Ancient Greek Thinkers Around 400 BC And Developed Further By Galen.People Were Thought To Be Either Of The four Temperaments: Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic, Or Sanguine.
During The Middle Ages in Europe, The Latin term complexio served As The Translated Form Of The Greek word crasis, Meaning temperament. The Term “temperament” Referred To The Balance Of The Qualities Of Hot, Wet, Cold, And Dry; Each Human Body Carried A Different Mixture Of The Elements.Thus, The Scythians, Who Lived In A Cold Climate, Were Considered “colder And Moister” In Complexion; The Ethiopians were Considered Hotter And Dryer. Complexion Was Defined As “that Quality Which Results From The Mutual Interaction And Interpassion Of The Four Contrary Primary Qualities Residing Within The Elements. These Elements Are So Minutely Intermingled As Each To Lie In Very Intimate Relationship To One Another. Their Opposite Powers Alternately Conquer And Become Conquered Until A Quality Is Reached Which Is Uniform Throughout The Whole: This Is The Complexion.”
Complexion Was Thought To Be An Indicator Of One's Character. The Spanish work Known As Corbacho, Written By Alfonso Martínez De Toledo (c. 1398—c. 1470), Includes A Chapter Called "De Las Complexiones." In It He Describes The Personalities Of Men Of Varying Complexions: "There Are Others Who Are Melancholic: These Men Correspond To The Earth, Which Is The Fourth Element, Which Is Cold And Dry. These Men Are Very Angry, Without A Sense Of Tact Or Moderation... They Have No Sense Of Temperance In Anything They Do, And Only Bang Their Head Against The Wall. They're Very Iniquitous, Petulant, Miserable...”
Complexion, In Its Original Sense, Engaged The Attention Of Philosophers And Musical Theorists From Ancient Times Right Through To The Renaissance And Beyond, In Relation To The Most Favourable Balancing Of The 'qualities' Or Elements In Order To Heal And Invigorate The Soul: From Pythagoras And The Musical Theorist Aristoxenus, Through Plato's Dialogue Phaedo, Aristotle, Saint Augustine In His Thesis On Music, And Aquinas; And In The Florentine Renaissance, Marsilio Ficino In His Work On The Immortality Of The Soul, The Theologia Platonica.