(The following text was taken from http://www.epub.org.br/cm/n01/frenolog/lombroso.htm)
Cesare Lombroso was an Italian university professor and criminologist, born on Nov. 6, 1835, in Verona, who became worldwide renowned for his studies and theories in the field of characterology, or the relation between mental and physical characteristics. Lombroso tried to relate certain physical characteristics, such as jaw size, to criminal psychopathology, or the innate tendency of individuals toward sociopathy and criminal behavior. As such, Lombroso's approach is a direct descendant of phrenology, created by the German physician Franz Joseph Gall in the beginning of the nineteenth century, and closely related to other fields of characterology, such as craniology and physiognomy. His theory has been scientifically discredited, but Lombroso had the merit of bringing up the importance of the scientific studies of the criminal mind, a field which became known as criminal anthropology.
Lombroso studied at the universities of Padua, Vienna, and Paris, and was later (1862-1876) a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pavia and of forensic medicine and hygiene (1876), psychiatry (1896) and criminal anthropology (1906) at the University of Turin. He was also the director of a mental asylum in Pesaro, Italy.
Lombroso's main idea was partly inspired by the evolutionary and genetic studies at the end of the nineteenth century, and proposed that certain criminals had physical evidence of an "atavistic" (reappearance of characteristics which were present only in distant ascendants) or hereditary sort, reminiscent of earlier, more primitive stages of human evolution. These anomalies, named as stigmata by Lombroso, could be expressed in terms of abnormal forms or dimensions of the skull and jaw, asymmetries in the face, etc, but also of other parts of the body. These associations were later shown to be highly inconsistent or plainly inexistent, and theories based on the environmental causation of criminality became dominant.
Despite the unscientific nature of his theories, Lombroso was highly influential in Europe (and also in Brazil) among criminologists and jurists. Among his books are L'Uomo Delinquente (1876; The Criminal Man) and Le Crime, Causes et Remèdes (1899; Crime, Its Causes and Remedies).
Lombroso died in Oct. 19, 1909, in Turin, Italy.
Sabbatini, Renato M.E. "Phrenology, the History of Brain Localization," in Brain and Mind (March 1997).
(The following text was taken from http://www.tld.jcu.edu.au/hist/stats/lomb/)
Cesare Lombroso was an Italian physician, psychiatrist and pioneer criminologist, who caused a sensation with the publication in 1876 of his book L'uomo delinquente... (Criminal Man). In this work, Lombroso employed Darwinian ideas of evolution to account for criminal behaviour.
Measuring the heads of living and executed criminals against the skulls of apes, prehistoric humans and what he and his contemporaries saw as "primitive" peoples, Lombroso concluded that criminals were in fact victims of atavism.
Lombroso believed that his theory of atavistic criminality had clear implications for the prevention and punishment of crime.
Not all of Lombroso's contemporaries were inclined to accept his claims as to the biological basis of criminality. In many circles, his ideas met with concerted opposition.
Even so, Lombroso had his admirers throughout Europe, and his theory of atavism captured the imagination of middle class writers and readers.
Over time, Lombroso gradually came to think that social factors were also significant in disposing people to criminal behaviour. Even so, he still believed that at least forty percent of criminals were prisoners of their biological inheritance.
One useful way to approach Lombroso's theory of atavistic criminality is through recalling Francis Galton's thinking on human heredity.
Galton assumed that, over successive generations, character and talents would revert towards an average for the population as a whole. He saw the average as a measure of intellectual and physical mediocrity. Further, Galton sought to understand the workings of human hereditary processes so that they could be manipulated, to increase the frequency of desirable, over undesirable, traits.
Lombroso was intrigued by the extremely undesirable qualities that Galton was concerned to eradicate.
Drawing on Darwin's theory of natural selection, Lombroso reasoned that, in any population, a small number of individuals were likely to exhibit extremely primitive instincts. They were, in effect, evolutionary throwbacks.
In early human societies, individuals with such traits were likely to have been more fitted for survival. A strong desire to kill, for example, would have made them successful hunters and desirable mates. However, in civilized urban Europe, atavism, the reversion to evolutionarily primitive traits, was highly likely to cause criminal behavior.
Lombroso further argued that, ideally, in civilized society individuals who exhibited atavism would rarely, if ever, produce offspring. Reproductive failure would restrict the frequency with which socially dangerous primitive instincts were likely to appear.
However, Lombroso was greatly concerned that in the remoter parts of the European countryside, and, more importantly, in the growing slums of Europe's urban manufacturing centres, individuals with primitive characteristics appeared to be producing offspring who exhibited the same highly undesirable social qualities.
While Criminal Man was probably Lombroso's most influential work, he also wrote at length about women and crime, and wrote many papers which sought to demonstrate how phenomena such as tattooing amongst criminals were indicative of the survival of primeval instincts.
Lombroso on Crime
Lombroso's theory obviously presented a great challenge for older psychological theories and ideas of jurisprudence. It posited that criminals were born with an innate potential for anti-social behaviour. They did not become criminals simply because they fell victim to unfortunate social circumstances.
Even though Lombroso believed that the root causes of many social problems lay in human biology, he was no fatalist. He maintained that government had a duty to adopt more humane attitudes to crime and punishment. It would be immoral, he maintained, arguing for the law to seek retribution from those who were biologically incapable of restraining from anti-social behaviour.
Like Galton, he came to believe that the prevention of crime required the development of a science of eugenics, that would allow state agencies to implement programs of social and moral improvement through breeding.
(The following text was taken from http://amistad.mysticseaport.org/library/misc/am.phren.journl.html)
Fowler, L.N. "Phrenological Developments of Joseph Cinquez, Alias Ginqua." American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, vol. 2 (1840), 136-138.
Phrenological Developments of Joseph Cinquez, Alias Ginqua
Mr. Editor --
Inasmuch as the Africans, recently cast upon our shore, have created considerable excitement in various parts of the country, I have thought it might be interesting to present the public, through your Journal, with a brief sketch of the phrenological developments and character of their leader, viz. Joseph Cinquez or Ginqua. On the 5th of September, I visited New Haven, where the Africans were then confined, and made a critical examination of Cinquez’s head. I also took in plaster of Paris an exact likeness of his head, which is now deposited in my cabinet, and may be examined by any person who will call at No.135 Nassau Street, New York. The following cut, taken from this cast, will perhaps convey to your readers a correct view of the outlines of Cinquez’s head.
His head is peculiar in shape, being long and high, but narrow. The base of his brain is inferior in size; consequently the lower animal propensities do not constitute the leading elements of his character. His temperament is very favourable to mental and physical exercise, being nervous bilious, with a fair portion of the sanguine. He is rather tall and spare, but well-formed, and adapted for great physical and mental exertions. His appearance indicates a strong constitution, and great powers of endurance. He has very fine pliable hair, thin and soft skin, with strongly-marked nervous and locomotive powers. His head measures most in the region of those faculties giving a love of liberty, independence, determination, ambition, regard for his country, and for what he thinks is sacred and right; also, good practical talents and powers of observation, shrewdness, tact, and management, joined with an uncommon degree of moral courage and pride of character.
Amativeness, Adhesiveness, Combativeness, Destructiveness, Alimentiveness, and Acquisitiveness, are only fairly developed, and would have but a common or ordinary influence in the formation of his character. The organs of Self-esteem and Firmness are very large, and would form leading traits in his character. I should not infer that he was naturally cruel, malicious, or even selfish, except in relation to his liberty and his rights. But while he is not revengeful or ill-natured, he has too much pride and love of self to become subject to the will of others. He could not be trifled with, with impunity; his indignation is extreme, and he would not easily give up the object of his pursuit. His thoughts and feelings are protracted and connected, owing to his large Concentrativeness and Firmness. Inhabitiveness is large, and would render him much attached to home and country; his domestic organs being only fairly developed, he would not be particularly warm-hearted, social, and fond of friends or company -- had much rather have influence and power than friends, and, at times, might be tyrannical and dictatorial, yet withal, has much humanity, kindness, and sympathy, for the happiness of others.
His intellect is generally well-balanced, and better developed than most persons belonging to his race. Still he is quite deficient in those faculties giving natural refinement, delicacy of feeling, imagination, powers of adaptation, and construction. His general memory and practical talents, I should think, might be good. He has the requisite faculties for rendering him a close observer of men and things, and a good judge of human nature. Though Causality is not very strong, yet, having rather large Secretiveness and Cautiousness, he would be shrewd, artful, and a very good manager. He would have great self-possession in times of danger, and might easily conceal, by the expressions of his countenance all appearance of his real feelings or designs, so that it would be difficult to find him out, or detect his plans. His faculties admirably adapt him to take the lead, secure power, and command the respect of others, as well as render him capable of exerting a controlling influence over the minds of those like the native Africans. His cerebral organisation, as a whole, I should think, was also superior to the majority of negroes in our own country.
New York, November 8, 1839
©1997, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.