The word homunculus comes from the Latin for 'little human'. It used to be believed that the sperm or egg contained a tiny 'preformed' human being. Generally, homunculi were seen as tiny figures grotesquely possessed of adult human features.
A homunculus created by an alchemist features in Goethe's Faust Part II. Umberto Eco also introduced homunculi in his novel Foucault's Pendulum.
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