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Transcript of Arete
The Ancient Greeks believed the only fitting end for man was happiness. They defined happiness (eudomania) as the objective condition of being good - not the subjective condition of feeling good. This end could only be reached through Arete, or excellence, which would be defined as fulfilling the purpose for which you were made. How was arete, and thereby, eudomania achieved? These could only be achieved through the practice of virtue. The virtues that a Greek would practice are the following: Temperance (sophrosyne)
Temperance, or moderation, was one of the most significant virtues a Greek could practice. Simply, it was the avoidance of extremes. Examples:
“Throw moderation to the winds, and the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains” Democritus
“Moderation, which consists in an indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance.”
Plato Prudence (Phronesis)
Sound, or wise, judgement was the center piece of the virtues. Some examples:
“In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.” “Few things are brought to a successful issue by impetuous desire, but most by calm and prudent forethought” “Few things are brought to a successful issue by impetuous desire, but most by calm and prudent forethought” Thucydides Fortitude which means courage was also an important virtue because without it, none of the other virtues would be practiced. “You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” Epicurius “You don't develop courage by being
happy in your relationships everyday.
You develop it by surviving difficult
times and challenging adversity.”
Epicurius “You will never do anything in this
world without courage. It is the
greatest quality of the mind
next to honor.” Aristotle Greek Drama also focuses on several
heroes who faced certain death with great
valor: Hektor, Akhilles, Kassandra, Iphigenia, Polyxena, Oedipus, etc. Finally, justice (dikaiosyne) was the quality
of getting what was deserved. “Justice in the life and conduct
of the State is possible only as
first it resides in the hearts and
souls of the citizens” Plato “Nothing is to be preferred before justice.” Beauty in the eyes of the ancient
Greeks had many different characteristics:
a form of purity
beauty is a comparitive quality
part to the whole
beauty moves us Physical beauty was based on the characteristics of:
harmony, symmetry, and proportion. To a Greek, the ideal beauty was was the
masculine form. Beauty implied "a perfectly shaped, bronze, developed youth standing forth in his undraped manhood for some hard athletic battle.