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The development of the virtues in ancient Greece

December 15, 2012

The development of the virtues in ancient Greece

1x – 10 century BCE: heroic age. Kings-heroes like Achilles, Odysseus … The virtue of courage is dominant here. Striving to become the first among all. Attempt on divine deeds. Basically that is why Zarathustra teaches women to raise men up for war. The later virtues might rather be seen as deviations from this primary virtue. “What is good? – Good is to be brave” – TSZ. This is not only for warriors, this is for all men, because no man shall be brought up differently. A woman is for the rest of the warrior because of her optimistic nature. (Schopenhauer, on women)

10 – 6 century BCE: kings have no more valuable offspring. The root of tragedy is probably here (death of kings). Polises ruled by aristocracy instead of kingdoms all over Greece. Righteousness (justice) becomes the main virtue: the attitude of the individual toward the society. Not even Sparta is a kingdom, their kings are only military leaders. Honor is very elevated in Sparta – a mark of the agonal (aristocratic) nature.

6-2 century BCE: unrighteousness (corruption) rises. Sycophants. The rule of money (corruption discussed by Plato in the Republic). The main virtue is wisdom, but only few have them. “The majority is bad” – a word of the 7 wise. First philosophers come up in this age, not before. Aristocracy, rich people and excellence of any kind perish through the tyranny of the majority. Perhaps this is why Zarathustra says “I love those who … and perish”, because there is no way to survive for those who want to become excellent.


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