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It appears however that honor also,1 as was said in the first part of this work, has a certain virtue concerned with it, which may be held to bear the same relation to Greatness of Soul that Liberality bears to Magnificence. This virtue as well as Liberality is without the element of greatness, but causes us to be rightly disposed towards moderate and small honors as Liberality does towards moderate and small amounts of money; [2] and just as there is a mean and also excess and deficiency in getting and in giving money, so also it is possible to pursue honor more or less than is right and also to seek it from the right source and in the right way. [3] We blame a man as ambitious if he seeks honor more than is right, or from wrong sources; we blame him as unambitious if he does not care about receiving honor even on noble grounds. [4] But at another time we praise the ambitious man as manly and a lover of what is noble, or praise the unambitious man as modest and temperate, as we said in the first part of this work.2 The fact is that the expression ‘fond of’ so-and-so is ambiguous, and we do not always apply the word ‘fond of honor’ (ambitious) to the same thing; when we use it as a term of praise, we mean ‘more fond of honor than most men,’ but when as a reproach, ‘more than is right.’ As the observance of the mean has no name, the two extremes dispute as it were for the unclaimed estate. But where there is excess and deficiency there must also be a mean. [5] Now men do seek honor both more and less than is right; it must therefore be possible also to do so rightly. It is therefore this nameless middle disposition in regard to honor that we really praise. Compared with ambition it appears unambitiousness, and compared with unambitiousness it appears ambition: compared with both, it a appears in a sense to be both. [6] This seems to be true of the other virtues also; but in the present case the extremes appear to be opposed only to one another, because the middle character has no name.5.

Gentleness is the observance of the mean in relation to anger. There is as a matter of fact no recognized name for the mean in this respect—indeed there can hardly be said to be names for the extremes either—, so we apply the word Gentleness to the mean though really it inclines to the side of the defect. [2] This has no name, but the excess may be called a sort of Irascibility, for the emotion concerned is anger, though the causes producing it are many and various. [3]

Now we praise a man who feels anger on the right grounds and against the right persons, and also in the right manner and at the right moment and for the right length of time. He may then be called gentle-tempered, if we take gentleness to be a praiseworthy quality (for ‘gentle’ really denotes a calm temper, not led by emotion but only becoming angry in such a manner, for such causes and for such a length of time as principle may ordain;

1 i.e., honor as well as wealth is the object of both a major and a minor virtue: see 2.7.8.

2 See 2.7.8.

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