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[1230a] [1]

The base among mankind, by toil o'ercome,
Conceive a love of death.

Agathon Fr. 7

As also Cheiron,1 in the legendary story of the poets, because of the pain from his wound prayed that though immortal he might die. And in like manner to these, all who face dangers because of experience are not brave; this is how perhaps most of the military class face dangers. For the fact is the exact opposite of the view of Socrates, who thought that bravery was knowledge: sailors who know how to go aloft are not daring through knowing what things are formidable, but because they know how to protect themselves against the dangers; also courage is not merely what makes men more daring fighters, for in that case strength and wealth would be courage—as Theognis puts it:

For every man by poverty subdued.

Theog. 177

But manifestly some men do face emergencies in spite of being cowards, owing to experience, and they do so because they do not think that there is any danger, as they know how to protect themselves. A proof of this is that when they think that they have no protection and that the cause of alarm is now close at hand, they turn tail. But among all such causes, it is when shame makes men face what is alarming that they would appear to be bravest, as Homer says Hector faced the danger of encountering Achilles: “ And shame on Hector seized—
” Source unknown 3 [20] and

“ Polydamas will be the first to taunt me.


Civic courage is this kind. But true courage is neither this nor any of the others, though it resembles them, as does the courage of wild animals, which are led by passion to rush to meet the blow. For it is not from fear that he will incur disgrace that a man ought to stand his ground, nor from motives of anger, nor because he does not think that he will be killed or because he has forces to protect him, for in that case he will not think that there is really anything to be afraid of. But, since indeed all goodness involves purposive choice (it has been said before what we mean by this—goodness makes a man choose everything for the sake of some object, and that object is what is fine), it is clear that courage being a form of goodness will make a man face formidable things for some object, so that he does not do it through ignorance (for it rather makes him judge correctly), nor yet for pleasure, but because it is fine, since in a case where it is not fine but insane he will not face them, for then it would be base to do so.

We have now given an account that is fairly adequate for our present procedure of the kind of things in relation to which Courage is a middle state, and between what vices and for what reason it is this, and what is the power that formidable things exercise.

We must next attempt to decide about Temperance and Profligacy. The term 'profligate' (unchaste) has a variety of meanings. It means the man who has not been (as it were) 'chastised' or cured, just as 'undivided' means one that has not been divided; and these terms include both one capable of the process and one not capable of it:

1 The Centaur sage and physician, accidentally wounded by a poisoned arrow of Heracles, transferred his immortality to Prometheus.

2 Theognis 177.

3 Not in our Homer.

4 Hom. Il. 22.100

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