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Book 8

1. Our next business after this will be to discuss Friendship.1 For friendship is a virtue,2 or involves virtue; and also it is one of the most indispensable requirements of life. For no one would choose to live without friends, but possessing all other good things. In fact rich men, rulers and potentates are thought especially to require friends, since what would be the good of their prosperity without an outlet for beneficence, which is displayed in its fullest and most praiseworthy form towards friends? and how could such prosperity be safeguarded and preserved without friends? for the greater it is, the greater is its insecurity. 1. [2] And in poverty or any other misfortune men think friends are their only resource. Friends are an aid to the young, to guard them from error; to the elderly, to tend them, and to supplement their failing powers of action; to those in the prime of life, to assist them in noble deeds— “ When twain together go3

”for two are better able both to plan and to execute. 1. [3] And the affection of parent for offspring and of offspring for parent seems to be a natural instinct, not only in man but also in birds and in most animals; as also is friendship between members of the same species;

1 φιλία, ‘friendship,’ sometimes rises to the meaning of affection or love, but also includes any sort of kindly feeling, even that existing between business associates, or fellow-citizens. The corresponding verb means both ‘to like’ and ‘to love’; the adjective is generally passive, ‘loved,’ ‘liked,’ ‘dear,’ but sometimes active ‘loving,’ ‘liking,’ and so on, as a noun ‘a friend.’

2 That is, the social grace of friendliness described in Bk. 4.6.; it is there said to be nameless, but it is called φιλία at 2.7.13.

3 Hom. Il. 10.224

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