require instruments for their performance, in the
shape of friends or wealth or political power;
there are certain external advantages, the lack of which sullies supreme felicity, such as
good birth, satisfactory children, and personal beauty: a man of very ugly appearance or
low birth, or childless and alone in the world, is not our idea of a happy man, and still
less so perhaps is one who has children or friends1
that are worthless, or who
has had good ones but lost them by death.
As we said
therefore, happiness does seem to require the addition of external prosperity, and this is
why some people identify it with good fortune （though some identify it with
It is this that gives rise to the question whether happiness is a thing that can be
learnt, or acquired by training, or cultivated in some other manner, or whether it is
bestowed by some divine dispensation or even by fortune.
（1） Now if anything that men have is a gift of the gods, it is
reasonable to suppose that happiness is divinely given—indeed of all man's
possessions it is most likely to be so, inasmuch as it is the best of them all.
This subject however may perhaps more properly belong to another
branch of study.3
if happiness is not sent us from heaven, but is won by virtue and by some kind of study or
practice, it seems to be one of the most divine things that exist. For the prize and end
of virtue must clearly be supremely good—it must be something divine and
（2） And also on our view it
will admit of being widely diffused, since it can be attained through some process of
study or effort by all persons whose capacity for virtue has not been stunted or maimed.