previous next
and as principle may dictate. [6] And every activity aims at the end that corresponds to the disposition of which it is the manifestation. So it is therefore with the activity of the courageous man: his courage is noble; therefore its end is nobility, for a thing is defined by its end; therefore the courageous man endures the terrors and dares the deeds that manifest courage, for the sake of that which is noble.) [7]

Of the characters that run to excess, on the other hand, he who exceeds in fearlessness has no name (this, as we remarked before,1 is the case with many qualities), but we should call a man mad, or else insensitive to pain, if he feared nothing, ‘earthquake nor billows,’2 as they say of the Kelts; he who exceeds in confidence [in the face of fearful things3] is rash. [8] The rash man is generally thought to be an impostor, who pretends to courage which he does not possess; at least, he wishes to appear to feel towards fearful things as the courageous man actually does feel, and therefore he imitates him in the things in which he can.4 [9] Hence most rash men really are cowards at heart, for they make a bold show in situations that inspire confidence, but do not endure terrors. [10]

He that exceeds in fear5 is a coward, for he fears the wrong things, and in the wrong manner, and soon with the rest of the list.

1 2.7.2.

2 Apparently a verse quotation. Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1229b 28, ‘As the Kelts take up arms and march against the waves’; and Strab. 7.2.1 gives similar stories, partly on the authority of the fourth-century historian Ephorus. An echo survives in Shakespeare's simile ‘to take arms against a sea of troubles.’

3 These words seem to be an interpolation: confidence is shown in face of θαρραλέα, not φοβερά.

4 i.e., ἐν τοῖς θαρραλέοις, in situations not really formidable.

5 For symmetry this should have been ‘he that is deficient in fearlessness.’

load focus Greek (J. Bywater)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: