But to resume: the forms of friendship of which we have spoken are friendships of
equality, for both parties render the same benefit and wish the same good to each other,
or else exchange1
two different benefits, for instance pleasure and profit.
are less truly friendships, and less permanent, as we have
said; and opinions differ as to whether they are really friendships at all, owing to their
being both like and unlike the same thing. In view of their likeness to friendship based
on virtue they do appear to be friendships, for the one contains pleasure and the other
utility, and these are attributes of that form of friendship too; but in that friendship
based on virtue is proof against calumny, and permanent, while the others quickly change,
besides differing in many other respects, they appear not to be real friendships, owing to
their unlikeness to it.） 7.
But there is a different kind of friendship, which involves superiority of one party over
the other, for example, the friendship between father and son, and generally between an
older person and a younger, and that between husband and wife, and between any ruler and
the persons ruled. These friendships also vary among themselves. The friendship between
parents and children is not the same as that between ruler and ruled, nor indeed is the
friendship of father for son the same as that of son for father, nor that of husband for
wife as that of wife for husband; for each of these persons has a different excellence and
function, and also different motives for their regard, and so the affection and friendship
they feel are different.
Now in these unequal friendships the benefits that one
party receives and is entitled to claim from the other are not the same on either side;
but the friendship between parents and children will be enduring and equitable, when the
children render to the parents the services due to the authors of one's being, and the
parents to the children those due to one's offspring. The affection rendered in these
various unequal friendships should also be proportionate3
better of the two parties, for instance, or the more useful or otherwise superior as the
case may be, should receive more affection than he bestows; since when the affection
rendered is proportionate to desert, this produces equality in a sense between the
parties, and equality is felt to be an essential element of friendship.
Equality in friendship, however, does not seem to be like equality in matters of justice.
In the sphere of justice, ‘equal’ （fair） means
primarily proportionate to desert, and ‘equal in quantity’ is only a
secondary sense; whereas in friendship ‘equal in quantity’ is the
primary meaning, and ‘proportionate to desert’ only secondary.
This is clearly seen when a wide disparity arises
between two friends in point of virtue or vice, or of wealth, or anything else; they no
longer remain nor indeed expect to remain friends. This is most manifest in the case of
the gods, whose superiority in every good attribute is pre-eminent;