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Book 4

1. Next let us speak of Liberality. This virtue seems to be the observance of the mean in relation to wealth: we praise a man as liberal not in war, nor in matters in which we praise him as temperate nor in judicial decisions, but in relation to giving and getting1 wealth, and especially in giving; wealth meaning all those things whose value is measured by money.1. [2]

Prodigality and Meanness2 on the other hand are both of them modes of excess and of deficiency in relation to wealth. 1. [3] Meanness is always applied to those who care more than is proper about wealth, but Prodigality is sometimes used with a wider connotation, 1. [4] since we call the unrestrained and those who squander money on debauchery prodigal; and therefore prodigality is thought to be extremely wicked, because it is a combination of vices. 1. [5] But this is not the proper application of the word: really it denotes the possessor of one particular vice,

1 The word λαμβάνειν, the antithesis of ‘give,’ varies in meaning with the context between ‘get,’ ‘receive’ and ‘take.’

2 See note on 2.7.4.

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