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8. Let this suffice for benevolence and the opposite. We will now state what things and persons excite pity, and the state of mind of those who feel it. [2] Let pity then be a kind of pain excited by the sight of evil, deadly or painful, which befalls one who does not deserve it; an evil which one might expect to come upon himself or one of his friends, and when it seems near. For it is evident that one who is likely to feel pity must be such as to think that he, or one of his friends, is liable to suffer some evil, and such an evil as has been stated in the definition, or one similar, or nearly similar. [3] Wherefore neither those who are utterly ruined,
are capable of pity, for they think they have nothing more to suffer, since they have exhausted suffering; nor those who think themselves supremely fortunate, who rather are insolent. For if they think that all good things are theirs, it is clear that they think that they cannot possibly suffer evil, and this is one of the good things. [4] Now those persons who think they are likely to suffer are those who have already suffered and escaped; the advanced in age, by reason of their wisdom and experience; and the weak, and those who are rather more timid; and the educated, for they reckon rightly; [5] and those who have parents, children, or wives, for these are part of them and likely to suffer the evils of which we have spoken; [6] and those who are not influenced by any courageous emotion, such as anger or confidence, for these emotions do not take thought of the future and those who are not in a wantonly insolent frame of mind, for they also take no thought of future suffering; but it is those who are between the two extremes that feel pity. Those who are not in great fear; for those who are panic-stricken are incapable of pity, because they are preoccupied with their own emotion. [7] And men feel pity if they think that some persons are virtuous; for he who thinks that no one is will think that all deserve misfortune.
And, generally speaking, a man is moved to pity when he is so affected that he remembers that such evils have happened, or expects that they may happen, either to himself or to one of his friends.

[8] We have stated the frame of mind which leads men to pity; and the things which arouse this feeling are clearly shown by the definition. They are all painful and distressing things that are also destructive, and all that are ruinous; and all evils of which fortune is the cause, if they are great. [9] Things distressing and destructive are various kinds of death, personal ill-treatment and injuries, old age, disease, and lack of food. [10] The evils for which fortune is responsible are lack of friends, or few friends (wherefore it is pitiable to be torn away from friends and intimates), ugliness, weakness, mutilation; if some misfortune comes to pass from a quarter whence one might have reasonably expected something good; [11] and if this happens often; and if good fortune does not come until a man has already suffered, as when the presents from the Great King were not dispatched to Diopithes until he was dead. Those also are to be pitied to whom no good has ever accrued, or who are unable to enjoy it when it has.

These and the like things, then, excite pity. [12] The persons men pity are those whom they know, provided they are not too closely connected with them for if they are, they feel the same as if they themselves were likely
to suffer. This is why Amasis1 is said not to have wept when his son was led to execution, but did weep at the sight of a friend reduced to beggary, for the latter excited pity, the former terror. The terrible is different from the pitiable, for it drives out pity, and often serves to produce the opposite feeling. [13] Further, the nearness of the terrible makes men pity.2 Men also pity those who resemble them in age, character, habits, position, or family; for all such relations make a man more likely to think that their misfortune may befall him as well. For, in general, here also we may conclude that all that men fear in regard to themselves excites their pity when others are the victims. [14] And since sufferings are pitiable when they appear close at hand, while those that are past or future, ten thousand years backwards or forwards, either do not excite pity at all or only in a less degree, because men neither expect the one nor remember the other, it follows that those who contribute to the effect by gestures, voice, dress, and dramatic action generally, are more pitiable; for they make the evil appear close at hand, setting it before our eyes as either future or past.
[15] And disasters that have just happened or are soon about to happen excite more pity for the same reason. [16] Pity is also aroused by signs and actions, such as the dress of those who have suffered, and all such objects, and the words and everything else that concerns those who are actually suffering, for instance, at the point of death. And when men show themselves undaunted3 at such critical times it is specially pitiable; for all these things,4 because they come immediately under our observation, increase the feeling of pity, both because the sufferer does not seem to deserve his fate, and because the suffering is before our eyes.

1 Hdt. 3.14, where the story is told, not of Amasis, by of his son Psammenitus.

2 Jebb renders: “Again men pity when the danger is near themselves,” which may mean when they see something terrible happening to others and likely soon to befall themselves. Vahlen inserts οὐ γὰρ before ἔτι: “for men cease to pity when the terrible comes close to themselves.

3 “When the men, who are in such crises, are good men” (Jebb). If they were not, their misfortune would appear deserved.

4 The signs and actions, and the demeanor of the sufferer.

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