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‘And those who have a pre-eminent reputation for anything, and especially for wisdom or happiness’. The latter, says Victorius, on account of its extreme rarity. These three classes, desiring to engross all the success, credit, good fortune, themselves, grudge the acquisition or possession of them by their competitors, or any others. ‘And the ambitious are more prone to envy than the unambitious’: because they set a higher value upon honours and distinctions. ‘And the pretenders to wisdom and learning’ (like the Sophists, ὁ σοφιστὴς χρηματιστὴς ἀπὸ φαινομένης σοφίας ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ οὔσης, de Soph. El. 1, 165 a 21), ‘owing to their ambition of this kind of reputation, because they are ambitious of the credit of wisdom’. Plat. Phaedr. 275 B, δοξόσοφοι γεγονότες ἀντὶ σοφῶν (“the conceit of wisdom instead of the reality.” Thompson). ‘And as a general rule, all those who are covetous of distinction in anything (art, study, pursuit, accomplishment, acquirement), are in this envious (of the distinction of others). Also the little minded (mean-souled), because to them everything appears great (by comparison)’; and therefore an object of desire, which when unsatisfied breeds envy. μικροψυχία, opposed to μεγαλοψυχία, is defined in Eth. Nic. II 7, 1007 b 22, περὶ τίμην καὶ ἀτιμίαν ἔλλειψις: again IV 7, 1123 b 10, the μικρόψυχος is described as ὁ ἐλαττόνων ἢ ἄξιος ἑαυτὸν ἀξιῶν, one who rates his claims to honour and distinction too low’: and further, Ib. c. 9, sub init. ὁ μικρόψυχος ἄξιος ὢν ἀγαθῶν ἑαυτὸν ἀποστερεῖ ὧν ἄξιός ἐστι. Having this mean opinion of himself and his own merits and deserts, and no power of appreciating what is really great, he is of course likely to over-estimate in others the gifts and advantages which he supposes himself to want, and so becomes indiscriminate in his envy. In I 9. 11, 12, μικροψυχία occurs in a somewhat different sense, that of meanness in general, and especially in the use of money. Some Latin equivalents of μικροψυχία and μεγαλοψυχία are cited by Heindorf on Hor. Sat. I 2. 10, Sordidus atque animi quod parvi nolit haberi. Schrader quotes from a little treatise, περὶ ἀρετῆς καὶ κακίας, attributed (most improbably) to Aristotle, which gives a very different account of μικροψυχία from that which we find in his genuine works. It occurs c. 7, 1251 b 16, but is not worth transcribing.
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