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‘Let us then assume benevolence to be that, in accordance with (under the influence of) which he who has the feeling is said to do a service to one who is in want of it, not in return for anything (as a compensation or payment)’—it must be spontaneous as an instinct—‘nor for his own benefit, but for the advantage of the other party (to the transaction, ἐκείνῳ): the favour is great if it be (conferred on) one who is in extreme need of it, or if (the benefit it confers) be of great value or difficult (of attainment), on occasions of the like kind (μεγάλοις καὶ χαλεποῖς), or if it be unique’ (a solitary instance of such a service, the only time it ever was conferred: supply ἂν μόνος ὑπουργῶν ὑπουργήσῃ or simply χαρίσηται), ‘or the first of its kind or the most important of its kind (lit. more than any one else has ever done)’.

A passage of Cicero, de Invent. XXXVIII. 112, will serve as a commentary on this. Beneficia ex sua vi, ex tempore, ex animo eius qui facit, ex casu, considerantur. (The character of acts of benevolence is gathered or determined from these four considerations.) Ex sua vi quaerentur hoc modo: magna an parua, facilia an difficilia, singularia sint an vulgaria, vera an falsa, quanam exornatione honestentur: ex tempore autem, si tum quum indigeremus, quum ceteri non possent, aut nollent, opitulari, si tum quum spes deseruisset: ex animo, si non sui commodi causa, si eo consilio fecit omnia ut hoc conficere posset: ex casu, si non fortuna sed industria factum videbitur aut si industria fortuna obstitisse. From this close resemblance I should infer, not that Cicero had Aristotle's work before him when he wrote the de Inventione, but rather that it had been handed down, perhaps from him in the first instance, as a common-place in the ordinary books of Rhetoric.

It was a disputed question, says Ar. again, Eth. Nic. VIII 15, 1163 a 9, seq., whether the magnitude of a favour or benefit is to be measured by the amount of service to the recipient, or by the beneficence1 of the doer of it: the former being always inclined in the estimate of its value to underrate, the latter to overrate it. οἱ μὲν γὰρ παθόντες τοιαῦτά φασι λαβεῖν παρὰ τῶν εὐεργετῶν μικρὰ ἦν ἐκείνοις καὶ ἐξῆν παρ᾽ ἑτέρων λαβεῖν, κατασμικρίζοντες: οἱ δ̓ ἀνάπαλιν τὰ μέγιστα τῶν παῤ αὑτοῖς καὶ παῤ ἄλλων οὐκ ἦν, καὶ ἐν κινδύνοις τοιαύταις χρείαις.

μὴ ἀντί τινος] This might seem at first sight to exclude gratitude from the notion of χάρις; but this I believe cannot be intended; though gratitude and ingratitude are not distinctly noticed in the chapter. The case is this. χάρις in this chapter is employed exclusively in its subjective sense (see the Lexx.), to denote one of the instinctive feelings: when therefore it is applied to express gratitude, it is the feeling only, and not the actual return of the favour, which is taken into account. This is expressed by the words μὴ ἀντί τινος, which signify that it is ‘independent of the actual requital of the benefit conferred’: and, indeed, gratitude may be equally felt when the receiver of the favour has no means of repaying it in kind. This independent or subjective feeling of gratitude is therefore opposed in the words μὴ ἀντί τινος to the notion of a μισθός, the ‘payment’ or wages which a workman receives in fulfilment of an implied contract; where there is no feeling of gratitude or obligation remaining on either side after the work is done and paid for. Whereas gratitude is a permanent feeling, and the sense of obligation still remains after the requital or repayment of the service. The opposite to this is ὅτι ἀπέδωκαν ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἔδωκαν, § 5. It may be argued in certain cases that what appears to proceed from gratitude or spontaneous benevolence, is in reality nothing but the repayment of an obligation, with which χάρις is not concerned.

1 τῇ τοῦ δράσαντος εὐεργεσίᾳ. The amount of pains, labour, risk, or sacrifice incurred by the conferrer of the benefit here seems to be regarded as the measure of his ‘beneficence’.

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