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8.

Such is the nature of Courage; but the name is also applied to five divergent types of character.

(1) First, as most closely resembling true Courage comes the citizen's courage.1 Citizen troops appear to endure dangers because of the legal penalties and the reproach attaching to cowardice, and the honors awarded to bravery; hence those races appear to be the bravest among which cowards are degraded and brave men held in honor. [2] It is this citizen courage which inspires the heroes portrayed by Homer, like Diomede and Hector: “ Polydamas will be the first to flout me;2

” and Diomede says “ Hector will make his boast at Troy hereafter:
“By me was Tydeus' son . . .”3

” [3]

This type of courage most closely resembles the one described before, because it is prompted by a virtue, namely the sense of shame,4 and by the desire for something noble, namely honor, and the wish to avoid the disgrace of being reproached. [4]

The courage of troops forced into battle by their officers may be classed as of the same type, though they are inferior inasmuch as their motive is not a sense of shame but fear, and the desire to avoid not disgrace but pain. Their masters compel them to be brave, after Hector's fashion: “ Let me see any skulking off the field—
He shall not save his carcase from the dogs!5

” [5]

The same is done by commanders who draw up their troops in front of them and beat them if they give ground, or who form them in line with a trench or some other obstacle in the rear; all these are using compulsion. A man ought not to be brave because he is compelled to be, but because courage is noble. [6]

(2) Again, experience of some particular form of danger is taken for a sort of Courage; hence arose Socrates' notion that Courage is Knowledge.6 This type of bravery is displayed in various circumstances, and particularly in war by professional soldiers.7 For war (as the saying is) is full of false alarms, a fact which these men have had most opportunity of observing; thus they appear courageous owing to others' ignorance of the true situation. [7] Also experience renders them the most efficient in inflicting loss on the enemy without sustaining it themselves, as they are skilled in the use of arms, and equipped with the best ones both for attack and defence. [8] So that they are like armed men fighting against unarmed, or trained athletes against amateurs; for even in athletic contests it is not the bravest men who are the best fighters, but those who are strongest and in the best training. [9] But professional soldiers prove cowards when the danger imposes too great a strain, and when they are at a disadvantage in numbers and equipment; for they are the first to run away, while citizen troops stand their ground and die fighting, as happened in the battle at the temple of Hermes.8 This is because citizens think it disgraceful to run away, and prefer death to safety so procured; whereas professional soldiers were relying from the outset on superior strength, and when they discover they are outnumbered they take to flight, fearing death more than disgrace. But this is not true courage. [10]

(3) Spirit or anger9 is also classed with Courage. Men emboldened by anger, like wild beasts which rush upon the hunter that has wounded them, are supposed to be courageous, because the courageous also are high-spirited; for spirit is very impetuous in encountering danger. Hence Homer writes,10 ‘he put strength in their spirit,’ and ‘roused their might and their spirit,’ and ‘bitter wrath up through his nostrils welled,’ and ‘his blood boiled’; for all such symptoms seem to indicate an excitement and impulse of the spirit. [11] Thus the real motive of courageous men is the nobility of courage, although spirit operates in them as well; but wild animals are emboldened by pain, for they turn to bay because they are wounded, or frightened—since if they are in a forest or a swamp11 they do not attack. Therefore they are not to be considered courageous for rushing upon danger when spurred by pain and anger, and blind to the dangers that await them; since on that reckoning even asses would be brave, when they are hungry, for no blows will make them stop grazing!12 (And adulterers also are led to do many daring things by lust.)13 [12]

But14 the form of courage that is inspired by spirit seems to be the most natural, and when reinforced by deliberate choice and purpose it appears to be true Courage. And human beings also feel pain when angry, and take pleasure in revenge. But those who fight for these motives, though valiant fighters, are not courageous; for the motive of their confidence is not honor, nor is it guided by principle, but it springs from feeling. However, they show some affinity to true Courage. [13]

(4) Nor yet again is the boldness of the sanguine the same thing as Courage. The sanguine are confident in face of danger because they have won many victories over many foes before. They resemble the courageous, because both are confident, but whereas the courageous are confident for the reasons already explained,15 the sanguine are so because they think they are stronger than the enemy, and not likely told come to any harm. [14] (A similar boldness is shown by men who get drunk, for this makes them sanguine for the time being.) When however things do not turn out as they expect, the merely sanguine run away, whereas the mark of the courageous man, as we have seen,16 is to endure things that are terrible to a human being and that seem so to him, because it is noble to do so and base not to do so. [15] Hence it is thought a sign of still greater courage to be fearless and undismayed in sudden alarms than in dangers that were foreseen. Bravery in unforeseen danger springs more from character, as there is less time for preparation; one might resolve to face a danger one can foresee, from calculation and on principle, but only a fixed disposition of Courage will enable one to face sudden peril. [16]

(5) Those who face danger in ignorance also appear courageous; and they come very near to those whose bravery rests on a sanguine temperament, though inferior to them inasmuch as they lack self-confidence, which the sanguine possess. Hence the sanguine stand firm for a time; whereas those who have been deceived as to the danger, if they learn or suspect the true state of affairs, take to flight, as the Argives did when they encountered the Lacedaemonians and thought they were Sicyonians.17 [17]

We have now described the characteristics both of the courageous and of those who are thought to be courageous.

1 ‘Political courage’: Plato uses this phrase (Plat. Rep. 430c) of patriotic courage, based on training and ‘right opinion about what is terrible and what is not,’ and in contrast with the undisciplined courage of slaves and brute beasts. Elsewhere, on the other hand, he contrasts ‘popular and citizen virtue’ in general with the philosopher's virtue, which is based on knowledge.

2 Hom. Il. 22.100 ( Hector)—‘Alas, should I retire within the gates, Polydamas, . . .’

3 Hom. Il. 8.148—‘By me was Tydeus's son routed in flight Back to the ships.’

4 For this emotion see 2.7.14, 4.9.1, where it is said not to be, strictly speaking, a virtue.

5 Hom. Il. 2.391, but the words are Agamemnon's, and are slightly different in our Homer.

6 i.e., knowledge of what is truly formidable and what is not (cf. note on 8.1); but Socrates went on to show that this depended on knowledge of the good, with which he identified all virtue: see Plato's Laches.

7 i.e., ξένοι, foreign mercenary troops, much employed in Greek warfare in Aristotle's time.

8 In Coronea, 353 B.C.; the Acropolis had been seized by Onomarchus the Phocian, and mercenaries, brought in by the Boeotarchs to aid the citizens, ran away at the beginning of the battle (schol.).

9 θυμός means both ‘spirit’ or ‘high spirit’ and also its manifestation in anger.

10 i.e., in describing courageous men, Hom. Il. 14.151 or Hom. Il. 16.529, Hom. Il.5.470, Hom. Od. 24.318. The fourth phrase is not in our Homer, but occurs in Theocritus 20.15.

11 i.e., in a place where they can escape. The words ‘or a swamp,’ are probably interpolated.

12 See Hom. Il. 11.558.

13 This parenthetical note does not bear on the context.

14 This sentence should apparently come at the end of the section, ‘but’ being amended to ‘for.’

15 Cf. 7.2-6

16 Cf. 7.2-6.

17 This occurred in the battle at the Long Walls of Corinth, 392 B.C. Lacedaemonian cavalry had dismounted and armed themselves with the shields of the routed Sicyonians, marked ΣXen. Hell. 4.4.10).

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