All friendship, as we have said,1
involves community; but the friendship between relatives and between members of a
comradeship may be set apart as being less in the nature of partnerships than are the
friendships between fellow-citizens, fellow-tribesmen, shipmates, and the like; since
these seem to be founded as it were on a definite compact. With the latter friendships may
be classed family ties of hospitality between foreigners.
Friendship between relatives itself seems to include a variety of species, but all appear
to derive from the affection of parent for child. For parents love their children as part
of themselves, whereas children love their parents as the source of their being.
Also parents know their offspring with more
certainty than children know their parentage; and progenitor is more attached to progeny
than progeny to progenitor, since that which springs from a thing belongs to the thing
from which it springs—for instance, a tooth or hair or what not to its
owner—whereas the thing it springs from does not belong to it at all, or only in
a less degree. The affection of the parent exceeds that of the child in duration also;
parents love their children as soon as they are born, children their parents only when
time has elapsed and they have acquired understanding,2
or at least perception.
why parental affection is stronger in the mother. Parents then love their children as
themselves （one's offspring being as it were another self—other because
）; children love their parents as the
source of their being; brothers love each other as being from the same source, since the
identity of their relations to that source identifies them with one another, which is why
we speak of ‘being of the same blood’ or ‘of the same
stock’ or the like; brothers are therefore in a manner the same being, though
embodied in separate persons.
But friendship between
brothers is also greatly fostered by their common upbringing and similarity of age;
‘two of an age agree,’5
and ‘familiarity breeds fellowship,’ which
is why the friendship between brothers resembles that between members of a comradeship.
and other relatives derive their attachment from the fraternal relationship, since it is
due to their descent from the same ancestor; and their sense of attachment is greater or
less, according as the common ancestor is nearer or more remote.
The affection of children for their parents, like that of men for the gods, is the
affection for what is good, and superior to oneself; for their parents have bestowed on
them the greatest benefits in being the cause of their existence and rearing, and later of
Also the friendship between parents and
children affords a greater degree both of pleasure and of utility than that between
persons unrelated to each other, inasmuch as they have more in common in their lives.
Friendship between brothers has the same characteristics as that between members of a
comradeship, and has them in a greater degree, provided they are virtuous, or resemble one
another in any way6
; inasmuch as brothers belong more closely to each other, and have loved
each other from birth, and inasmuch as children of the same parents, who have been brought
up together and educated alike, are more alike in character; also with brothers the test
of time has been longest and most reliable.
of friendship between other relatives vary correspondingly.7
The friendship between husband and wife appears to be a natural instinct; since man is by
nature a pairing creature even more than he is a political creature,8
inasmuch as the family is an earlier and more
fundamental institution than the State, and the procreation of offspring a more
characteristic of the animal
creation. So whereas with the other animals the
association of the sexes aims only at continuing the species, human beings cohabit not
only for the sake of begetting children but also to provide the needs of life; for with
the human race division of labor begins at the outset, and man and woman have different
functions; thus they supply each other's wants, putting their special capacities into the
common stock. Hence the friendship of man and wife seems to be one of utility and pleasure
combined. But it may also be based on virtue, if the partners be of high moral character;
for either sex has its special virtue, and this may be the ground of attraction. Children,
too, seem to be a bond of union, and therefore childless marriages are more easily
dissolved; for children are a good possessed by both parents in common, and common
property holds people together.
The question what rules of conduct should govern the relations between husband and wife,
and generally between friend and friend, seems to be ultimately a question of justice.
There are different claims of justice between friends and strangers, between members of a
comradeship and schoolfellows.