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GLOSSARY OF VIRTUE

TERMS REGARDING VIRTUE, BOTH MODERN AND FROM ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION
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Adikía - (adicia; Gr. ἀδικία, ΑΔΙΚΙΑ. Noun.) an injustice. Cf. Ádikos.

Ádikos – (adicus; Gr. ἄδικος, ΑΔΙΚΟΣ. Adjective.) unjust. Cf. Adikía.

Ǽlæos (eleos; Gr. ἔλεος, ΕΛΕΟΣ. Noun.)  empathy, compassion. Compassion is the most important virtue because it is in harmony with the providence of Zefs (Ζεύς) himself, who has sent his son Diónysos (Διόνυσος) to free us from the sorrowful circle of births (κύκλος γενέσεως). This plan of Zefs directly results from his own empathy for creation. You cannot develop genuine compassion if you are unable to feel other sentient beings. It is impossible to feel others unless the false barricade of ego drops. As ego collapses the soul begins to feel others and naturally develops empathy. The ethical virtues are generated effortlessly from the empathetic soul.

Æpieikeia - (epikeia or epiceia; Gr. ἐπιείκεια, ΕΠΙΕΙΚΕΙΑ. Noun. Pronounced: eh-pee-EE-kee-ah) fairness, reasonableness. Æpieikeia is equity and is included in the discussion of Justice. Equity, in this case, is reason as applied to justice such that the strictness of law is weighed against circumstances. Ἀριστοτέλης in Ηθικών Νικομαχείων 1137a32 speaks of equity overriding the letter of the law when justice demands it.

Æpistími - (episteme; Gr. ἐπιστήμη, ΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΗ. Noun.)  scientific knowledge, one of five intellectual virtues required to make choices. See Intellectual Virtues, The Five.

Ǽrgon - (ergon; Gr. ἔργον, ΕΡΓΟΝ. Noun.)  functionwork. Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης) argues that the ǽrgon, the function or work, which most exemplifies the human animal is reason. This ǽrgon, if used properly and developed, enables us to be fully human, to live appropriately as a human being; to do so is to develop the virtue or excellence of rationality, which is inherent in our nature.

Ainarǽtis (aenaretes; Gr. αἰναρέτης, ΑΙΝΑΡΕΤΗΣ. Noun. Etym. αἰνὸς “terrible” + ἀρετή) great bravery.

Alitrós - (alitrus; Gr. ἀλιτρός, ΑΛΙΤΡΟΣ. Adjective.) wicked, vicious.

Andreia - (Gr. ἀνδρεία, ΑΝΔΡΕΙΑ. Noun.) manliness, courage, one of the Four Boniform (Cardinal) Virtues. Cf. Thrásos.

Antipæponthós - (antipeponthus; Gr. ἀντιπεπονθός, ΑΝΤΙΠΕΠΟΝΘΟΣ. Participle.) reciprocity in a legal sense and is a subject of justice, as discussed in  Ἀριστοτέλης Ηθικών Νικομαχείων 5.5 1132b22.

Apátheia - (Gr. ἀπάθεια, ΑΠΑΘΕΙΑ. Noun. Etym. α "not" + πάθος "passion.") apathy, freedom from emotion and the passionsApátheia was regarded by the Stoics as a virtue. Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης) does not talk of apátheia in respect to virtue because he accepts the passions as essential to the human experience, seeing the ideal as a mean between extremes of passion.

Arætí - (arete; Gr. ἀρετή, ΑΡΕΤΗ. Noun.) virtue, excellence esp. ethical virtue, sometimes bravery.

Arætiphóros - (aretephorus; Gr. ἀρετηφόρος, ΑΡΕΤΗΦΟΡΟΣ. Adjective.) virtuous.

Arætóömai - (aretoömae; Gr. ἀρετόομαι, ΑΡΕΤΟΟΜΑΙ. Verb.) to progress, to grow in virtue.

Aretaic ethics = Virtue Ethics (Etym. ἀρετή "goodness, excellence") Aretaic ethics is the philosophical view which contends that virtuous behavior flows naturally from a person of strong character, and thus attempts to develop means in which to help individuals develop an excellent character. The roots of aretaic ethics lie in ancient Greek philosophy, in particular, from the teachings of Sohkrátis (Σωκράτης), Plátohn (Πλάτων), and Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης).

Arete - See Arætí.

Aretephorus - See Arætiphóros.

Aretoömai - See Arætóömai.

Aristeia - (Gr. ἀριστεία, ΑΡΙΣΤΕΙΑ. Noun.) excellence, synonym for arætí or virtue. Cf. Arætí.

Athiná – (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ, ΑΘΗΝΑ) Athiná is dǽspina, the queen who is Virtue itself. Orphic frag. 175: Ἀρετῆς τ' ὄνομ' ἐσθλὸν κλήιζεται “She (ed. Athiná) is celebrated by the good name of Virtue.” (trans. by the author)

Casuistry - (Etym. casus [Latin] "case.") Casuistry is a term that is used in more than one way. Often it is a derogatory term which refers to a type of sophistry or other types of unsound reasoning, but as regards to ethics, the word has a more neutral meaning. In this regard, casuistry examines morality not so much from theory, but from actual instances or cases (hence its etymology). Casuistry tries to determine the particulars of a situation in order to ascertain the morality of a case in question. 

Categorical Imperative - The categorical imperative is terminology associated with the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), which contends that virtuous activity is determined by universals in which one must choose behavior according to a rational obligation based on human necessity. It is referred to as an "imperative" because it is an end in itself and does not aim to attain some other or hypothetical end, for, in this view, subjective considerations in choosing actions are regarded as unreliable, being ulterior or secondary experiences. The result of this thinking is an emphasis on pursuing moral action based on reason, rather than subjective experience, and this provides an imperative to do one's duty for its own sake, in contrast, for instance, to consequentialism, which determines action by consideration of ends or results. The categorical imperative contends that moral action should be followed for its own sake, for it has inherent value beyond its result, that the consequences of action do not make the action moral, but an action is either moral or immoral of its own nature. To give an absurd example, if someone intends to kill someone, but accidentally kills a serial murderer, while the result of his action may have a benefit, he himself is not performing a virtuous action; similarly, if an individual is called to jury-duty but somehow the wrong person is convicted, if he performed his duty to the best of his ability, he has acted virtuously, regardless of a bad outcome. Cf. Deontological ethics.

Chrestoëtheia - See Khristöítheia.

Chrestotes - See Khristótis.

Compassion – empathy. See Ǽlæos.

Consequentialism - Consequentialism is the branch of normative ethics which holds the view that morality is best judged by the consequences of action. In philosophy, there are various manifestations of consequentialism, probably the most familiar being utilitarianism. Cf. Utilitarianism.

Courage - See Andreia and Thrásos.

Dǽspina - (Despoina; Gr. Δέσποινα, ΔΕΣΠΟΙΝΑ. Noun.) literally mistress or queen. Virtue is personified with the name Dǽspina.

Deontological ethics - (Etym. δέον "that which is just.") Deontological ethics judges the morality of action as measured against a set of rules and it is connected with duty and one's obligations. Cf. Categorical Imperative.

Dikaiosýni - (dicaeosyne; Gr. δικαιοσύνη, ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ. Noun. Also δίκη “justice.”) righteousness, justice. Dikaiosýni is one of the Four Boniform (Cardinal) Virtues. Plátohn (Πλάτων), in Politeia (The Republic; Gr. Πολιτεία), compares the justice of the individual to the justice of the pólis (city-state; Gr. πόλις). He describes a pólis divided into three parts, the productive populace, the guardians, and the ruler. When all three do their proper job, the pólis is in harmony and in a state of justice. Likewise, in the individual, when the three parts of the soul, the appetite, the spirit, and the mind, have the accompanying virtues of temperance, courage, and wisdom, the same virtues required for the three parts of the pólis, then the soul is in harmony and is just. This view of justice being one of several presented in the dialogue.

Eleos - See Ǽlæos.

Epieikeia - See Æpieikeia.

Epikeia - See Æpieikeia.

Episteme - See Æpistími.

Equity - See Æpieikeia.

Ergon - See Ǽrgon.

Eudaimonia - See Evdaimonía.

Evdaimonía - (eudaimonia; Gr. εὐδαιμονία, ΕΥΔΑΙΜΟΝΙΑ. Noun. Etym. εὖ "kindly" + δαίμων "spirit" or "divinity.") happinessflourishing. Evdaimonía is included in a discussion of virtue because many philosophers contend that true happiness cannot be acquired without virtue. If the teleology of the acquisition of virtue is evdaimonía, and if the acquisition of virtue is what is most desired for us by the Gods, then it follows that the Blessed Gods desire our lives to flourish and for us to be happy.

Friendship – See Philótis.

Intellectual Virtues, The Five - According to Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης), there are three aspects of the soul which determine action: sensation, intellect, and desire. Sensation is based on mere reaction to stimuli, and, hence, does not originate action, according to this philosopher. Therefore, to make choices depends on intellect and desire. To achieve a virtuous result requires inclination of the mind as regards to choice, choice being deliberate desire (ὄρεξις), and that choice (προαίρεσις) must be based on knowledge, action which requires reason. Here we are speaking of the achievement of truth in regard to our action, this being a practical application of the intellect. Aristotǽlis proposes [Ηθικών Νικομαχείων VI.3-7] that there are five intellectual virtues which determine this process. (See also the individual entries for each virtue):

 

1. Æpistími - (episteme; Gr. ἐπιστήμη) scientific knowledge, acquaintance.

2. Tǽkhni - (techne; Gr. τέχνη) applied knowledge, method, craft.

3. Phrónisis - (phronesis; Gr. φρόνησις) practical wisdom, prudence.

4. Nous - (Gr. νοῦς) mind in the sense of reason, intellect.

5. Sophía (Gr. σοφία) speculative or higher wisdom.

Jurisprudence - (Etym. Latin juris "body of law" + prudentia "knowledge" or "sagacity.") Jurisprudence is the theory or philosophy of law and is a concern of Dikaiosýni, Justice.

Justice - See Dikaiosýni.

Khristöítheia - (chrestoëtheia; Gr. χρηστοήθεια, ΧΡΗΣΤΟΗΘΕΙΑ. Noun.) goodness of heart.

Khristótis - (chrestotes; Gr. χρηστότης, ΧΡΗΣΤΟΤΗΣ. Noun.) good character.

Mægalopsykhía - (megalopsychia; Gr. μεγαλοψυχία, ΜΕΓΑΛΟΨΥΧΙΑ. Noun.) magnanimity. Mægalopsykhía is one of the virtues. It is often translated by the word pride, but certainly not in the sense of a vice. Its correct definition is contained in the etymology of the word: μεγαλο "great" + ψυχία "soulness." Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης) defines mægalopsykhía as a mid-point between vanity and timidity, so the pride which comes with this virtue is based on an honest assessment of one's merits. Mægalopsykhía is magnanimity and has an aristocratic sense in that he who possesses it also possesses a wealth of virtue and the material means to be generous within the boundary of proper moderation.

Mǽson, to - See Mæsótis.

Mæsótis - (mesotes; Gr. μεσότης, ΜΕΣΟΤΗΣ. Noun. Also τό μέσον.) the meanthe middle point. Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης) defines virtue as a mean, the mæsótis, between two opposites. It could be said that the mæsótis is expressed in the famous Delphic maxim, μηδὲν ἄγαν, "nothing to excess."

Mean, The – See Mæsótis.

Meson, to - See Mæsótis.

Mesotes - See Mæsótis.

Natural Law - Natural law is the philosophical position that there are rights and values which are inherent in the Kózmos (Κόσμος), that they can be discerned by reason, that these rights and values are not artificial constructions, and that they supersede human laws. Natural law should not be confused with The Natural Laws, the fundamental laws which govern the universe, although there is a connection between them.

Normative Ethics - Normative ethics is the philosophical study of virtuous or ethical action, how, from a moral perspective, one should proceed when confronted with the situations one encounters in life. There are various approaches which have developed which address ethical action: Aretaic or Virtue Ethics (moral character), Consequentialism (teleology), Deontology (duty), and various others, each of these categories also having variants.

Nous - (Gr. νοῦς, ΝΟΥΣ. Noun.) Nous is mindintuition, an intelligence which enables us to examine our experience, draw conclusions, and make successful decisions concerning our action. Nous is, according to Aristotǽlis, one of five intellectual virtues required in order to make good choices. See Intellectual Virtues, The Four.

Óræxis - (orexis; Gr. ὄρεξις, ΟΡΕΞΙΣ. Noun.) desire. Aristotǽlis (Περὶ Ψυχῆς [De Anima] 431-433) portrays óræxis as a function of the soul, the capacity to pursue an object of desire; it is that which pushes the soul into motion. He discerns three forms of óræxis: passion (θυμός), intention or wishing (βούλησις), and yearning (ἐπιθυμία).

Osía (Gr. Ὁσία, ΟΣΙΑ. Noun. Fem. of ὅσιος.) divine law, natural law

Osiótis - (Gr. ὁσιότης, ΟΣΙΟΤΗΣ) pietyreverence to the Gods, deference to divine law, listed as a fifth boniform (i.e. cardinal) virtue in Πλάτων Πρωταγόρας 330b.

Páthos - (Gr. πάθος, ΠΑΘΟΣ. Noun. Plural is πάθη.) passionPassion is regarded as a passive state; in other words, passion is something which comes upon you, independent of your will.

Philótis - (philotes; Gr. φιλότης, ΦΙΛΟΤΗΣ. Noun.) friendship. Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης), in Ηθικών Νικομαχείων Book 8, discusses friendship in great detail. He identifies three types: 1. friendship based on utility, 2.friendship based on mutual pleasure, and 3. perfect friendship, the highest form and a great virtue, being a partnership between two people which fosters the highest character development.

Phronesis - See Phrónisis.

Phrónisis - (Phronesis; Gr. φρόνησις, ΦΡΟΝΗΣΙΣ. Noun.) One of the Four Boniform (Cardinal) Virtues is Wisdom, consisting of two parts: phrónisis, practical wisdom, and sophía (σοφία), elevated wisdom. Phrónisis is often translated with the word prudencea practical wisdom which enables us to order our lives in an excellent way. Phrónisis, according to Aristotǽlis, is one of five intellectual virtues required in order to make good choices. See also Virtues, The Four Boniform and Intellectual Virtues, The Five.


Proairæsis - (proaeresis or prohaeresis; Gr. προαίρεσις, ΠΡΟΑΙΡΕΣΙΣ. Noun.) conscious choice, the volition of choice, deliberative desire (ὄρεξις). Proairæsis is a term, in the field of ethics, which indicates deliberate choice which, in certain circumstances, determines whether an action (πρᾶξις) is moral or immoral (or neutral). Proairæsis is the result of deliberation (βούλευσις). In the Stoicism of Æpíktitos (Ἐπίκτητος), proairæsis is the result of a deliberation between what is perceived to be within one's power to change or effect, and that which is not in one's power to change or effect, and assenting only to the former by which only can one make a free choice.

Reciprocity - See Antipæponthós, to.

Sohphrosýni - (Sophrosyne; Gr. σωφροσύνη, ΣΩΦΡΟΣΥΝΗ. Noun.) generally, common sense, but often: moderation, self-discipline, or temperance based upon thorough self-examination. Sohphrosýni is one of the Four Boniform (Cardinal) Virtues of classical antiquity. The word and its meanings are discussed in Kharmídis (Χαρμίδης), a dialogue of Plátohn (Πλάτων), but in the text, Sohkrátis (Σωκράτης) rejects four definitions: quietness, humility, doing one's own business, and knowing one's self. Although there is no final resolution to the dialogue, it seems that each of these proposed definitions has some application to the topic, in particular the final one. Aristotǽlis describes sohphrosýni as a virtue concerned with one's relationship to pleasure, particularly in regard to the sense of touch; sohphrosýni is the mean between licentiousness and insensitivity.

Sophía - (Gr. Σοφία, ΣΟΦΙΑ. Noun.) One of the Four Boniform (Cardinal) Virtues is called Wisdom; it consists of two parts: phrónisis, practical wisdom or prudence, and sophía, elevated wisdom. Sophía or theory, according to Aristotǽlis, is the most noble wisdom which gives us the ability to integrate all of our knowledge and to gain insight into the deepest truth. Sophía is one of five intellectual virtues which enable us to make good choices. See Intellectual Virtues, The Five.

Sophrosyne - See Sohphrosýni.

Tǽkhni - (techne; Gr. τέχνη, ΤΕΧΝΙ. Noun.) artapplied knowledge, the creative abilityTǽkhni, according to Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης), is one of five intellectual virtues required to make good choices. See Intellectual Virtues, The Five.

Tǽlos - (telos; Gr. τέλος, ΤΕΛΟΣ. Noun.) the end or purpose of actionconsummation, or final causeTǽlos is the etymological root of teleology, the understanding of things by means of their ultimate function or goal. Aristotǽlis (Ἀριστοτέλης) argues that the ultimate tǽlos for human beings is evdaimonía, true happiness, and that true happiness can only be obtained by living a virtuous life.

Techne - See Tǽkhni.

Telos - See Tǽlos.

Temperance - See Sohphrosýni.

Thrásos (Gr. θράσος, ΘΡΑΣΟΣ. Noun.) manliness or courageThrásos or Courage is one of the Four Boniform (Cardinal) Virtues of classical antiquity. This word is used interchangeably (as regards the Four Boniform Virtues) with ἀνδρεία. See Andreia.

Utilitarianism - Utilitarian ethics judges virtue from the perspective of utility; how does the action in question affect a result in regard to the well-being, happiness, and usefulness of sentient beings or nature as a whole. Utilitarianism attempts to seek the greatest good for the greatest number of people. These ideas were developed by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), who identified driving factors in utility as pleasure and pain. Bentham's ideas were later expanded by another English philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism.

Virtue Ethics - See Aretaic ethics.

Virtues, The Four Boniform = The Four Cardinal Virtues (Etym. boniform "of the form of the good."). The Four Boniform Virtues are Courage (Ἀνδρεία), Temperance (Σωφροσύνη), Justice (Δικαιοσύνη), and Wisdom (Σοφία and Φρόνησις)

Virtues, The Four Cardinal - See Virtues, The Four Boniform.

Wisdom - See Phrónisis and Sophía.

Zetaretesiades - See Zitarætisiádis.

Zitarætisiádis - (zetaretesiades; Gr. ζηταρετησιάδης, ΖΗΤΑΡΕΤΗΣΙΑΔΗΣ. Noun.) one who tries to achieve virtue.




The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς). 



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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