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The meaning of Arete


Yvonne writes: 

What does arete mean in greek?

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Hi Yvonne, arete (ΑΡΕΤΗ) means virtue. The meaning of virtue varies from author to author, but in general it is not a kind of discipline, but reflects qualities that belong to God, the divine life, which becomes itself a gift to men

- I was told it (arete) means excellence. Is that true?

No, this isn't true. Read e.g. Plato's Phaedo (93e) where Socrates says that arete is armonia (harmony), the fitness of things and measure. Arete is the opposite of kakia (evil). In Cratylus, where Plato plays with etymologies, explains arete as coming from aei reein (continuously flowing), meaning that the good soul is free and unimpeded always. Arete is almost a synonym of wisdom and freedom: "knowledge of God is true wisdom (sophia) and virtue (arete)" (Theaetetus).Add a note!


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Plato: the meaning of Paideia

The Greek Word - Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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