Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Monday, January 17, 2005

Temperance (Sophrosyne) and the Canon of the Cardinal Virtues

"The history of temperance is the history of sophros-
yne ( σωφροσγνη). The cardinal virtue of moderation,
self-knowledge, and self-restraint—sophrosyne in
Greek—took the Latin name temperantia in Cicero's
rhetorical and philosophical works, which set the style
for later usage in the West. Sophrosyne derives from
the adjective sophron (saophron in Homer): “of sound
mind”—used at first to describe a person (either human
or divine) who behaves in a way consistent with his
nature or station (like Apollo in Iliad 21. 462-64, when
he refuses to fight with another god on behalf of
“wretched mortals”) or who shows good sense, as op-
posed to frivolity or even witlessness (Odyssey 23.
11-13, 30)."


Blogger DT Strain said...

Ah, so perhaps "good sense" or "sensible" would be less "wishy-washy" and more applicable a term than moderation or temperance.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I think so.

5:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home