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Ethics And Politics: The Common And The Arcane

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Chapter Summary

This chapter takes a look at the four ethical themes most associated with Hesiod in antiquity: 1) demonology, concerned with the care for one's soul and its fate in the afterlife; 2) justice in the polis, on the individual's responsibility for the well-being of the city as a whole; 3) human interaction, on the value of reciprocity; and 4) moderation and simplicity, dealing with the dangers of greed and the benefits of a simple life. Central to all four is the concept of balance or proportionate compensation: keep your soul clean, and become a good spirit; act justly, and live in a flourishing polis; give, and get something in return; overstretch, and punishment will follow.

Keywords: demon; Hesiod; human interaction; justice in the polis; moderation



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