The present essay "The Origin of the Word Hubris" dwells on the ancient words origin. According to the text, the word "hubris" has been around since ancient Greece. With time its definition has been modernized somewhat but the core meaning is essentially the same. …
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Along with advancements in science, the Greeks made significant advances in philosophy. “Beginning with Hesiod, the Greeks stressed the virtue of sophrosyne (moderation, self-control) as the key to happiness and right living. Its opposite was Hubris, meaning pride, arrogance and unbridled ambition” (<http:history-world.org/greece%20genius.htm>).
Hubris encompassed many aspects of life in ancient Greece. It was not only a philosophical matter but also a legal and religious matter. Hubris was not only an act against humans but also an act against the gods, “Hubris against the gods is often attributed as a character flaw of the heroes in Greek tragedy, and the cause of the nemesis or destruction, which befalls these characters” (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris>). The
gods were free to punish that mortal who were guilty of committing hubris but were also free to commit hubris themselves because of the power they possessed over mortals. Athenian dramatists often wrote about this theme in their plays, “Herodotus attributed the Persian defeat by the Greeks to Xerxes overweening pride, for Zeus tolerates pride in none but himself" (<http:history-world.org/greece%20genius.htm>).
Ancient Greek writings such as The Odyssey also touch on the topic of hubris on a mortal to mortal level rather than an immortal to a mortal level. The most popular example is that of Penelope’s suitors who are made to pay for their crimes against the household of Odysseus from the hands of Odysseus himself rather than one of the gods. In this case, hubris was an act of violence but an act of arrogance. Penelope’s suitors believed that Odysseus would not be returning so they helped themselves to his property and wife. From a modern perspective, this act of hubris does not stem from excessive pride but from practicality. After all, Odysseus was gone for quite some time but according to Homer. this extended absence was not an excuse for arrogance.
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