sophrosyne

Definitions

  • (noun): self control, temperance, soundness of mind

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Sophrosyne (Greek: σωφροσύνη) is an ancient Greek concept of an ideal of excellence of character and soundness of mind, which when combined in one well-balanced individual leads to other qualities, such as temperance, moderation, prudence, purity, and self-control. In other languages there is no equivalent word.
The word is found in the writings of Plato, and its meaning debated in his dialogue Charmides. Plato's high estimation of sophrosyne may have been influenced by Heraclitus's fragment 112, which states: \"Sophrosyne is the greatest virtue, and wisdom is speaking and acting the trust, paying heed to the nature of things.\" (σωφρονεῖν ἀρετὴ μεγίστη, καὶ σοφίη ἀληθέα λέγειν καὶ ποιεῖν κατὰ φύσιν ἐπαίοντας.)In Greek literature sophrosyne is considered an important quality, and is expressed in opposition to the concept of hubris. A noted example of this occurs in Homer's The Iliad. When Agamemnon decides to take the queen, Briseis, away from Achilles, it is seen as Agamemnon behaving with hubris and lacking sophrosyne. Sophrosyne is a theme in the play Hippolytus by Euripides, where sophrosyne is represented by the goddess Artemis and is personified by the character Hippolytus.An adjectival form is \"sophron\".

Example Sentences

  • A dialogue in which Socrates engages a handsome and popular boy in a conversation about the meaning of sophrosyne, a Greek word usually translated into English as "temperance", "self-control", or "restraint".

  • A dialogue in which Socrates engages a handsome and popular boy in a conversation about the meaning of sophrosyne, a Greek word usually translated into English as "temperance",

  • The ascetical message also resonated well with Hellenistic ideas about the "sober life" of the wise man or woman sophrosyne, and much of late first and second century Christian literature, such as the Didache, the Clementine Letters or the Shepherd of Hermas, began to stress the need for this wise lifestyle kind of sobriety as a fundamental character of general Christian discipleship.

  • Viewers rooted for the Virginia kid with shaggy brown hair and glasses, who fidgeted with his hands as he spelled such words as "oriflamme" and "sophrosyne."

  • Justice and self-control [sophrosyne], and virtue in general — these are all various Acts of Intelligence: they are consequently not primary genera; they are posterior to a genus, that is to say, they are species.

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