Test 1 Essay Question 1

What are the advantages and disadvantages of possessing philotimia in leadership? Give examples from the readings. 

Philotimia:Love of being honored

Honor (Merriam Webster Dictionary): honesty, fairness or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions; good public esteem

Noble Ways of Displaying Honor:

  • Sacrificing assets: life, money, time in order to benefit community
  • Just, moderate, courageous and wise in making decisions on behalf of others (in connection with Plato’s theories of a good philosopher (king). (p. 177 line 504)


1. Leader receives gratitude from community

  • Community loves, respects and trusts leader
  • Community gives “credit” to leader should any misfortune befall her/him
    • Cyrus sends Hystaspas out to collect money from citizens to prove to Croeseus that Cyrus is giving away many gifts with the knowledge that he is benefitting the community and will receive more assets back for his deeds if needed) (pgs. 243-244 lines 15-24)

3. Leader receives money and gifts from public

  • Cyrus receives money from Indian King (p. 185 line 1)
  • Cyrus receives land, fortress, food, goods and daughter for marriage from Gobryas in return for Cyrus avenging the death of Gobryas’ son (p. 147 lines5-7)

2. Community receives money and gifts from leader

  • Leader uses money wisely (“put to good use”) on behalf of community
    • Cyrus dividing and distributing money up amongst army and remaining citizens
    • Cyrus gives Astayages’ Median robe to friends in Media (p. 41 line 26)
    • Cyrus gives higher wages, land and women to Egyptians after defeating them (p. 210 line 43)
    • Leader is moderate and wise in spending
      • Plato’s “philosopher king”: not a “money lover”. (p. 159 line e)
      • Cyrus making sure that Cyaxares could afford to further fund endeavors (pg. 80 line 11)
      •  Cyrus divides land amongst Armenians and Chaldaeans so that each receives equal benefit (pgs. 97-98 lines 18-23)

3. Achieve success on behalf of community and self

  • Improve lives of citizens and self
    • Cyrus speaks to Astyages on behalf of Medan friends so that they can hunt animals in the wild (p. 37 lines 11-13)
    • Take risks in order to protect community
      • Abradatas volunteered to charge first against Egyptian’s phalanx (p. 198 line 35)
      • Plato cites courage as important to philosopher king (not afraid of death, cowardly to be afraid of death (p. 160 line b)
      • Improve reputation of community and self


1. Leader might take risks that endanger the good of the community (ex: take on dangerous battles)

  • Cyrus calling to end war with winter approaching (in order to avoid endangering community). Got soldiers consent to press on. (p. 179-180 lines 13-20)
  •  Cyaxares afraid Cyrus was “pressing his luck” in continuing battle after first defeat. Soldiers wanted to continue on so Cyrus did. (pgs. 115-116 lines 15-22 & pgs. 118-119 lines 9-13)

2. Leader may feel compelled to tell falsehoods in order to receive honor

  • Plato mentions Sophists and false philosophers who only follow the majority opinion in order to receive honor from community, even at expense of standing for what is genuinely “good” for the community (p. 167 passage 494 lines a-e)

3. Leader may use money poorly at expense of community

  • Plato mentions that many Sophists and false philosophers are coaxed into helping family and fellow citizens only so that these people can reap benefits of his future power (p. 168 line c)

4. “Honor for the sake of honor” using money or power, with no concern for true benefit of community

  • Plato cites many false philosophers who are brimming with pride because of status and acceptance of community but truly have no idea how to rule for the good of the community (p. 168 line d)

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