Question 4 Talking Points

4.) Explain the importance of practicing moderation in leadership in terms of sophrosune (emotional restraint from fear, pity, love, lust, etc.) and enkrateia (physical restraint from food, drink, sleep, extreme temperatures, etc.) Provide examples from the texts.

Importance of sophrosune and enkrateia:

  • ·         Notion of purifying the soul and spirit of excess
  • ·         Display strength/superiority by avoiding indulgence and restraining “human” urges
  • ·         Condition and prepare the body and mind for hardships (which are likely to come of war and troubled times)
  • ·         In the case of enkrateia (emotional moderation), prevent emotional transparency as a means to maintain superior image.

The “appetitive” part of the soul:

  • ·         Plato identifies emotional and physical impulses as products of one of three parts of the soul: appetitive side
  • ·         In Plato’s kallipolis, the drones (less powerful/smart) represent the appetitive nature, whereas the rulers and guardians represent rational and passionate. Together all three join to create justice.

Sophrosune: self-restraint (in regards to checking emotional impulse: fear, pity, love, lust, anger, etc.)

  • ·         Cyrus had the opportunity to court Panthea, wife of Abradatas, but chose not to because he wanted to respect her wishes and the wishes of her husband, and did not desire to be distracted by love or lust. 
  • ·         Cyrus explains to a youth (who later falls in love with Panthea) that falling in love is not voluntary. That one should not put oneself in a situation where love or lust could take control of the one’s common sense and self-control.
  • ·         Historical belief that “power is a zero-sum game”-if a woman has sway over a man, he must be losing power
  • ·         Caesar appears to have used many of his affairs and all marriages as a means of political gain, rather than solely for emotional or physical pleasure.
    • o    Caesar divorced Pompeia because she was not above suspicion; his emotional attachment to her was not more important than his role as a leader.
    • o    Caesar was willing to leave wife Calpurnia for Pompey’s daughter in order to preserve his friendship with powerful Pompey. 

Enkrateia: self-mastery (in regards to physical restraint: eating, drinking, exercising, sex, sleeping, etc.)

  • ·         Cyrus and his troops never finished food on hunts in case they needed it later
  • ·         Cyrus talks to Astyages (his grandfather) about eating sauces with many different types of meat. Deems it cumbersome and needless.
  • ·         Caesar was an adulterer, indulged is love (or lust at very least) and probably a lot of sex.
    • o    Did this make him weaker? Did this put him at risk of pthonos, or anger amongst his peers?  Or, on the contrary, improve his political gains, as was the case with Cleopatra VII, whom he conquered then turned Queen and Roman allie, and even Servilia, who was on the “other side” of the civil war but had strong emotional ties with Caesar nonetheless.
    • o     “It was in fact customary in antiquity for tyrants to attract allegations of rape and seduction. “(Caesar’s) affairs were always with capable women who knew what they were about” (Tatum 120).
  • ·         Alexander was a heavy drinker, according to Plutarch, and had a hot, fiery temperament.
  • ·         Alexander did not want to indulge in excess luxuries and inactivity if he inherited his father’s kingdom. He preferred to “exercise his courage” (in war and in troubles).



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