The Meaning of The Second of the Three Virtue Adverbs In PD5 - "Honorably?"

  • In the Skype discussion of this date, Elli pointed out problems with the translations which render the second of the three terms (prudently, honorably, and Justly) as "honorably" or "honestly."

    Elli believes that the better translation is something that conveys a sense of "esthetics" such as "beautifully" and that in no way does this doctrine mean that the virtue being described is what we in English would consider to be "honesty."

    I am setting up this thread as a placeholder so we will remember to come back and extend this discussion in greater detail.

    The translations we see include:

    Cyril Bailey (Epicurus The Extant Remains)
    Ingwood/Gerson (The Epicurus Reader)
    Strodach (The Philosophy of Epicurus)
    Epicurus Wiki
    Peter St Andre
  • Peter St Andre's note on his translation seems to follow Elli's thinking. I find the implication appealing but must rely on the wisdom of others in translation issues. In that regard, many thanks to Elli, Joshua and others who contribute to refining our understanding of the texts!

  • As always, I am happy to defer to Elli in all things Greek ;)

    A word for καλῶς that I see elsewhere is "commendably". It gets me close to what I'm looking for here; a word that straddles the meaning of the two words in the dominant translations. "Commendable" suggests something at once honorable and wholesomely beautiful.


    This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/ Unto our gentle senses.


    And it wasn't until Cassius posted the side by side translations that another problem occured to me; I remembered that in "quote images" across the internet of this passage, it is translated simply as "wisely and well and justly". Of course the translator is never cited, so I don't know which version it is. "Living well" does seem to carry aesthetic undertones. (<example)

  • That Greek word "kalos" was also used by POLYSTRATUS in his "Irrational Contempt" when he argued for a moral realism.

    He there treated this word (translated as noble) as he opposite of he word translated as "vile", and said these two are relational properties of nature, where he applied terms used in our physics for the ethics.

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “The Meaning of The Second of the Three Terms - "Honorably"??” to “The Meaning of The Second of the Three Virtue Adverbs In PD5 - "Honorably?"”.
  • On the difficulty of finding a suitable single word English translation of kalos καλός, I offer the following:


    For a better understanding of what κάλος means, see

    Woodhouse, S. C. (1910) English–Greek Dictionary: A Vocabulary of the Attic Language‎[1], London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited.

    Synonyms for kalos include:

    admirable idem, page 12.

    artistic idem, page 42.

    auspicious idem, page 53.

    beautiful idem, page 68.

    buxom idem, page 107.

    capital idem, page 111.

    comely idem, page 145.

    creditable idem, page 183.

    elegant idem, page 265.

    estimable idem, page 283.

    excellent idem, page 288.

    exquisite idem, page 296.

    fair idem, page 302.

    favourable idem, page 311.

    fine idem, page 321.

    fortunate idem, page 340.

    good idem, page 366.

    goodly idem, page 367.

    handsome idem, page 383.

    happy idem, page 384.

    high-principled idem, page 400.

    honourable idem, page 405.

    hopeful idem, page 405.

    lovely idem, page 502.

    lucky idem, page 504.

    noble idem, page 559.

    ornamental idem, page 580.

    picturesque idem, page 611.

    plausible idem, page 618.

    pomantic idem, page 625.

    principled idem, page 641.

    promising idem, page 653.

    propitious idem, page 653.

    reputable idem, page 699.

    righteous idem, page 715.

    skilful idem, page 780.

    specious idem, page 799.

    spruce idem, page 806.

    virtuous idem, page 954.

    well-favoured idem, page 974.

    PS: Just FYI - kalōs καλώς is the adverb ( and kalos καλός is the adjective.

  • Thank you, Don! Your voice was sorely missed in some of these older threads on translation. My study of Ancient Greek is haphazard at the very best of times.

    That's quite a breadth of possibilities.