John Casey

in Pagan Virtue

Published in print October 1991 | ISBN: 9780198240037
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680069 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks


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This chapter reveals courage as a necessary virtue, which is admired by everyone. It further elaborates the various definitions of courage, which runs from Homer to Aristotle, through Roman writers, through Aquinas, to Machiavelli and the theorists of Republican virtues of the Renaissance. They all describe courage as being preeminently a public virtue, the chief motives of which are patriotism and the love of honor. This chapter looks into the dominant theme of courage relating especially to a man's being as a political animal, which gives us at least some purchase on the idea that courage has a particular relation to death as courage was thought to be especially concerned with facing, and controlling, one's fear of death. The chapter claims that this account of courage does indeed contain unresolved contradictions.

Keywords: courage; Homer; Aristotle; Roman writers; Aquinas; Machiavelli; Renaissance theorists; death

Chapter.  22215 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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