Aug 30, 2022
arete in the ancient world. This concept encompasses the words in
English and underlying ideas of virtue and excellence. Depending on
the subject, if you are reading an English translation of an
Ancient Greek book, you will see this as either excellence or
He continues to lead seminars and do the podcast
at Online Great Books
, and is an
Exclusive Coach at Barbell Logic as well as the Director of
Aristotle & Arete: Virtue & Excellence
Excellence and virtue are divided concepts today, but in
Ancient Greece the both lived under the word or concept of
If you're reading Aristotle's Nichomachean
, you'll probably read the word virtue. If, however,
someone is describing a knife or piece of pottery, you'll see the
What this concept really means is a good example of something. An
excellent knife is one that serves its purpose well, so one that
can cut well. This means certain things will come with it - it will
be sharp and durable. It serves its end well.
some good quotes pertaining to excellence and happiness. "Virtue
then is a settled disposition of the mind as regards the choice of
actions and feelings, consisting essentially in the observance of
the mean relative to us, this being determined by principle, that
is, as the prudent man would determine it."
Another quote on excellence: "all excellence has a twofold effect
on the thing to which it belongs: it not only renders the thing
itself good, but it also causes it to perform its function
Lastly, his quote on happiness: ""happiness is a certain activity
of soul in conformity with perfect virtue."
Arete & the Ancient World
Karl stares stories and history from Ancient Greece to
illustrate what this meant to the Athenians, Spartans, Trojans, and
It was in part a reaction to the reality of man, that our lives our
fleeting, and we are like leaves in the wind.
What do you do when faced with your own immortality and apparent
smallness and weakness?
The Greeks pursued arete and glory. They did this in warfare and in
the Olympic games, in philosophy and rhetoric.
The excellence and virtue that individuals achieved contributed to
the greatness of some of these ancient cities. Sparta did not
defeat the Persians because of their love of freedom, but because
the Spartans pursue greatness in warfare.
If you're looking to pursue greatness in the gym or any other
pursuit, this is the talk for you.
GET STARTED with one-on-one online coaching FOR FREE!
Get your FIRST MONTH FREE on all strength and nutrition coaching
plans. No discount code needed and includes a 10-day, no
obligation trial. https://bit.ly/2MKeOoh
Connect with the hosts
Connect with the show