Greek words for love

Greek words for love

The Greek language distinguishes at least four different ways as to how the word love is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words when used outside of their respective contexts. Nonetheless, the senses in which these words were generally used are as follows:

  • [4]
  • Éros (ἔρως érōs) means "love, mostly of the sexual passion."[5] The Modern Greek word "erotas" means "intimate love." Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, "without physical attraction." In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal "Form" of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence.[6] Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros.
  • Philia (φιλία philía) means "affectionate regard, friendship," usually "between equals."[7] It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle.[8] In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
  • [9] It's the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring.[10] Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in "loving" the tyrant.

See also

References

  1. ^ ἀγάπη, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ ἔρως, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  6. ^
  7. ^ φιλία, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  8. ^
  9. ^ στοργή, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  10. ^

External links

  • English-to-Greek word search results for love, on Perseus
  • Greek phrases for love
  • The Ancient Greeks' 6 Words for Love
  • Definitions