Author Topic: the destiny of man is his own character/ A man's character is his fate (Heraclitus) -> ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων  (Read 8409 times)

achillesheal

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"The destiny of man is in his own soul" - Herodotus

I can't find this anywhere. I was wondering if anyone knows how it is written in Ancient Greek and the reference within the 'Histories'?

Any help is much appreciated.
« Last Edit: 14 Apr, 2008, 17:40:36 by billberg23 »


wings

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Hello, achillesheal.

Though I searched Herodotus' Histories, I found nothing.

Sometimes, quotations are attributed to a certain author but actually they do not belong to him.

I don't know if "billberg" is familiar with this specific phrase.
« Last Edit: 05 Mar, 2008, 22:37:57 by wings »

billberg23

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Sometimes, quotations are attributed to a certain author but actually they do not belong to him.
Absolutely right, "wings."  Here, obviously, someone, sometime, somewhere confused Herodotus with Heraclitus, who actually said, "The destiny of man is his own character": 

ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων

(fr. B 119 Diels)—which makes much better sense.  Once the misquotation/misattribution had been made, it spread throughout the Internet.  There's no way to retract it now, so another chip falls from the sum of human knowledge—thanks to the Information "Superhighway."
« Last Edit: 05 Mar, 2008, 23:26:24 by billberg23 »
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος


wings

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Thanks, Bill. It all makes sense now. :-)

achillesheal

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That helps a lot and makes more sense, much appreciated

Lyleus

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Hey guys,

Anyway I could have this transulated into Ancient Greek:

"A man's character is his fate."
« Last Edit: 05 Apr, 2008, 00:51:16 by wings »


Euterpe

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Re: A man's character is his fate
« Reply #6 on: 05 Apr, 2008, 00:38:38 »
This is a quote from Heraclitus, On the Universe, fragment 121 but I have not been able to find the original text in ancient Greek so far.

billberg23

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Re: A man's character is his fate
« Reply #7 on: 05 Apr, 2008, 00:40:18 »

roguecat87

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Interesting aphorism.

I have a question regarding this phrase. I did an Ancient Greek subject waaaaay back in first year and remember a lively discussion regarding Heraclitus and 'ethos anthropoi daimon'. I think I remember my tutor mentioning that this was an enigma, that is, there is no subject in the sentence and it can be read either as 'character for man is destiny' or 'destiny for man is character.' Is this correct? And is this enigmatic nature preserved when the phrase is rendered in Ancient Greek?

Many thanks!

Catherine

billberg23

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No enigma here, Catherine, as far as I can see.  Your fate (δαίμων) depends on the way you behave (ἦθος).  It's not correct, strictly speaking, to say that the sentence has no subject.  In a way (since both ἦθος and δαίμων can be seen as predicate nominatives), it has two subjects.  Your character is your fate, your fate is your character:  is there a difference?

Etymological note that may or may not provide illumination:
Ἦθος, commonly spelled ἔθος, originally meant "habit," "custom," perhaps even "habitation."
Δαίμων literally means "a god," usually a minor deity.  It is derived from a verb meaning "allot,", "apportion."
« Last Edit: 13 Apr, 2008, 18:04:59 by billberg23 »

roguecat87

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Thanks for that! Perhaps my tutor was having an off day, he normally sounded like he knew what he was talking about. :)

Lyleus

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Thanks so much :) Sorry for the late reply!