In Ancient Greece, arete meant excellence of any kind.
In other words, arete meant that there was a lot of good.
The term came from the name of an Ancient Greek goddess.
In Ancient Greece, the word arete could be applied to anything, whether it was a house, animal, or a person.
When the word arete refers to a person, it means that the person is living to his or her full potential or can be the best person he or she can be.
Because the word arete could be used to describe the good of so many things, people and animals, many Ancient Greeks believed different things about the word arete.
For example, if a wife was arete, it meant she is the best wife she can be.
Some Ancient Greeks would see a warrior as arete when he was being the best fighter he could be.
But some Ancient Greeks did not believe a warrior could be arete.
The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato was the first people to give meaning to the word arete.
From this time, the word grew into other meanings.
By the 5th Century B.C., the word was used to describe the goodness of people in Ancient Greece.
Plato also used to the arete when talking about Ancient Greek men in athletics or sports.
Plato believed that a person can only become good or arete when their mind, body, and soul were good.
He believed that in order to get this, the person had to exercise. Exercise has a lot to do with sports and athletics.
Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle used the word arete when talking about boys and education.
Aristotle said that when a boy was getting the best and most useful education he could be, the education was arete.
Another Ancient Greek philosopher, Homer, used the word arete in his writing when he was talking about heroes.
In Homers writing, heroes were very good and had a lot of strength and courage, these characteristics would make the hero arete.
Arete had a big spot in Paideia. In Ancient Greece, paideia was the education of boys who were training to become men.
The boys had to go through a lot of education before they were considered men.
They had to go through physical and mental education.
Ancient Greeks wanted this education to be the best because they wanted the boys to grow up to be the best men they could be.
Facts about arete:
- At first, Arete was an Ancient Greek goddess and was Queen of Scheria, where she ruled with her husband, Alcinous, King of the Phaeacians.
- Our word aristocracy is related to the word arete.
- When an Ancient Greek said a person was arete, he or she meant that the person had a lot of good and quiet manners.
- If something was bad, like in Ancient Greek mythology, the character Madea’s practices witchcraft, this would not be arete. Arete has to be good, it cannot be bad.
- Homer also used the word arete when writing about warriors. In Homer’s book, the Illiad, he talks about warriors who are very good which makes these warriors arete.
- Arete can also mean virtue which means having high moral standards.
- In Ancient Greece, arete could also mean honor. Ancient Greeks did not receive honor unless they were very good at something or very good people.
- In Ancient Greece, the word arete could even be used when talking about an apple. If an apple seed grew into a good apple, Greeks would say the apple was arete
Questions and Answers:
1.) Where did the word arete originally come from?
a.) It was always around
b.) It was the name of a queen from Ancient Greece
c.) It did not come from anywhere
2.) What does the term arete mean?
a.) do something bad
b.) excellence of any king
c.) follow through on something
3.) In Ancient Greece, the education of boys becoming men is called what?
4.) Which Ancient Greek philosopher used arete when talking about athletics?