TRAMES, 2003, 7(57/52), 2, 67–82


Aspects of ancient Greek moral vocabulary:

illiberality and servility

in moral philosophy and popular morality


Ivo Volt


University of Tartu


Abstract. This paper deals with some aspects of ancient Greek moral vocabulary, based on the texts of certain authors from the 5th and 4th century B.C. It describes and analyses the use of the term aneleutheros and its derivates in ancient Greek moral philosophy and popular morality. It is concluded that the concept of aneleutheria probably did not play a very significant role in popular morality, but was important for the philosophers, especially Plato. Major part of the philosophic approach to aneleutheria seems to treat it as a limited-range “cover” term that embraces many kinds of negative qualities and dispositions, although there are often allusions to its specific connections with money-matters. This specific use of the term can be most explicitly seen in Aristotle’s ethical works and in the Characters of Theophrastos.


Back to contents or to the first page.