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Headword: Ἔθος
Adler number: epsilon,328
Translated headword: custom, habituation
Vetting Status: high
Meaning a sign. Or an unwritten law, whereas a law [is] a written custom.[1]
Custom[2] is not a human discovery, but [sc. a natutal product] of life and of time. And whereas law is comparable to tyranny, for each thing is accomplished due to fear and to a command, custom is rather [accomplished] due to philanthropy than to kingship. For all people follow custom willingly and without necessity.[3] And law is full of such justice and philanthropy that even for unfortunate people it is more useful than what is generically convenient; for those suffering injustice it is stronger than their own strength; for parents it is more favorable than sons; for children [more favorable] than parents, for brothers [more favorable] than brothers. This is because many people, when suffering an injustice by the action of their friends, take refuge in law. And there are even more things [sc. to say] about law.
Greek Original:
Ἔθος: ἀντὶ τοῦ σημεῖον. ἢ νόμος ἄγραφος, νόμος δὲ ἔθος ἔγγραφον. ὅτι τὸ ἔθος οὐκ ἔστιν εὕρεμα ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλὰ βίου καὶ χρόνου. καὶ ὁ μὲν νόμος εἴκασται τυραννίδι: φόβῳ γὰρ ἕκαστα καὶ μετὰ προστάγματος διαπράττεται: τὸ δὲ ἔθος μᾶλλον τῇ φιλανθρωπίᾳ τῆς βασιλείας: βουλόμενοι γὰρ αὐτῷ πάντες δίχα ἀνάγκης ἕπονται. καὶ ὁ νόμος τοσαύτης δικαιοσύνης καὶ φιλανθρωπίας μεστός, ὥστε καὶ τοῖς ἀτυχοῦσι χρησιμώτερος καθέστηκε τῶν γένει προσηκόντων καὶ τοῖς ἀδικουμένοις ἰσχυρότερος τῆς αὐτῆς ἐκείνων ῥώμης καὶ πατράσιν υἱέων εὐνούστερος καὶ παισὶ γονέων καὶ ἀδελφοῖς ἀδελφῶν. πολλοὶ γὰρ ὑπὸ τῶν φίλων ἀδικούμενοι πρὸς τοῦτον καταφεύγουσι. καὶ ἄλλα πλείονά εἰσι περὶ νόμου.
Similarly in ps.-Zonaras.
[1] cf. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1368b7-9, distinguishing particular from common (or general) law -- the former being the written law according to which a city is ruled, the latter the unwritten law that appears to be recognized by all people.
[2] This supplementary material comes from two of the short Orations of Dio Chrysostom: 76 On Custom (as far as 'without necessity'), 75 On Law.
[3] cf. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1370a6-7: "for what is habitual becomes as if it were already natural; for habituation is something like nature".
Keywords: children; Christianity; daily life; definition; ethics; imagery; law; philosophy; politics; religion; rhetoric
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 8 December 2003@16:23:51.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 9 December 2003@03:26:35.
Marcelo Boeri (Added notes.) on 3 June 2004@00:05:42.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 16 November 2005@08:14:02.
David Whitehead (augmented note, inc source-identifications; more keywords; cosmetics) on 31 July 2012@04:46:18.
David Whitehead (another note; coding and other cosmetics) on 7 December 2015@06:36:47.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 25 November 2016@02:07:02.


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