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‘The Virtues of A Warrior’
Arete by Stephen G. Miller
© 2015 James LaFond
Greek Sports from Ancient Sources
1991, University of California Press, 227 pages
Miller’s introduction to the difficult to define term for manly excellence, arête, which was held as the behavioral standard through much of antiquity, purposely falls short of a definition. Indeed, defining this term along the postmodern lines of discussion that dominate our own day must be, by definition, impractical as a goal.
Rather the author goes on to translate, annotate and index 191 ancient passages, from epigrams to letters, and invites the reader to arrive at a definition for manliness in a an intellectually advanced and materially abundant world in which material wealth yet remained a distant second in the measure of a man.
Miller’s translations are excellent, and I am particularly indebted to him for translating a series of letters concerning the management of a young athlete, who I hope to write a novel about.
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