Importance Of Honor In Ancient Greek Culture

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In the Ancient Greek culture, honor was the most crucial virtue in their society. While honor might mean different things in different cultures; to the Ancient Greeks honor was an important part of their lives and culture. However, to the Ancient Greeks it was more than just honor that formed their identity. Arête as the Ancient Greeks called it consisted of honor, masculine virtue, physical strength, courage, success in battle and everlasting fame. Arête was the foundation of the family and the society, often dictating the actions of the people and consequently their fates and the fates of others. Arête was mostly associated with excellence which was as a result of bravery that brought effectiveness. This pursuit for excellence over the individual, family and community guided their every action and response.
The ideal of honor and pursuit for excellence can be seen in various works throughout Greek Literature. In several Greek pieces of literary work, the heroes aimed at having everlasting honor as it ensured continuity in the social memory of those they left behind long after their deaths. In the Iliad, Hector is preparing
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Consequently, Athens demanded the surrender of Melians since Athenians were more powerful than they were. The Melians resisted and opted to die fighting (Perry, Peden & Von Laue, pp.76). Their decision to challenge the Athenians while suicidal was an attempt to protect their honor. This was similar to Hector’s in that they were aware that the only outcome would be a loss since the Athenians were stronger than they were. In their response to the Athenians, they state that honor dictates that one was better off dying by fighting than submitting as the Athenians demanded. They would rather die fighting than live in the shame of submission. They commanded their fear and like Hector, went to war and died for their

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