||Manliness, courage, manly spirit
- Andreia, 'manly' spirit, is needed to counter faint-heartedness, laziness, and over-attachment to pleasure.
- It involves an attitude of 'taking the fight to the enemy', where the enemy is ones own foolishness, vice and ignorance.
- Misused it manifests itself as anger, aggression and military vain-glory.
- Properly used it involves self-directed, constructive anger.
- Andreia also manifests itself as a willingness for, even a love of, toil and effort.
- It is one of the
four cardinal virtues,
along with prudence (phronesis), temperance (sophrosyne), and justice (dikaiosyne).
- Aristotle noted that, as with other virtues, andreia is an optimal level (a "mean") between the extremes of too little courage (cowardliness) and too much courage (rashness).
The great demigod hero of Greek mythology, Hercules, symbolizes andreia. His famed labors can be interpreted allegorically to represent activities of this virtue on the path toward wisdom and salvation. For example, Hercules slaying the hydra, at an allegorical level, symbolizes the fierce combat needed to defeat ones ego.
Andreia has a social as well as a personal dimension:
"It is more in accord with nature to emulate the great Hercules and undergo the greatest toil and trouble for the sake of aiding or
saving the world, if possible, than to live in seclusion."
~ Cicero, De officiis, 3.5
Of all the classical virtues, in modern times it is, arguably, andreia in which people today are most lacking. Indeed, in our politically correct, nebbish world, it is scarcely even recognized as a virtue!