Virtue of the Week: Temperance

Hercules and TemperanceHercules and Temperance ( The story of Hercules at the crossroads)

For ancient Greek athletes the mythical example of self-control was the hero Hercules. The story of Hercules at the crossroads originates from the Greek story teller Prodikos of Keos (aprox 400. B.C.).

Hercules meets two women at a crossroads. These women are the personifications of Virtue (Arete) and Vice (Kakia..the goddess of evil). They both advise Hercules to follow the road they show him.

Virtue (Arete), points at a rocky and steep road. This isn’t a nice and easy road, it has on it many trials and tribulations. But at the end there will be a reward of fame and glory.

Vice (Kakia) points at a ‘better’, more attractive road, one which is much easier to travel…a road lined with temporary pleasures……the path of vice.

Hercules can take the easy passable road, that is flat and where he can have a lot of fun, right now. Or the difficult road, with the hope of a beautiful, but far away future. It is hard to choose.

When the women disappear Hercules chooses the hard path of temperance, discipline and self-control……the way Virtue (Arete) showed him.

Hercules struggles through his journey, but is rewarded with fame and glory.

Hercules remains the captain of his soul and a hero for all time.

Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know.Charles Kingsley

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