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Herodotus about eudaimon

A bit earlier than Socrates by a generation, we have the Father of History and famed traveller, Herodotus (484-425BC) who wrote about eudaimon. He tells us the story of Croesus, King of Lydia (c595-547BC) and his meeting with Solon (c640-561BC). 
Solon, the Athenian, was held to be one to the 7 wise men of Greece. After Solon established his system of Law in Ancient Athens, he went into voluntary exile, and in this time he visited Croesus. Croesus was reputed to have enormous riches. Indeed his gifts to the oracle at Delphi attest to this.
 
Croesus asked the Athenian, we have heard much about your wisdom and your wanderings, that you have gone all over the world. So now I desire to ask you who is the most fortunate man you have ever seen?
 
Croesus expected it to be himself: but Solon spoke of two others instead.
 
Firstly he spoke of Tellos who was a happy man. He led a virtuous life, with children who survived carry on his name, with enough wealth to pay his debts and to honour the gods, who died a glorious death defending his home city and who was honoured by his fellow citizens in death! 
 
When pressured by Croesus (ever hopeful) for a second example, he identified Kleobis and Biton (we still can see their statues today in our museum)
 
The two brothers had enough to live on and had great bodily strength. Both were prize-winning athletes. At the festival of Hera in Argos, their mother should have been taken to the sacred precinct by a team of oxen. 
But their oxen had not come back from the fields in time, so the two took the yoke on their own shoulders and with their mother riding on it travelled 45 miles until they arrived at the sacred precinct. 
 
When they had done this and their deed had been seen by the entire gathering, the Argive men stood around and congratulated them on their strength; the Argive women congratulated their mother for having such great sons!
She was overjoyed at the praise, so she stood before the image and prayed that the goddess might grant the best thing humanly possible for her boys. 
The youths then lay down in the sacred precinct and went to sleep, and they never woke up again; they thus remained in the same state that they were in on reaching their life’s pinnacle and fulfilment (whatever we may think of the deed). They were honoured after death with statues at Delphi.
 
So, Solon’s conclusion is that the very rich man is no more fortunate than the man who has only his basic daily needs met. 
The rich man is more capable of satisfying his appetites and can withstand a greater disaster that might happen to him. But the ordinary man is better off than him in other ways, if he is free from deformity and disease, does not experience pain, has fine children and is good looking. Solon cautions not to call a man fortunate before he dies. He is only fortunate if he passes through life with most of these attributes intact and, coming to the end of his life, is still leading his life much as he has always done.
 
(Something that even today we might aspire to achieve .. in any walk of life)

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