Sophrosyne was the goddess of moderation, self-control, temperance, restraint, and discretion. She was one of the good spirits who escaped Pandora's box when the woman first lifted the lid and fled back to Olympus, abandoning mankind. Her Roman equivalents were Continentia and Sobrietas. Sophrosyne was one of the cardinal virtues, consisting in a harmonious state of rational control of one's desires. In Aristotle the temperate person is one who can abstain or indulge appetites to the right degree without a severe effort of will; the person who needs the effort of will is not temperate, and needs to be content.
Plato’s Symposium is another perfect example of sophrosyne, as Socrates talks about moderation of one’s actions and the honor in doing so. Socrates also asserts that the highest purpose of love is to become a philosopher or, literally, a lover of wisdom. A lover of wisdom often accompanied better judgment and temperance for other’s ideas. Consequently, the symposium was a drinking party, but according to Aristophanes, “ we should, by all means, avoid hard drinking, for I was myself one of those who were yesterday drowned in drink” .
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