On Courage. The Sense Of θυμός

  • Tiziana Migliore University of Roma Tor Vergata
Keywords: Thymós, Courage, Philosophy, Medicine, Literature, Semiotics, Tattoos

Abstract

This study provides an integrated analysis of ϑυμός (thymós). A psychosomatic concept, found in Greek epics and medicine, θυμός designates courage as a “vital force around the chest”. Later, its meaning has been specified in two fields: 1) ϑυμός, thymós (philosophy), the irascible soul (ϑυμοειδές, thymoeides), parallel to the concupiscible soul and opposite to the rational one, according to Plato’s tripartition; 2) ϑύμος, thymus (anatomy), a cardiac gland of the vascular system. Today, the idea that θυμός, courage, and ϑύμος, cardiac gland, could have a common semantic root – θύειν (thyein) “to sacrifice by blowing and burning” – seems almost impossible. Our aim is to reconstitute the concept of ϑυμός, demonstrating how it has been reduced to a polarisation rational/irrational, and marginalised. We will examine the notion of ϑυμός in Greek tradition and describe one of its widespread manifestations, tattooing, both as a painful solicitation of interiority and for how the tattooed pictures reflect the personality of their wearers.

Published
2019-07-26
How to Cite
Migliore, T. (2019). On Courage. The Sense Of θυμός. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 12(35), 190-221. Retrieved from http://www.humanamente.eu/index.php/HM/article/view/257