Ancient History & Civilisation



These glossaries offer not a guarantee but only a strong likelihood that in any passage of the Politics a given Greek term will have been rendered by one of the English words shown in the Greek–English list, and that conversely a given English word is the translation of the Greek terms indicated in the English–Greek list.

The glossaries are not exhaustive: in particular, (i) they concentrate on the more common terms of political, constitutional, legal, economic and social importance, with much lighter coverage of terms ethical, logical, metaphysical, psychological, artistic, epistemological and methodological; (ii) no attempt has been made to cover certain common and general notions for which Aristotle uses a wide range of apparent synonyms, e.g. the various words for ‘rich’, ‘poor’, ‘type’, ‘necessary’.

Some terms listed are exclusively technical, but most have a wide range of ordinary non-technical usages also, which are not listed. E.g. archē: technical meanings ‘rule’, ‘official’, etc., non-technical ‘beginning’; gnōrimos: non-technical adjective ‘familiar’, but also in a technical sense, ‘a notable’, to denote a member of a particular social and political group.

Generally, only one word from a ‘set’ is given, when the various forms and renderings of the rest may easily be inferred. E.g. the entry archē, ‘rule’, etc. suffices for archein ‘to rule’ and archōn ‘ruler’; but the rendering of archeion as ‘board’ or ‘committee’ could not be inferred, and is therefore listed. Comparatives and superlatives of adjectives and adverbs, and passive forms of verbs, are similarly omitted.

Some of the more important departures from the equivalents shown are noted in footnotes or in the introductions to the chapters.


adikos unjust

adikein to treat unjustly, to wrong, to do wrong, to commit crime, to be criminal

adikia injustice, crime

agathos good

allagē exchange

andreia courage

anisos unequal

aoristos unlimited

archē (i) authority, rule; (ii) office, officer, official

archeion board, committee

aretē virtue

aristokratia aristocracy

aristos best

autarkēs self-sufficient

axia desert, merit, value

banausos mechanic(al)

barbaros non-Greek

basileus king

basileuein to reign

basilikos royal

boulē council

bouleuesthai to deliberate

bouleutikos deliberative

chrēmata goods, money

chrēmatismos business

chrēmatistikē acquisition of goods or wealth, money-making

chrēmatizesthai to acquire goods or wealth, to make money

dēmagōgos demagogue, popular leader

dēmiourgos workman

dēmokratia democracy

dēmos (i) people; (ii) democracy; (iii) deme

dēmosios public (adj.), cf. koinos

despotēs master

diagōgē civilized pursuits

dianoia intellect, intelligence

dikaios just, fair

to dikaion justice

dikaiosunē justice; sense of justice

dikē case, justice, lawsuit, penalty, trial

dikastēs juryman, judge

doulos slave

dunamis capacity, faculty, function

dunasteia power-group

ekklēsia assembly

eleutheros free, free man

eleutherios of or worthy of a free man, liberal

epieikēs reasonable, respectable

epimeleia care, concern, duty, responsibility, superintendence, supervision

ergon function, purpose

ethnos nation, usually with the adjective ‘foreign’

eudaimonia happiness

eugenēs well or nobly born

eugeneia good or noble birth

eunomia life under, or government by, good laws

euthuna account, scrutiny

genos birth, family, race

gnōrimos notable

grammata written rules

hairetos chosen by election, elected, elective

harmonia mode (in music)

hippeis cavalry

homoios (a)like, similar

hoplitēs heavy-infantryman

hubris arrogance, arrogant ill-treatment or simply ill-treatment

hupothesis assumption, principle, assumed or given situation

isos equal

kalos a fairly wide range of commendatory words, commonly fine, noble, good (overlaps inevitably with agathos)

kapēleia trade

kalaphronēsis contempt

eukataphronētos easily despised

kerdos profit

klēros (i) lot; (ii) estate

koinos common, communal, public, social, shared

koinōnein to associate, to participate in, to share, to be a member of

koinōnia association, participation, community

krisis case, choice, decision, judgement, verdict

ktēma piece or article of property

ktēsis property, in concrete sense, but esp. of its acquisition or possession

kurios binding, decisive, sovereign, supreme

leitourgia public service

logos (i) reason, reasoning; (ii) ratio

menein to endure, last long, survive, be stable or permanent

meros part, section

kata meros by turns

mesos middle, intermediate

to meson the mean

metabolē change. esp. of constitutions

metahlētikē exchange (of goods)

metechein to share

monarchos monarch, single or sole ruler

mousikē music

nomisma coin(age). currency: money

nomos convention, enactment, law. legislation, regulation

kata nomon legally: according to, or subject to, law

nomothetēs lawgiver, legislator

nous mind

oikonomia household-management

oligoi few

oligarchia oligarchy

orthos right, correct

ousia possessions

paideia education

pambasileia absolute kingship

parekbasis deviation

penesteia serfs

perioikoi peripheral population

philia affection, friendship, goodwill

philein to be well disposed towards

philolimia ambition

phronēsis practical wisdom

phthora destruction, dissolution

phulē tribe

phusis nature

plēthos multitude, populace; bulk or mass (of citizens, people, population, etc.. according to context)

polis state

politeia (i) constitution; (ii) polity; (iii) Republic (Plato’s)

politēs citizen

politeuesthai expressions such as to administer, operate or live under, a constitution; to engage in politics or affairs of state; to live, or function as a citizen or statesman, in a state

politeuma citizen-body

politikē statesmanship

politikos (i) statesman; (ii) to do with, affecting, appropriate in, a citizen, state, statesman, constitution, polity; political

polloi many, masses

praxis act. action, activity, deed, practice

proboulos pre-councillor

prostatēs champion

prutanis president

psēphisma decree

psuchē soul

scholē leisure, time off

sōphrosunē restraint, self-control

sōtēria maintaining, preservation, safety, stability

spoudaios sound, worthy

stasis faction

stratēgos general (n.)

sussilia common meals, refectories

technēskills, technique

technitēs skilled worker

telos end

thēs hired worker, hireling

timē esteem, distinction, honour

timēma property-class, -assessment, -qualification

turannos tyrant


account euthuna

act, action, activity praxis

affection philia

(a)like homoios

ambition philotimia

aristocracy aristokratia

arrogance, arrogant ill-treatment hubris

assembly ekklēsia

association see koin- set

assumption, assumed situation hupothesis

authority archē

best aristos

binding kurios

birth genos

board archeion

bulk (of the people, etc.) plēthos

business chrēmatismos

capacity dunamis

care epimeleia

case (legal) dikē, krisis

cavalry hippeis

champion prostatēs

change (n.), esp, of constitutions metabolē

choice krisis

citizen politēs

citizen -body politeuma

civilized pursuits diagōgē

coin (age) nomisma

committee archeion

common see koin- set

common meals sussitia

communal, community , see koin- set

concern epimeleia

constitution politeia

contempt kataphronēsis

convention nomos

correct orthos

courage andreia

crime adikia

criminal (be), commit crimes adikein

currency nomisma

decision krisis

decisive kurios

decree psēphisma

deed praxis

deliberate (v.) bouleuesthai

deliberative bouleutikos

demagogue dēmagōgos

deme dēmos

democracy dēmokratia, dēmos

desert axia

despised, easily eukataphronētos

destruction phthora

deviation parekbasis

dissolution phthora

distinction (i.e. honour, etc.) timē

duty epimeleia

education paideia

elected, elective, chosen by election hairetos

enactment nomos

end telos

endure menein

equal isos

estate klēros

esteem timē

exchange allagē, metablētikē

faction stasis

faculty dunamis

fair dikaios

family genos

few oligoi

fine kalos

free, free man eleutheros

of or worthy of a free man eleutherios

friendship philia

function dunamis, ergon

general (n.) stratēgos

given situation hupothesis

good agathos (usually, but see also kalos)

good or noble birth eugeneia

good laws: government by or life under eunomia

goods chrēmata

acquisition of goods chrēmatistikē

to acquire goods chrēmatizesthai

goodwill philia

happiness eudaimonia

heavy-infantryman hoplitēs

hired worker, hireling thēs

honour timē

household-management oikonomia

ill-treatment, arrogant ill-treatment hubris

injustice adikia

intellect, intelligence dianoia

intermediate mesos

judge, juryman dikastēs

judgement krisis

just dikaios

justice to dikaion, dikē

sense of justice dikaiosunē

king basileus

kingship, absolute pambasileia

last long menein

law nomos

lawgiver nomothetēs

lawsuit dikē

legally kata nomon

legislation nomos

legislator nomothetēs

leisure scholē

liberal eleutherios

lot klēros

selected or chosen or appointed or filled, by lot klērōtos

maintaining (n.) sōtēria

many polloi

mass (of the people, etc.) plēthos

master (of slaves) despotēs

mean, the to meson

mechanic(al) banausos

member see koin- set

merit axia

middle mesos

mind nous

mode (in music) harmonia

monarch monarchos

money chrēmata; nomisma (esp. coinage)

money-making (n.) chrēmatistikē

to make money chrēmatizesthai

multitude plēthos

music mousikē

nation, foreign nation ethnos

nature phusis

noble kalos

nobly born eugenēs

non-Greek barbaros

notable gnōrimos

office, officer, official archē

oligarchy oligarchia

part meros

participation see koin- set

penalty dikē

people dēmos

peripheral population perioikoi

permanent, be menein

political politikos

polity politeia

populace plēthos

popular leader dēmagōgos

possessions ousia

power-group dunasteia

practical wisdom phronēsis

practice praxis

pre-councillor proboulos

preservation sōlēna

president prutanis

principle hupothesis

profit kerdos

property ktēsis

piece or article of property ktēma

property-class, -assessment, -qualification timēma

public dēmosios. and see koin- set

public service leitourgia

purpose ergon

race genos

ratio logos

reason, reasoning logos

reasonable epieikēs

refectories sussitia

regulation nomos

reign (v.) basileuein

Republic (Plato’s) politeia

respectable epieikēs

responsibility epimeleia

restraint sōphrosunē

right (adj.) orthos

royal basilikos

rule(n.) archē

safety sōtēria

scrutiny euthuna

section meros

self control sōphrosunē

self-sufficient aularkēs

serfs penesteia

share (v.) metechein

shared see koin- set

similar homoios

single or sole ruler monarchos

situation (assumed or given) hupothesis

skill technē

skilled worker technitēs

slave doulos

social see koin- set

soul psuchē

sound spoudaios

sovereign kurios

stability sōtēria

stable, be menein

state polis

statesman politikos

statesmanship politikē

superintendence epimeleia

supervision epimeleia

supreme kurios

survive menein

technique technē

time off scholē

trade kapēleia

treat unjustly adikein

trial dikē

tribe phulē

turns. by kala meros

tyrant turannos

unequal anisos

unjust adikos

unlimited aoristos

value axia

verdict krisis

virtue aretē

wealth, acquisition of chrēmatistikē to acquire wealth chrēmatizesthai

well-born eugenēs

well disposed (be) towards philein

workman dēmiourgos

worthy spoudaios

written rules grammata

wrong (v.), do wrong adikein

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