The Early Greek Concept of the Soul
An online description of the content of Jan Bremmer's book: The Early Greek Concept of the
Soul, (that appeared on Amazon and was accessed in December 2019), read as follows:
Jan Bremmer presents a provocative picture of the historical development of beliefs regarding the soul in ancient Greece. He argues that
before Homer the Greeks distinguished between two types of soul, both identified with the individual: the free soul, which possessed
no psychological attributes and was active only outside the body, as in dreams, swoons, and the afterlife; and the body soul, which
endowed a person with life and consciousness. Gradually this concept of two kinds of souls was replaced by the idea of a single soul.
In exploring Greek ideas of human souls as well as those of plants and animals, Bremmer illuminates an important stage in the genesis
of the Greek mind.
Whilst Homer seems to have associated Soul with Human life other literary figures soon thereafter tended to associate Soul with other
forms of life. Types of Human behavior, such as courage, appetites for food, drink and sex and capacities for thought and
foresight, came to be associated with the moral qualities of individuals.
Whilst somewhat later, (and undoubtedly rather eminent), Ancient Greeks, such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle tended to accept the idea
of a single soul in their philosophy, it was possible for this single Soul to have 'aspects' and, as such, to be
referred to as The Tripartite Soul when, (as was often the case), three such aspects had been considered to have been identified.
Plato's major work, The Republic, sees the establishment of Justice in a state, for benefit of all its inhabitants, as being facilitated
when persons who, (arising from the moral qualities of their souls), are motivated by their appetites focus on economic activity as Artisans,
producers and traders, spirited people who, (arising from the moral qualities of their souls), tend to be
relatively courageous focus, as Auxiliaries, on the defence of the state from external threats and internal dissent, and persons of
reason who, (arising from the moral qualities of their souls), tend to be particularly capable of wisdom and foresight, (after a five-decades-long period of training and
development), should be employed as Guardians in directing the affairs of the state.
Key sources supportive of
Tripartite Soul Theory