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Sophrosyne (Greek: σωφροσύνη) is an ancient Greek concept of an ideal of excellence of character and soundness of mind, which when combined in one well-balanced individual leads to other qualities, such as temperance, moderation, prudence, and self-control.
In other languages there is no word that is a simple equivalent, but it is sometimes translated into Latin as continentia (continence and moderation) and sobrietas (temperance and sobriety). In English it is sometimes translated as prudence, self-control, moderation, or temperance.
In Greek literature sophrosyne is considered an important quality, and is expressed in opposition to the concept of "hubris". A noted example of this occurs in Homer's The Iliad: When Agamemnon decides to take the queen, Briseis, away from Achilles, it is seen as Agamemnon behaving with hubris and lacking sophrosyne.
An adjectival form is "sophon".
- North, Helen. Sophrosyne: Self-knowledge and Self-restraint in Greek Literature. Cornell studies in classical philology. Volume 35, issue 67, Issue 67. Cornell University Press (1966)
- Euripides. Hippolytos. Oxford University Press. (1973) 978-0-19-507290-7 p. 6