The quality of autarkeia, usually translated "self-sufficiency" or "independence," is significant in the Greek moral tradition from Socrates through the Stoics. Xenophon praises the autarkeia of Socrates in several contexts; Memorabilia 1.2.14 tells how Critias and Alcibiades were attracted by the fact that "Socrates, though possessed of very little, was living the most self-sufficient of lives (autarkestata zonta), having achieved mastery over all the pleasures …" Near the end of this work, Xenophon eulogizes Socrates as having been "so wise that he was unerring in his judgement of the better and the worse, and needed no counsellor, but relied on himself (autarkes einai) for his knowledge of them" (Mem. 4.8.11). For the Stoics, autarkeia holds a central place among the valued moral and mental states, appearing in parallel constructions with ataraxia in references to desirable conditions of soul.



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