Finally, Herodotus uses one other adjective to capture all these subtleties -- eudaimon (and the noun, eudaimonia) -- indicating a flourishing, favored life... Comprisong the Greek eu (good) and daimon (god, spirit, demon), eudaimonia thus contains within it a notion of fortune -- for to have a good daimon on your side, a guiding spirit, is to be lucky -- and a notion of divinity...
This is the wisdom of a world in which inscrutible forces constantly threaten to subvert human aims, a world ruled by fate or by the gods, in which suffering is all pervasive and uncertainty is woven into the fabric of daily experience. Today it is sometimes tempting to think of early Greek life in the manner by which it has largely come down to us -- as myth -- imagining it, deliciously, as a sunny, sensual affair, flowing with the unflinching purpose of Attic oarsmen, clean as classical marble, sweet as ambrosia. But such reveries could hide the less pleasant facts: that thunder or an eclipse could induce terror, that pestilence and hunger periodically wiped out entire communities, that horribly disfigured men and women were a presence in every town, that children were as apt to die before their fifth birthday as to live longer, that bloody warfare was a constant reminder of the fragility of existence. In a world such as that, life was less something to be made than something to be endured. Only those who did so sucessfully could be deemed fortunate, blessed, happy.
Source: Darrin M. McMahon, Happiness: A History (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006), pp. 3, 5.


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