“Philotimo to a Greek is like breathing, a Greek is not a Greek without it.” - Tales
Greece is a stunning country with kind, beautiful people and a fascinating history. The ancient Greeks left us with a huge heritage, things you probably never knew were invented by them: the automatic doors, cement, central heating, coin money, maps, plumbing, sinks, showers, the wheelbarrow, the alarm clock,… Without them we wouldn’t be what we are now and certainly wouldn’t have what we have today (well, on an early Monday morning you maybe wish they never invented the alarm clock …)!
The Greek language and specifically Greek mythology and science has had a tremendous influence on the English language. In our everyday lives we use the root of Greek words and definitions all the time. Here are a few examples: basic, eccentric, erotic, bibliography, doctor, symbol, logic, telephone, biology, cosmos, clothing, kilo, psycho, therapy,…
But there is one Greek word that isn’t integrated in our language. A word we should integrate not only in our vocabulary but also in our hearts. A word that can bring meaning into all our lives:
” PHILOTIMO “
It’s hard to translate or even to describe in one word what philotimo means. It’s a Greek word without a proper definition. The word comes from the Greek root words “filos”, meaning friend, and “timi”, meaning honor. The meaning of philotimo extends far beyond the words friend and honor. It encompasses the concepts of pride in self, pride in family, pride in community and doing the right thing. It’s a behavior and you have to experience it to really understand it. Philotimo gives a meaning to life that stretches beyond ourselves. It’s an awareness in the heart that motivates the good deeds that a person does.