Bacon From Acorns is now LifeCraft.

Cottage with Peasant, Van Gogh

“In fine, having established the dominion of his city over so many people, he himself remained indigent; and always delighted as much in the glory of being poor, as in that of his trophies.” Plutarch on Aristides

This renowned Athenian statesman’s attitude toward wealth and poverty remains something of an enigma. We are told not only that he steadfastly resisted the allure of riches, but that he even gloried in his poverty.

His poverty was not a squalor or a lack of necessities. It was a poverty of simplicity, a simplicity given special emphasis in comparison to the wealth that easily might have been his.

People that voluntarily choose poverty always have a certain fascination about them. The rest of us cannot but wonder: why did he do it? why did he choose poverty?

Christian monks are following their Lord and master. But what about Aristides? What is the root of his glorying in a kind of lack? We cannot say for sure. We do know that he valued justice, and the honorable good of his people, above all things.

Somehow he saw poverty–the willing rejection of all wealth not absolutely necessary for his life–as fitting with, and even aiding, those virtues he valued most. He was convinced that he would be happier with less and that less was truly more. Whatever our state in life, we might keep pondering: has Aristides seen something that we have not yet seen?

Plutarch (46-120 A.D.), a Boeotian Greek who became a Roman citizen, was especially known as a biographer of famous Greek and Roman men. This post is the second in a short series considering the life of Aristides (530-468 BC), one of the greatest of Athenian statesmen.

Image: Cottage with Peasant Coming Home, by Van Gogh

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
Make a Fire Today

Make a Fire Today

Fire is a capital article. To have no fire, or a bad fire to sit by, is a most dismal thing. In such a state man and wife must be something out of the common way to be in good humor with each other… William Cobbett, Cottage Economy There is something about a fire. We...

read more
Stewardship Plan for Everyone: Conserve, Beautify, Fructify

Stewardship Plan for Everyone: Conserve, Beautify, Fructify

Stewardship is using the natural world carefully so that it thrives and thus serves human life well. The natural world provides food, cloths, and shelter, each with its proper delight and beauty. It can also form our mind and character, teaching us basic lessons of...

read more
Every Household: The Home of Stewardship

Every Household: The Home of Stewardship

“In the loss of skill, we lose stewardship; in losing stewardship, we lose fellowship; we become outcasts from the great neighborhood of Creation.” Wendell Berry, The Gift of Good Land “Old usage tells us that there is a husbandry also of the land, of the soil, of the...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest