"The word envy is derived from the Latin noun invidia, which corresponds with English “envy; jealousy; grudge; ill will; hatred; odium; unpopularity”; that in turn is derived from the verb invidere, which means “to look askance at; to look maliciously or spitefully at; to cast an Evil Eye on; to be prejudiced against; to envy, grudge; to be unwilling; to aspire to rival; to prevent, refuse, or deny.” Dictionary definitions for envy include: (noun) ill will, malice, enmity, harm, emulation, desire, a longing for another’s advantages, mortification, and ill will occasioned by the contemplation of another’s superior advantages; (verb) to feel envy at the superior advantages of; to regard with discontent another’s possession of (some superior advantage); to wish oneself on a level with (another) in some respect, or possessed of (something which another has); to feel a grudge against, to begrudge, to treat grudgingly; to have envious, grudging, or malevolent feelings; to vie with, seek to challenge.
While modern scholars in a variety of disciplines agree that it is blended, there is considerable diversity on the number and nature of its components. Spielman notes four principal components: emulation (admi- ration and rivalry), a ‘narcissistic wound’ (“a sense of inadequacy,” inferiority, or “injured self-esteem,” ranging from disappointment to humiliation), covetousness (of the desired quality or possession), and anger (ranging from chagrin, through resentment, to spite, malevolence, hatred, and a wish to harm). Joffe sees six elements to envy: aggression, hate, resentment, admiration, covetousness, and narcissism (a desire to boost one’s self-image). Ben Ze’ev notes envy involves both hostility and admiration, and occasionally self-pity, hope, or despair. Parrott believes it can involve: a longing or frustrated desire, a feeling of inferiority (which may manifest as sadness, anxiety, or despair), resentment (generalized or target-specific, manifesting as displeasure, anger, or hatred), guilt at feeling these affects, and admiration or emulation. Rosenblatt notes feelings of helplessness to acquire the desired good, “inadequacy and inferiority,” and target-directed anger. Clearly there is no exact agreement; however, a number of affects command sufficient agreement to allow us to operate with them as an irreducible minimum in the blend, and these are: emulation, covetousness, anger/aggression, resentment, hostility/hatred, and a feeling of inferiority or damaged self-esteem.
Envious feelings lead to a variety of actions. Elster notes that primarily “the action tendency of envy is to destroy the envied object or its possessor”; Wurmser and Jarass agree, saying envy “wants the humiliation, disempowerment, and destruction of the envied one.” This is true even if such destructive action is to our own detriment also. This action tendency is the most fundamental, and verbal and physical actions prompted by envy will frequently act toward this goal. However, we should note that destruction does not have to be total; damage also helps relieve envious feelings.
Alongside direct destructive or damaging actions, anthropologists looking at non-Western cultures also tell us about indirect expres- sions of invidious hostility, including: “gossip, backbiting, and defamation,” invoking (or warding against) the Evil Eye, curses, and other types of spells.
This primary destructive action tendency makes clear something that is not generally noted in the situational antecedents: it is not a necessary part of envy that I desire for myself the possession or quality that the other person has; my principal concern is to deprive them of it. This implies two distinct but related scripts:
i/ I am upset that you have something, and I want to deprive you of it;
ii/ I am upset that you have something, and I want to have it instead of you. If the good is transferable (i.e., if it is a possession), then the urge to destroy or damage the desired good is likely to be weaker in the second case (though it may not be, since envy’s strongest urge is to deprive the other person of their good).
I will label these two envy scripts ‘begrudging envy,’ and ‘covetous envy.’
It has often been pointed out by psychologists that there are two possible re- sponses to the three perceptions listed as antecedent conditions for envy: malicious (i.e., begrudging or covetous) envy, and another emotion. Malicious envy will cause the patient to act to deprive the target of whatever has caused their envy; the other emotion accepts the merit of the target, and will instead cause the patient to focus on his/her own shortcomings. This second emotion is termed ‘nonmalicious envy’ by Parrott, ‘emulation’ by Kristjánsson, ‘admiring envy’ by Neu, and connected to (if not identified with) admiration by Ben-Ze’ev and Sandell.
Greed is merely introjective, while envy is also projective: greed makes us desire someone else’s good, but that other person is largely irrelevant; envy will accompany our desire for the good with a stron- ger one to deprive the other person of it. If the good cannot be acquired, envy will try to destroy it (or the rival), while greed will merely remain frustrated.
Covetousness is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as inordinate desire or lust for another’s possessions. Ben-Ze’ev argues that it involves desiring what someone else possesses with “an excessive or culpable desire,” and says that where envy is a two-person emotion, covetousness is really a one-person emotion: it is “concerned with having something,” while envy is “concerned with someone who has something.”
Ben-Ze’ev is describing not covetousness, but rather desire or greed. One distinction between the two terms may lie in the emphasis placed on getting more than one needs: I might covet my neighbor’s ass because I need an ass,34 but I am less likely to do so if I do not; I might, however, still be greedy for it as a possession. Emulation wants what someone else has, without any desire to deprive them. Coveting wants what someone else has, but our focus is on obtaining the good itself, not on depriving the other, which is purely incidental. In the ‘covetous envy’ script, we ideally want to obtain the good, but our primary concern is with depriving the other person of it. Coveting and covetous envy share antecedent conditions and may share action tendencies, but their motivation is different.
Envy will also occur in respect of goods which cannot be equal by their very nature (e.g., beauty or intelligence)." [Ed Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"The word jealousy derives from the Greek ζῆλος, meaning “eager rivalry, zealous imitation, emulation, jealousy, zeal; (used passively as) the object of emulation or desire, happiness, bliss, honor, glory; extravagance of style; fierceness.” Dictionary definitions for jealousy include: anger, wrath, indignation; devotion, eagerness, anxiety to serve; the state of mind arising from the suspicion, apprehension, or knowledge of rivalry; suspicion, mistrust. The related adjective is jealous, which means: vehement in wrath, desire, or devotion; vigilant in guarding, suspiciously careful or watchful; troubled by the belief, suspicion, or fear that the good which one desires to gain or keep for oneself has been or may be diverted to another; resentful toward another on account of known or suspected rivalry; suspicious, fearful.
(1) I have an exclusive relationship with someone (a partner) or something (a possession);
(2) I am in danger of losing that exclusivity or the entire relationship with them/it; '
(3) because I have a rival for their affection/possession.
The prototypical jealousy scenario is sexual jealousy; however one can feel jealous when the rival is a thing (e.g., my husband’s car or prized rosebushes), or non-love rival (e.g., the friends my wife ignores me for); and one can feel jealous at the potential or actual loss of an object/attribute (e.g., status or privileges), including loss of distinctiveness or exclusivity in being the only one to possess it. Unlike envy, which is rooted in social comparison, jealousy is therefore based on personal rivalry and fear of loss. It involves a unique bond with a unique individual or item, exclusivity, and (imagined, potential, or actual) alienation of affection or ownership.66 Parrott argues that the partner or possession must be formative to our own self-concept for jealousy to be possible: what we fear to lose is not so much a beloved partner or valued possession, but actually a part of ourselves.
Like envy, jealousy is generally considered a blended emotion, but again scholars differ considerably on the number and nature of its components. Freud believes it compounds four affects: grief, a narcissistic wound, enmity against the rival, and (perhaps) self-criticism. Shengold more vaguely says it is an individually varying mixture of hate and love. Spielman believes it has a similar mix to envy (emulation, narcissistic wound, covetousness, anger) with less emulation and more anger, combined with an unconscious homosexuality, and suspicion or mistrust (or paranoia). Sharpsteen and Planalp argue for a blend prin- cipally of anger, fear, and sadness. Parrott argues for fear of loss, anger, and insecurity. Kristjánsson plumps for envy, anger, and indignation. Ben-Ze’ev gives a particularly generous list: anger, hostility, resentment, and suspicion, as well as love, admiration, and distrust.
Agreement—as an irreducible minimum to operate with—are anger, envy, hostility, fear of / grief at loss, and damaged self-esteem. It is perhaps surprising that love is rarely included; possibly it is taken for granted, but perhaps it is simply not necessary: what matters is not that I love the person/object, but that they are mine.
Parrott notes that, while an outside person would perceive jealousy, the patient themselves will most likely experience, or believe they are experiencing, anxious insecurity (in the case of ‘suspicious’ jealousy) or indignant anger (with ‘fait accompli’ jealousy). This may lead to revenge against either the partner (if love turns to hatred) or the rival (if there is a strong admixture of envy). In the absence of such closure, a natural path would be a period of recrimination, followed by some measure of acceptance." [Ed Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
(1) envy is a desire for what someone else has, while jealousy is a desire to retain or regain something we see as ours;
(2) jealousy involves an exclusive bond with a particular object/person, while envy does not;
(3) envy involves social comparison, while jealousy involves personal rivalry;
(4) envy is always destructive, while jealousy aims at possession, and only becomes destructive when there is a fait accompli (which involves a strong admixture of envy);
(5) envy has relatively more tendency to hatred, while jealousy has relatively more tendency to anger;
(6) jealousy is more socially sanctioned than envy, so defenses are fewer, while,
(7) envy tends, both consciously and unconsciously, toward disguise.
Further distinctions have been noted by scholars. For instance, some argue that envy normally involves two people while jealousy must involve three—or at least a triangular relationship, if one of the three is not a person. Foster notes that we envy a person, and the possession is only a trigger; however we are jealous of a possession/partner, and perception of a rival is the trigger. And finally, R. H. Smith, et al. have found that envy tends to be associated with such affective states as longing, inferiority, and self-awareness, while jealousy is more concerned with suspiciousness, anxiety, hurt, and fear of loss." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"The primary Greek word that relates to both envy and jealousy scripts is phthonos (and cognate forms). This term generally covers the lexical ground covered by envy and nonsexual jealousy in English (in particular, ‘begrudging envy,’ ‘covetous envy,’ ‘possessive jealousy,’ and ‘jealous of my position’), but is considerably broader still.
Around a third of phthon- words in the Archaic and Classical periods are derived from the verbal form phthonein.
The adjectives/adverbs phthoneros/-ôs (en- vious/jealous/grudging), epiphthonos/-ôs (liable to envy/jealousy, regarded with envy/jealousy), and anepiphthonos/ôs (the opposite of epiphthonos/-ôs) are all reasonably common, and we also occasionally find forms such as phthonêsis (the same as phthonos) or hupophthonos/-ein (secretly jealous, quite jealous). We also frequently see aphthonia/-os/-ôs, which collectively account for around a quarter of all phthon- words, and generally have the meanings ‘abundant,’ ‘plentiful,’ ‘generous’ – though occasionally they can mean ‘lack of phthonos.’
In the Archaic period we find a number of aphorisms, particularly recorded under the name of the Seven Sages: “Envy no one” (Sept. Sap. Apophth. fr. 7.3 Mullach: μηδενὶ φθόνει). “Do not feel envy for mortal goods” (Sept. Sap. Sent. p. 216 l. 31 Mullach: μὴ φθόνει θνητά). “Flee the envy of all, and guard against the plots of those who hate you” (Sept. Sap. Apophth. fr. 1.7 Mullach: φεῦγε μὲν τὸν φθόνον τῶν πολλῶν, φυλάσσου δὲ τὰς ἐπιβουλὰς τῶν μισούντων). “As the red blight is a disease peculiar to food, so envy is a sickness of friendship” (Sept. Sap. Apophth. fr. 7.4 Mullach: ὥσπερ ἡ ἐρυσίβη ἴδιόν ἐστι τοῦ σίτου νόσημα, οὕτω φθόνος φιλίας ἐστὶν ἀρρώστημα). “As rust attaches to iron, so phthonos does to the possessing soul itself” (Sept. Sap. Apophth. fr. 7.5 Mullach: ὥσπερ ὁ ἰὸς σίδηρον, οὕτως ὁ φθόνος τὴν ἔχουσαν αὐτὸν ψυχὴν ἐξαναψήχει). Disease, sickness, and rust are strong indications of the social and moral unac- ceptability of phthonos.
Aphorisms continue throughout the Archaic and Classical periods. Pindar says “Nevertheless, envy is better than pity” (Pyth. 1.85: ἀλλ’ ὅμως, κρέσσον γὰρ οἰκτιρμοῦ φθόνος). A more common theme in Pindar—indeed the epinician genre as a whole—incorporates phthonos into the rhetoric of praise for the victor, as something both to be desired as an indicator of success and shunned as potentially destructive. The Archaic poet Mimnermos too contrasts feeling envy for a live man of great fame with praising a dead one (fr. 25.1–2 West: δεινοὶ γὰρ ἀνδρὶ πάντες ἐσμὲν εὐκλεεῖ ζῶντι φθονῆσαι, κατθανόντα δ’ αἰνέσαι).6 As well as for someone successful, we feel phthonos for rivals, as when Hesiod says “Potter grudges potter and carpenter, carpenter; beggar envies beggar and bard, bard” (Op. 25–26: καὶ κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ κοτέει καὶ τέκτονι τέκτων, καὶ πτωχὸς πτωχῷ φθονέει καὶ ἀοιδὸς ἀοιδῷ). Finally, it is felt for a range of people close to one: neighbors, friends, relatives, fellow citizens, and those “similar and equal” to oneself in birth, relationship, age, disposition, distinction, or wealth.
In all these instances, the speaker is saying phthonos is something ‘we’ do, but ‘we’ should not (i.e., he is generalizing about the human condition). This positioning is a rhetorical device that acts to palliate his criticism by removing a suggestion of superiority. In the whole Classical corpus, there are only three surviving instances where someone explicitly says ‘I’ feel phthonos: one is spoken by the insane Pentheus, who begrudges Dionysus his time (Eur. Bacch. 820: ἄγ’ ὡς τάχιστα· τοῦ χρόνου δέ σοι φθονῶ); the second by someone who censures nobles who act like those of baser status (Eur. fr. 334.1–2 Nauck: πολλοῖς παρέστην κἀφθόνησα δὴ βροτῶν ὅστις κακοῖσιν ἐσθλὸς ὢν ὅμοιος ᾖ); the third by the king of Armenia, who is jealous of the man his son goes hunting with, in case the son admires him more (Xen. Cyr. 188.8.131.52: καὶ ἐγὼ ἐκείνῳ, ἔφη, ἐφθόνουν, ὅτι μοι ἐδόκει τοῦτον ποιεῖν αὐτὸν μᾶλλον θαυμάζειν ἢ ἐμέ). The extreme rarity of these instances ‘proves the rule’ of how unusual it is to claim to feel phthonos.
In a fascinating passage, Xenophon tells us how phthonos arises. He says that men are naturally hostile: for thinking the same things fine and sweet, they fight over them and, differing, are opposed; both strife and anger tend to hostility; a desire to be greedy leads to ill will, while envy leads to hatred (Mem. 184.108.40.206–9).
Phthonos, or rather the verb phthonein, occurs ten times in Homer. This is not a large number, suggesting that the word is not yet all that common. However, while the word can each time be best translated into English as ‘refuse’ or ‘(be)grudge,’ nevertheless even these few instances cover an array of scripts. One scenario involves trying to stop someone doing something they wish: examples are Hera (not) begrudging Zeus the destruction of cities she loves (Il. 4.55–56), Penelope grudging a bard singing songs he likes (Od. 1.346), Odysseus refusing a ghost that wants to speak with him (Od. 11.149), and (not) refusing to let his nurse wash his feet (Od. 19.348 ). This we might term ‘begrudging refusal,’ and does not at first glance seem to relate to English envy or jealousy: the pain is not triggered by someone else’s or one’s own object or attribute. However, it is triggered at a pleasure someone will get from something mildly detrimental to you, and in the sense that grudging it takes away his or her pleasure, this is not unrelated to ‘begrudging envy’. A second Homeric scenario involves the speaker having something and not begrudging sharing it or giving it away: examples are Alkinoös not begrudging his daugh- ter mules or anything else (Od. 6.68 ), his ghost in the underworld not refusing Odysseus a pitiable tale (Od. 11.381), and Telemachos not begrudging Odysseus some food (Od. 17.400). I will refer to this script as ‘begrudging sharing,’ and it is not dissimilar to ‘possessive jealousy’ or ‘jealous of my position’ scripts (despite the fact that ‘jealous’ does not work as an English translation— demonstrating again the superiority of using a script approach to complement a lexical one).
Another passage contains phthonos twice, when the beggar Iros tries to remove Odysseus from his threshold, and the latter says: “I do not begrudge someone taking even a lot and giving it to you. This threshold will hold us both, and you should not envy what belongs to others” (Od. 18.16–18: οὔτε τινὰ φθονέω δόμεναι καὶ πόλλ’ ἀνελόντα. οὐδὸς δ’ ἀμφοτέρους ὅδε χείσεται, οὐδέ τί σε χρὴ ἀλλοτρίων φθονέειν). The first instance implies (lack of) ‘begrudging envy’ or ‘covetous envy,’ depending whether Odysseus believes Iros’s loss would be his own gain; in the second Iros clearly wants both to deprive Odysseus and have his portion for himself, and since the threshold had previously been his alone this suggests both ‘covetous envy’ and ‘jealous of my position.’
This suggests that phthonos did not develop from merely begrudging in Homer, only later to encompass envy and then jealousy; all these meanings are already apparent as far back as our written sources go.
Here it is worth pausing for a moment to consider the English word ‘begrudging.’First, what I termed above ‘begrudging refusal’: a desire to deny or refuse someone pleasure in doing something that happens to be mildly detrimental to oneself. Second, ‘begrudging sharing’: wishing not to share something I have.
Let us take first ‘begrudging re- fusal’ (i.e., seeking to prevent someone doing something they wish). As well as the four Homeric instances, Eteocles does not object to the chorus of Theban women honoring the gods (Aesch. Sept. 236); the chorus of old men will not begrudge Clytemnestra refusing to share happy news (Aesch. Ag. 263); Anti- gone will not grudge Ismene saving herself (Soph. Ant. 553); Deianeira should not begrudge Lichas for telling her of Heracles’ affair with Iole (Soph. Trach. 250); and Hyllos will not refuse Heracles’ request to carry him to his pyre (Trach. 1212). This script is not very common, and appears only in epic and the Archaizing genre of tragedy.
‘Begrudging sharing’ is extremely common. This is a script in which the speaker does not want to share something (often, though not always, intangi- ble) whose sharing will be of no detriment to him. The sorts of things it refers to include wisdom (Theog. 770; Xen. Symp. 4.43.5–6; and many instances in Plato),26 time (Eur. Hec. 238 ), shelter (Xen. Symp. 1.12.2), and physical items such as clothes (Eur. HF 333; Ar. Thesm. 29, 252; cf. Hom. Od. 6.68, 17.400 above). It also refers to begrudging speaking (Aesch. Sept. 480, Supp. 322; Soph. Trach. 250; Eur. Med. 63; Hdt. 220.127.116.11; Xen. Symp. 3.5.3), and similarly begrudging an oracular pronouncement (Soph. OT 310), an introduction (Xen. Symp. 3.14.5), or telling Orestes one’s name (Eur. IT 503).
Another common script is ‘begrudging envy,’ normally best translated into English with one of these two words. It is a pain felt when someone has something that we do not wish them to have, but generally not something tangible that we could ourselves obtain. The desire then is purely for them to stop being or having whatever makes them superior, not to obtain anything ourselves. Examples include begrudging someone honor (Aesch. Ag. 833; Hdt. 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124; Xen. An. 126.96.36.199–3, Ages. 1.4.3; Dem. 20.141), praise (Aesch. Ag. 904; Thuc. 188.8.131.52–8; Pl. Symp. 223a1), reputation (Mimnermos fr. 25.2 West; Pind. Ol. 8.55, Pyth. 2.90; Dem. 3.24), wisdom (Eur. Med. 297, 303, Bacch. 1005; Pl. Tht. 125a5; Isoc. 10.56), good fortune (Eur. Med. 312; Hdt. 184.108.40.206–8; Isoc. 1.26), gifts from the gods (Xen. Ap. 14.3, 32.2), superiority (Pind. Nem. 8.21; Xen. Cyr. 220.127.116.11; Lys. 3.9), physical prowess (Hdt. 18.104.22.168), political position (Ar. Eq. 1051), power (Hdt. 22.214.171.124–8 ), success (Pind. Ol. 6.74, Pyth. 7.15; Hdt. 126.96.36.199; Thuc. 188.8.131.52; Xen. Hell. 184.108.40.206), happiness (Pind. Pyth. 11.29), children (Eur. Ion 1302), and something good to one’s own children (Pl. Hp. mai. 283e6–8; Spur. 377a8 ).
Paphlagon is ‘jealous of his position’ in Demos’s household (Ar. Eq. 879–80); King Pausanias of Sparta is jealous of his in rushing to take Athens before Lysander does (Xen. Hell. 220.127.116.11). Otanes opines that kings are always jealous of the best of their subjects (Hdt. 18.104.22.168–4.5). Odysseus jealously protects his reputation for being the wisest by destroying Palamedes (Xen. Mem. 22.214.171.124); Plato talks of someone so jealous of sharing his good fortune that he will not make friends (Pl. Leg. 730e5), and the Platonic corpus also contains comments about those jealous of sharing their virtue (Pl. Spur. 376d5) or their profes- sional skills (Pl. Spur. 376d8 ). Isocrates claims Athens does not begrudge its good things to other Greeks, being philanthropic (Isoc. 4.29); however, He- rodotus tells of the ancient Athenians that they begrudged having made a gift of poor land to the Pelasgians, after the latter improved it markedly (Hdt. 126.96.36.199).
We find ‘possessive jealousy’ too, as where the king of Armenia is jealous of the man his son goes hunting with, in case the son admires him more (Xen. Cyr. 188.8.131.52 ). Agathon denies possessive jealousy when he says he will lend Mnesilochos his clothes (Ar. Thesm. 249, 252), and the chorus members in Lysistrata similarly when they offer all their goods to a girl selected to carry a basket in a procession (Lys. 1192). Maiandrios is jealous of his tyranny of Samos, begrudging handing it over to Syloson undamaged (Hdt. 184.108.40.206). Aristotle combines both jealousy scripts when he notes that people who do great deeds and have good fortune (including being honored for a distinc- tion, or especially having wisdom or happiness) can feel phthonos at thinking that others will try to take something away from them (Rh. 2.10, 1387b28–31).
Phthonos as possessive jealousy shades into sexual jealousy when Alkibiades wants to retain Socrates’ attentions, and is jealous when he talks to another handsome man (Pl. Symp. 213d2) and the lover more generally will be jealous of his beloved spending time with others (Pl. Phdr. 239a7). When wives are held in common, as by the Agathyrsoi, there is no phthonos (Hdt. 220.127.116.11). However, Hera is jealous of Zeus’s sexual couplings (Eur. HF 1309), and the chorus of Phthian women contemplate the jealousy of rival wives (Eur. Andr. 181). Aristotle too notes that one can especially feel phthonos for love rivals (Rh. 2.10, 1388a14–15)." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"Rivalry more generally is another script integral to phthonos, falling some- where between envy (not having what someone else has) and jealousy (having and fearing to lose). This is first found in Hesiod’s Works & Days, where Hesiod identifies two types of strife (Eris). Good Strife—perhaps more similar to our ‘strive’—involves emulative rivalry: we see someone else doing well and we are encouraged to emulate them, to work to achieve the same ends, and both we and they end up better off for the rivalry. Hesiod describes this as zêlos (Op. 23–24: ζηλοῖ δέ τε γείτονα γείτων εἰς ἄφενος σπεύδοντ’· ἀγαθὴ δ’ Ἔρις ἥδε βροτοῖσιν).
However, Bad Strife is “cruel, tending to war, evil, and contest” (Op. 14). This is destructive rivalry, and Hesiod had already depicted this Eris as a daughter of Night and the parent of painful Toil, Forgetfulness, Famine, tearful Pains, Battles, Murders, Quarrels, and others (Theog. 223 ff.). It is in describing Bad Strife that Hesiod says “Potter grudges (koteei) potter and carpenter, carpenter; beggar envies (phthoneei) beggar and bard, bard” (Op. 25–26). It is interesting here that phthonein is assimilated to kotein (‘to bear a grudge against’), and clearly relates to a destructive form of rivalry (‘strife’). This is not unique: Polynices uses it of his brotherly struggle with Eteocles (Eur. Phoen. 479—though see n. 10), Perikles more generally of rivals (Thuc. 18.104.22.168), Herodotus of generals vying for a prize for valor (Hdt. 22.214.171.124), Kritoboulos of those in rivalry for primacy in a city (Xen. Mem. 126.96.36.199), and Cyrus of soldiers vying in competition (Xen. Cyr. 188.8.131.52).
In the Classical period, phthonos can often be understood to involve malicious or spiteful action, so as to provide some sort of pleasure to the person feeling it—not dissimilar to the way that English envy is connected to Schaden-freude. This malicious phthonos is not necessarily felt toward those particularly fortunate, nor is it necessarily due to personal animosity; rather its primary motive usually seems to be pleasure-seeking, with no care that the pleasure involves someone else’s hurt. Electra keeps her voice down, lest someone ma- liciously decide to spread rumors (cf. Soph. El. 641, love of gossip-mongering being the assumed pleasure, and see below for the link between gossip and phthonos). Some hounds maliciously get in the way of a hunt (Xen. Cyn. 3.10.5—possibly a unique example of this emotion being attributed to an animal). Some gossip maliciously about Socrates, leading to general bad- feeling against him, and his subsequent conviction (Pl. Ap. 18d2, 28a9). The jealous lover who feels envy when his beloved possesses something rejoices when he loses it (Pl. Phdr. 240a5). The comic playwright Alexis links epi-chairekakia (spite) to phthonos in how someone views their neighbors (fr. 51.1 Kock). The clearest link of all between phthonos, neighbors, and pleasure in their misfortunes, is given by Plato, who argues that one goes to see comic plays in order to enjoy the misfortunes of one’s friends (he initially says neighbors, and then changes this to friends), and that this is phthonos (Pl. Phlb. 48a8–50a9)." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
" A number of terms meaning rivalry also overlap with phthonos. The first to consider is eris (or the verb erizein), which we saw appear as Good Strife (friendly rivalry) and Bad Strife (begrudging and envy) in Hesiod’s Works and Days. The word is common from Homer right through the Archaic and Classical periods, and generally means either (i) strife in the sense of war, conflict, or angry argument; or (ii) non-contentious rivalry in the sense, for example, that one could not rival Odysseus in speaking (Il. 3.223), Aphrodite in beauty (Il. 9.289), or the men of the past in archery skill (Od. 8.223).
While rivalry always contains a latent potential for envy, jealousy, and begrudging, we should not assume that these connotations are present in the majority of instances of the word. However, there are a number of situations—and in particular mythical stories—in which these do appear to be present; while phthonos vocabulary is not normally seen in these, the scenarios are similar to those in which we find phthonos scripts, or the label phthonos, elsewhere. The suitors in the Odyssey, who are described as in strife (18.13; 20.267, where eris is paired with neikos), are all vying for a highly desired prize that only one of them can win, suggesting covetous envy as a likely accompanying emotion.
A similar scenario suggests covetous envy may likewise be part of the three goddesses’ eris to win the beauty contest and the golden apple (Eur. Hec. 644, Hel. 708, 1508, IA 183 twice, 1307). Eteocles’ and Polynices’ brotherly rivalry for Theban supremacy is regularly labeled eris (Aesch. Sept. 726, 935; Soph. OC 372, 422; Eur. Phoen. 81, 351, 798, 811b, 1277, 1495 twice), as oc- casionally is that between Atreus and Thyestes (Eur. Or. 13, 812, 1001; Pl. Plt. 268e10)—and cf. n. 10 on brotherly phthonos, to which can be added the zero-sum competition for a major prize. Achilles’ and Agamemnon’s quarrel over Briseis is also labeled eris (Hom. Il. 1.6, 1.8, 1.210, 1.277, 1.319, 2.376, 19.58, 19.64), as is Menelaus’s with Paris over Helen (Hom. Il. 3.100, 7.111; Aesch. Ag. 698; Eur. Hec. 644, 1160), both scenarios suggesting possessive/sexual jealousy.
The word is also used several times of Hermione’s quarrel with her ‘rival wife’ Andromache (Eur. Andr. 122, 467, 490, 573, 960—and see further pp. 151–53)." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"The compound epiphthonos/-ôs gives us another script. While it generally means ‘liable to phthonos’ or ‘inducing phthonos’ (i.e., invidious), a secondary meaning is odious or hateful. Jason is odious in saying he was driven by Eros (Eur. Med. 530); the Nurse says it is not hateful to save Phaidra’s life (Eur. Hipp. 497); Parthenopaios, a foreigner, did not make himself odious to his adoptive city (Eur. Supp. 893). The aristocratic Knights say that insulting the base is not odious (Ar. Eq. 1274). A quibbling and clever tongue is hateful (Eur. IA 333), as is pushing away one’s allies (Eur. Rhes. 334). Pausanias says maltreating a corpse is odious (Hdt. 184.108.40.206). The Athenians say they are worthy of their empire because of their past zeal, will, and ability, and did not acquire it by force but by invitation, and so they should not be hated (Thuc. 220.127.116.11). Perikles draws a parallel with misos (hatred), saying that those who try to rule others are hated (miseisthai), but it is worth being thought hateful (epiphthonon) for great ends, and that hatred (misos) does not last for long (Thuc. 18.104.22.168–5). Socrates says his conversation and words have become rather heavy and hateful, so that Athens desires to be free of them (Pl. Ap. 37d1–2). The Athenians hate (misousi) moneylenders, and so Nikoboulos is hateful (epiphthonos) (Dem. 37.52).
In two of these examples, phthonos is actually juxtaposed to, and hence linked with, misos (hatred). These are not isolated occurrences. Cyrus says he will be envied and hated for his treasures (Xen. Cyr. 22.214.171.124–4). When contestants at law choose a mutually acceptable arbiter, the loser envies the winner and hates the judge (Xen. Cyr. 126.96.36.199–7). Artaxerxes’ courtiers envy and hate any one of themselves who presumes himself superior (Xen. Cyr. 188.8.131.52). Isocrates’ opponent aims to arouse envy against him by talking about his wealth, and anger and hatred by talking about his legal practice (Isoc. 15.31). Orgê (anger), misos, and phthonos are appropriate responses to Meidias (Dem. 21.196). We might conclude from this that Greek phthonos contains hatred or hostility within its mixture of affects, or at least is often associated with it—and again this is not dissimilar to English envy." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"Anepiphthonos/-ôs, the contrary of epiphthonos, can imply that one is not arousing these feelings. However, it also frequently takes the meaning of ‘without blame/reproach/censure.’ Heracles tells his son to kill him without blame (Soph. Trach. 1031–33). Archidamus says the Spartans should take both Greeks and barbarians into their alliance, and since they are being undermined by the Athenians this is not censurable (Thuc. 184.108.40.206). The tyrant Hipparchos generally exercised power in such a way as not to invite others’ censure (Thuc. 220.127.116.11). The Athenians are not blameworthy for invading Sicily in support of their own security (Thuc. 18.104.22.168). Whatever renowned old men say is irreproachable (Pl. Soph. 243a4).
We can see that many instances of (an)epiphthonos imply censuring, and indeed phthonos is sometimes linked to the verb epitiman (censure). A challenger to a will manifestly censures (epitimôn . . . phainetai) the dead man for adopting and not dying childless, this being hateful (epiphthonon) and unjust because the censurer has children (Isae. 2.23). Isocrates will not give way to those who habitually censure and envy all speakers (Isoc 10.30). Those who cannot write well themselves will censure and envy (baskainein) Isocrates’ words, and begrudge (phthonêsousin) him saying them (Isoc. 15.62). Androkles (a defendant) says he has never begrudged or censured anyone paying Isocrates for rhetorical training (Dem. 35.40).
Phthonos is not just linked to censure through the verb epitiman, or by the compound (an)epiphthonos, however. Sometimes phthonos itself actually implies censure. This first becomes apparent with a curious phenomenon known as phthonos theôn. This involves the striking down by a god or gods unnamed of someone excessively fortunate, and is widely identified by the word phthonos throughout the fifth and into the fourth century. This is in some ways related to a ‘jealous of my position’ script (i.e., that the mortal should not share a high level of good fortune only allowed to a god), which is itself a re- flection of a ‘begrudging envy’ script in humans. We might psycholinguisti- cally explain it by postulating that the lucky person is envied by his (only very rarely her) fellow humans, who accordingly want his luck to change but cannot admit that to themselves. When his luck does change dramatically they validate their invidious pleasure by foisting it onto a god—essentially by this mechanism transmuting their own envy and Schadenfreude into indignation (or censure) and satisfaction-at-comeuppance.
The fact that phthonos could occasionally be seen as justified, when felt in this sense by a god, probably explains a further development toward the end of the fifth century, which is that phthonos occasionally starts to mean justified ‘moral censure’ even in mortals. For instance, Diodotos says that if someone gives the best advice, but is suspected of being influenced even slightly by pri- vate profit, then Athenians feel censure at his profit and refuse to take his advice (Thuc. 22.214.171.124). Hiero opines that the good tyrant can pass his life without fear, censure, or danger, and in happiness (Xen. Hier. 7.10.3). Lysias says that in former times the Athenians resented those misusing their patrimonies (Lys. 27.11). Demosthenes notes that a moderate citizen can offer advice with- out fear of censure (Dem. 18.321). Isocrates believes it is reasonable for those who behave moderately to resent worthless people who have aimed at more power than is proper for mortals (Isoc. 4.184). Apollodoros says he was wronged by Stephanos, so his taking revenge (i.e., through a political prosecution) is not liable to censure (Dem. 59.15). We find this idea of censure used metaphorically too, where ‘Euripides’ stirs the reins of phthonos (Ar. Ran. 827: ἀνελισσομένη φθονεροὺς κινοῦσα χαλινούς)—reins being used to guide the way something should go, implying that phthonos does too.
There are also a number of passages in the Attic oratorical corpus in which orators openly call on their audience to feel phthonos. If jurors knew Kallimachos as well as one speaker does, they would not feel grief at his loss, but re- sentment at what he has left (Isoc. 18.51).
We can note two things from these ‘phthonos-as-censure’ passages. First, they all relate to the abuse of political position or wealth, and this will be relevant when we consider Aristotle’s discussion of to nemesan. Second, they are all either written by Athenians or delivered in an Athenian court. This may be simply an accident of survival, however, or reflect the fact that the vast majority of Classical literature is Athenian. Stobaeus (a fifth-century ce anthologist) quotes a fragment from Plutarch’s (first-/second- century ce) treatise On Slander, in turn quoting Hippias of Elis (late fifth century bce):
Hippias says there are two types of resentment: the just type, when someone resents bad men who are honored, and the unjust type, when he envies the good. And the envious suffer double the distress of others; for not only are they aggrieved, as others are, at their own troubles, but also at other peoples’ good fortunes.
This passage distinguishes between two phthonos scripts, those I have termed ‘begrudging envy’ and ‘censure.’ If the attribution of this passage is accurate (and given the great distances in time between the sources it may not be), then this provides evidence that by the end of the fifth century phthonos could be considered as a moral emotion—censure—across Greece." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"We find frequent mention in Greek texts of situations where phthonos leads to destruction. Heracles asks how anyone could worship Hera who, envying the amount of extramarital sex Zeus has, destroys the innocent benefactors of Greece (Eur. HF 1309). Envy, in destroying the minds of many people, will kill both “him” and “me” (Eur. fr. 551.1–2 Nauck). Someone wishes for the destruction of all who have something, envying their goods (Agathon fr. 23.1 Snell). Mnesilochos stabs a wineskin out of phthonos that someone else has it, making the wine run out (Ar. Thesm. 757). Cambyses murders his brother Smerdis from envy of his physical prowess (Hdt. 126.96.36.199). Parties in civil strife destroy those not taking part, out of envy that they might survive (Thuc. 188.8.131.52–23). Odysseus destroys Palamedes, sensing a challenge to his reputation as wisest (Xen. Mem. 184.108.40.206). The son of Gobryas is murdered by a prince jealous of his hunting prowess (Xen. Cyr. 220.127.116.11–6). Socrates is destroyed by the slander and envy of the many, not the prosecution of one man (Pl. Ap. 28a9). The lover jealous of his beloved, and therefore wanting him to be less attractive to rival suitors, will be harmful to his beloved’s prop- erty, the state of his body, and most of all to the development of his soul (Pl. Phdr. 241c2). When there is neither wealth nor poverty in a community, phthonos will disappear (sc. because there will be no need for its leveling tendency—Pl. Leg. 679c1; cf. Ar. Eccl. 565). One of Isocrates’ friends points out to him that some people destroy others out of envy (Isoc. 15.142). That so many instances of phthonos lead to destruction again ties in with modern research on envy.
A particularly common way of damaging/destroying someone in Greek literature is to slander them, and phthonos is frequently directly linked to diabolê (slander: e.g., in Pind. Ol. 1.47; Pl. Ap. 18d2, 28a9, Leg. 731a3, 731a5, Epist. 3.316e1; Hdt. 18.104.22.168; Xen. Hell. 22.214.171.124; Isoc. 5.73, 12.21, 12.251, 15.30–31, 15.163, 15.258–59; Aeschin. 2.10). Of 200 instances of diabolê and cognates in Attic oratory, these occur most frequently in Isoc. 15 (twenty-two instances), Aeschin. 2 (fourteen instances), and Dem. 18 (nine instances), in all three speeches as part of sustained accusations of phthonos. We also find this connection in tragedy: for instance Phaidra’s spiteful slander against Hip- polytos, and Orestes’ jealous slandering of Neoptolemos, both having fatal effects.
Further evidence connecting phthonos with diabolê occurs at Arist. Rh. 1.1, where Aristotle says it is not right to lead the juror astray using orgê or phthonos or eleos (1354a24– 25: οὐ γὰρ δεῖ τὸν δικαστὴν διαστρέφειν εἰς ὀργὴν προάγοντας ἢ φθόνον ἢ ἔλεον), having previously talked about diabolê and eleos and orgê and other passions of the soul as not having anything to do with the facts of the case, but being an appeal to the juror (1354a16–18 ).
By juxtaposing these lists so closely, Aristotle seems to be suggest- ing that diabolê is how one ‘does phthonos.’ The idea that slandering someone is how one puts one’s phthonos into effect accords with the findings of anthropologists that “gossip, backbiting, and defamation” are natural action tendencies of envy. We saw above that gossip is linked with the malicious pleasure of phthonos by both Electra and Socrates (Soph. El. 641; Pl. Ap. 18d2, 28a9), and Hermione notes that female gossip fostered her destructive feeling is phthonos—toward Andromache (Eur. Andr. 930–53). McClure suggests that gossip is the female equivalent of male slander, operating in the oikos (the domain of women) while slander operates in the polis (the domain of men); these texts provide some evidence of that." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"‘Emulative envy’ (“I envy you”) is excluded from phthonos. 'Sexual jealousy’ is also a partial exception; it is a lexically complicated script in Greek, and is only occasionally identified by the label phthonos." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"There is one aspect of these scripts which overlaps with English envy, which is zêlô se (“I envy you”).
Hesiod says that at the end of the race of men, “zêlos will accompany all wretched men, evil-sounding, rejoicing in ills, hateful of face” (Op. 195–96). Zêlos here sounds much more like destructive phthonos. A third passage says that the nonworking person will feel zêlos for the working one as the latter grows richer (Op. 312–13), and here it is ambiguous as to whether emulative or invidious envy is meant.
Hesiod is not the only author who includes within zêlos scripts that would later be the province of phthonos; we find considerable support in other early Archaic texts. The verb zêloun occurs twice in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Kallidike says that if the disguised Demeter were to bring up her brother, her mother would give her [Demeter] such gifts that anyone would feel envy (zêlôsai) for her (Hymn. Hom. 2.166–68 ), repeated more or less word for word by the mother (2.221–23). A handful of cognates and compounds are also informative. Kalypso says the gods are cruel and zêlêmôn, and resent (agaasthe) a goddess sleeping with a mortal if she makes him her husband (Hom. Od. 5.118–20). The usual translation of zêlêmôn as jealous is incorrect, that it means something more like begrudging or censure: the gods do not have a problem with Kalypso sleeping with a mortal, but they think she goes too far in taking him as a husband
Two compounds of zêlos can also be found: Odysseus expected Alkinoös, as men are, to be duszêlos if he saw him with his daughter (Od. 7.307); and Hera feels zêlosunê at Leto’s giving birth to a perfect son (Hymn. Hom. 3.100). These words too mean something more painful, and potentially destructive, than emulative rivalry: the first seems similar to possessive jealousy, the second to begrudging envy. It seems then that zêlos in the early Archaic could have some of the invidious, destructive connotations more normally associated with phthonos, but (as in Hes. Op. 23) could also be a gentler, emulative emotion.
As the Archaic period progresses, we find that the destructive aspects of zêlos disappear, and the emulative come to prevail. In Archilochos there re- mains some ambiguity: he says he does not feel zêlos for Gyges’ gold (fr. 19.2 West), and tells a conquering queen that many will feel zêlos for her glory (fr. 23.21 West). He may be saying he does not want Gyges’ gold, or making a stronger ou phthonô-type comment; similarly people may merely admire the queen, but could envy her glory. However, a century later Theognis could say without ambiguity that someone with intelligence and sense would be ad- mired (zêlôtos; 455), and this is clearly emulative. Neither of the Archilochos fragments is obviously destructive, and both they and the Theognis fragment could be paraphrased by English “I envy you,” which is at best a weak form of envy. After the Archaic period we only see the five scripts outlined above.
The links and differences between these zêlos scripts and phthonos are most notable when the two words are juxtaposed. Clytemnestra incites Agamemnon by saying that the unenvied person is also not admired (Aesch. Ag. 939). Oedipus laments that the good things he has (wealth, power, skill surpassing skill) make Kreon feel so much (polu-) zêlos that it turns to phthonos (Soph. OT 381–82). Pelops was so admired (zêlos) by men that he invited retribution (phthonos) from the gods and ill-willed murderousness from his citizens (Eur. Or. 973–74). Perikles says that those who wish to do as Athens has will emulate her, but if they do not succeed in gaining overseas possessions they will envy her (Thuc. 126.96.36.199–3). Socrates says that when Athens did well, it gained first admiration, but then envy (Pl. Menex. 242a4). The Athenian says when there is neither wealth nor poverty in a city, there will be neither hubris (wanton violence with the intention to insult and shame for the aggressor’s pleasure) nor injustice, nor will emulation nor envy occur (Pl. Leg. 679c1–2). And Demosthenes says that funeral orations should inspire emulation for the courage of the dead, not envy for their honors (Dem. 20.141). While at the border, then, phthonos and zêlos might shade into each other, they are clearly (at least after the early Archaic) distinguished in both their related affects and their action tendencies. Sometimes one is the evil twin of the other, sometimes one is caused by a superfluity of the other—and juxtaposition highlights these distinctions.
One final compound of zêlos that appears from the fourth century is zêlotupia. This is regularly mistranslated as (sexual) jealousy, a meaning it does not in fact acquire until after the Classical period. It means either ‘posses- sive jealousy’ or ‘covetous envy,’ normally in a sexual scenario and if not then at least as a sexual metaphor. However, it does not mean ‘sexual jealousy’ in the sense of feeling an exclusive affectionate bond with a unique individual, who once returned that exclusive affection.
In the early Archaic period, zêlos (including cognates) includes some scripts that later appear under phthonos. However, by the end of the Archaic period it is entirely an emulative, rather than invidious, emotion. A number of terms in the Archaic period (megairein, agaasthai, kotos, nemesis) cover similar ground to phthonos’s ‘begrudging refusal’ and ‘censure’ scripts. Eris covers similar ground to the ‘rivalry’ script in both Archaic and Classical periods, and several other terms (principally philon(e)ikia and philotimia) can also refer to invidious rivalry. Phthonos can also be implied by a number of other hostile, malicious terms, such as duskolia, dusmeneia, and baskania. Phthonos is a highly destructive emotion, whose principal action tendency is to destroy or damage either the envied object or the rival. We see this quite frequently done through slander or gossip." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"Several terms can mean ‘begrudging.’ In Homer megairein is as common, and agaasthai significantly more common, than phthonein. Both verbs have roots implying that someone is getting too big for themselves, and generally have similar meanings. The principal script for megairein is (not) begrudging someone doing something they wish to do which is mildly detrimental to yourself; the script referred to under phthonos as ‘begrudging refusal.’ For example, Agamemnon does not begrudge the Trojans burning their dead (Il. 7.408 ), nor Odysseus the Phaiacians their choice of contest to test him in (Od. 8.206). Athena asks Poseidon not to begrudge what she prays for (Od. 3.55), and Hera will not begrudge Zeus destroying one of her favored cities (Il. 4.54).
Thus Prometheus does not begrudge telling Io her fate (Aesch. PV 626), and Apollo in an oracle does not begrudge the Spartans Tegea, though he refuses them the rest of Arcadia (Hdt. 188.8.131.52). A second script involves a god begrudging something to a mortal because of a prior lack of respect by that mortal: thus Apollo begrudges Teucer hitting his target because he did not sacrifice to him first (Il. 23.865)—this is more anger than begrudging,
Both these scripts can be seen with agaasthai, another Homeric term that dies out after the early Archaic period. ‘Begrudging refusal’ is common: the bronze-greaved Achaians will not begrudge meeting Hector’s challenge (Il. 7.41); Apollo grudges Menelaus the armor of a Trojan he has slain (Il. 17.71); Antinoös may begrudge Telemachos saying he wants to be king of Ithaca (Od. 1.389); and Poseidon begrudges giving safe passage to all men (Od. 8.565, 13.173). Close to this script, and also similar to one of phthonos’s, is a censuring resentment (e.g., Diomedes says he will only advise the other kings if they do not begrudge a younger man’s advice (Il. 14.111)).
The gods sometimes feel this toward those who have transgressed, and here it is very close to anger: Ithacans should fear the anger of the gods at how the suitors are behaving in their midst (Od. 2.67), and the suitors are eventually killed because of the gods’ anger (Od. 23.64); Kalypso complains the gods are resentful (Od. 5.118: zêlêmones; 5.119: agaasthe; 5.129: agasthe) at her keeping a mortal man as a husband. Occasionally the gods can merely resent humans being too happy, such as Odysseus coming home and sitting with his friends (Od. 4.181), or having a happy life with Penelope (Od. 23.211). Finally, in Hesiod we find a third phthonos-like script for agaasthai, when Ouranos has ‘begrudging envy’ (agômenos) for his sons’ looks, size, and strength (Theog. 619).
A related word that appears occasionally in Classical literature is agê: the Chorus in Agamemnon talk about divine censure (Aesch. Ag. 131: aga theothen); and it appears as a human emotion as well, where Kleomenes feels both phthonos and agê for Demaretos, and so slanders him (Hdt. 184.108.40.206). Here agê appears to be almost a synonym for phthonos, highlighting the connection between the two emotions.
A third term meaning ‘grudge’ is kotos (or the verb kotein), and this is generally in the sense ‘to hold a grudge’ or be angry. Kotos is mostly hierarchical, normally being held by gods against mortals (occasionally other gods), or by kings. Thus Zeus is angry with the Trojans for killing Menelaus (Il. 4.11), but the gods do not hold a grudge against Agamemnon (Il. 14.143). Athena kills men in her anger (Il. 5.747), and holds a grudge against Apollo and Admetos (Il. 23.391), as Apollo does against her and Diomedes (Il. 23.383). Agamemnon does not care if Achilles holds a grudge (Il. 1.181), Menelaus and Alexandros shake their spears at each other in their rage (Il. 3.345), and Odysseus is angry at the Cyclops for killing his men (Od. 9.501). Melantho chases Odysseus out of the house because of a grudge against him (Od. 19.71), Penelope angrily chastises Melantho in turn (Od. 19.83), and Odysseus and Telemachus kill her brother Malantheus in anger (Od. 22.477). A second, related script is the gods’ anger at a mortal who transgresses against them (similar to the second megairein script). Thus some god may hold a grudge against the Trojans for missing a sacrifice (Il. 5.177), Athena kills heroes who give her reason for anger (Od. 1.101), Zeus is angry at men who are unjust in assembly (Il. 16.386), and Hera and Athena hold a grudge against the Trojans (presumably because Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite — Il. 8.429; 18.367).
This term does not die out as early as the previous two; however, it only appears in the Classical period in tragedy, or in Archaizing contexts (i.e., gods and heroes), as when Zeus is repeatedly said to be angry when suppliants are betrayed (Aesch. Supp. 347, 385, 427, 478, 616); Apollo holds a grudge at Cassandra (Aesch. Ag. 1261); and the Furies’ anger at Orestes is frequently referred to with this word (Aesch. Cho. 924, 1054, Eum. 220, 426, 501, 801, 840, 873, 889).
A handful of other instances show different scripts which overlap with phthonos: Hesiod’s “potter grudges potter” juxtaposes koteei with phthoneei in adjacent lines (Op. 25–26), clearly used in the same envious rivalrous sense; Aeschylus similarly exhibits envious rivalry of Euripides (Ar. Ran. 844); and Clytemnestra’s grudge at Cassandra that will lead the former to kill the latter (Aesch. Ag. 1261) clearly has implications of jealousy." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"Homer’s comment that the Achaians feel anger and resentment (Il. 2.223: koteonto nemessêthen) at Thersites brings us to another term: nemesis (and the verb nemesan). This word is very common in Homer, where it has several scripts, the first being a hostile reaction to something that can be as strong as anger or merely a milder resentment. Thus Achilles is resentful by nature (Il. 11.649), Patroclus tells Achilles not to resent him for bringing bad news (Il. 16.22), Hera speaks to the gods in anger (Il. 15.103), Ajax and Idomeneus would be angry with anyone they found quarrelling as they are doing now (Il. 23.494), and Mentor is angry with the Ithacans for not stopping the suitors (Od. 2.239).
In many cases it is not clear exactly what point on the (English) anger-resentment spectrum is meant, but even when it is anger it is not as strong as rage (cholos, mênis, thumos in Greek). Nemesis is often felt by the gods against humans who have offended them, and then it is clearly equivalent to English anger, and similar to the contexts we have seen with megairein, agaasthai, and kotein. Apollo is angry at a Greek advance that kills a number of Trojans (Il. 4.507); Hera is angry at Hector’s intention to take the Greeks’ prizes (Il. 8.198 ); Poseidon is angry at Greeks hanging back from battle (Il. 13.119); Achilles should beware the gods’ anger at his excessive dishonoring of Hector’s corpse (Il. 24.53); Ilos will not give Odysseus poison for his arrow tips for fear of the gods’ anger (Od. 1.263); and Zeus is very angry at evil deeds (Od. 14.284).
A second nemesis script is related, and that is censure or blame (a meaning that phthonos can take in the Classical period). Odysseus should not blame the Achaians for chafing at being stuck by the ships (Il. 2.296); it is not blameworthy for the Greeks and Trojans to suffer over such a woman as Helen (Il. 3.156); Ares tells the other gods not to blame him for avenging the death of his son (Il. 15.115); no one should censure Penelope for getting married before finishing Laertes’ funeral shroud, as she will not do so (Od. 2.101, 19.146, 24.136); men will censure Telemachus if he sends Penelope back to her father’s house (Od. 2.136); Menelaus is censorious of over- or under-zealous hosts (Od. 15.69); Odysseus does not censure Penelope for weeping for her husband (Od. 19.264). Two instances of censure relate more strongly to phthonos: Homer couples nemesis with phthonos in mentioning Penelope’s ‘begrudging refusal’ at the bard singing the songs he wishes (Od. 1.346/350); and the suitors’ anger at Odysseus’s suggestion that he too try his bow (Od. 21.285), with Homer’s comment that they fear he might succeed where they did not, suggests envy/jealousy.
Hesiod first deifies Nemesis (as he does a number of emotions), referring to her as a daughter of Night (Theog. 223), and saying that only bad things are left for men, while Aidos and Nemesis—here meaning something like Sense of Shame, and Sense of Righteousness—go to the gods (Op. 200).
Theognis comments that the bad man does not understand Justice as he does not fear Nemesis (Theog. 280)—meaning something like Retribution, an obvious extension from the gods’ anger at transgressing men (a meaning also given to the uncapitalized instances at Theog. 660 and 1182). Classical occurrences fre- quently relate to retribution from, or something being offensive to, the gods. They also sometimes relate to the goddess Nemesis (whose cult, dating from approximately the late Archaic, was based at Rhamnous in Attica), or her festival. The meanings of anger or censure by mortals still exist, but appear fewer than fifteen times in the Classical period outside of Aristotle.
A number of scripts under all four of the above terms (megairein, agaasthai, kotein, nemesis) show a god angry at a mortal for an infraction: either a slight against themselves, or a transgression against appropriate behavior toward gods or men. These divine anger scripts are usually included under the label phthonos theôn. However, this is a mislabeling, since none of these scripts are related to the many phthonos scripts discussed above (let alone labeled phthonos). The only exceptions are two in- stances of agaasthai (Od. 4.181, 23.211; cf. aga at Aesch. Ag. 131) in which the gods resent too much happiness—similar to the many instances of phthonos as divine censure that appear in fifth-century literature (see n. 31). Although the four Homeric terms largely die out, divine anger can still be seen in Classical tragedy (e.g., Athena in Ajax, Aphrodite in Hippolytus, Dionysus in Bacchae, Athena in Trojan Women)." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
Philo-Nikia [love of Victory] and Philo-Timia [love of Distinction].
"Two rivalrous terms from the Classical period are philon(e)ikia (love of victory/strife, eager rivalry, contentiousness) and philotimia (love of distinction, ambitious rivalry). Thucydides (220.127.116.11 and 12) pairs both words with greed (pleonexia) in describing civil strife between two parties in a city (cf. 18.104.22.168)— not completely dissimilar to brothers’ fights to control a city that we saw with eris, and we can note that Aristotle (Pol. 5.4, 1304a36) states that envy of those in power can be a cause of civil strife. Hermocrates says he will not allow philonikia to lead him to harm himself, just so he can also harm his opponents (Thuc. 22.214.171.124) — a hallmark of phthonos (and English envy). Cyrus tried to inspire philonikia for fine and good things (i.e., emulation) by holding games, but this aroused eris and philonikia (which, when paired, must mean envy) in his nobles.
Isocrates (10.48 ) uses philonikia to describe the quarrel between the three goddesses, frequently described elsewhere as eris (with phthonos overtones). Occasionally philotimia represents envy/jealousy. For example, Dionysus argues it was Heracles’ jealousy (philotimoumenos) that Dionysus might copy him in bringing someone back from Hades that led him to exaggerate the dangers of attempting it (Ar. Ran. 281). Isocrates, repeating his own topos that others envy him, once uses philotimôs to mean phthonerôs (Isoc. 15.244). Phthonos is also sometimes explicitly linked with these terms. Socrates, commenting on Hesiod’s “potter envies potter” passage, says that things most similar are filled with envy and rivalry (philonikia) and hatred, while those not alike feel friendship (Pl. Lys. 215d3).
Disputants sometimes believe the other criticizes his argument out of grudging and contentiousness (philonikia), rather than in a desire to find the right solution (Pl. Grg. 457d4). The person seeking to satisfy the spirited part of his soul will become envious due to his ambitious rivalry (philotimia), violent due to his contentiousness (philonikia), and angry due to his bad temper (Pl. Resp. 586c9).
An ambitious (philotimos) soul breeds envy, which is hard to live with, especially for the person feeling it (Pl. Leg. 870c5). Cyrus saw that many soldiers, being rivalrous in competition (philotimos), felt envy for each other (Xen. Cyr. 126.96.36.199). The Athenians’ and Spartans’ intense desire to defeat each other (philonikia) because of mutual envy allowed Philip to take control of Greece (Isoc. 12.158 ). Agamemnon’s soldiers were filled with anger, rage, envy, and ambitious rivalry (philotimia; Isoc. 12.81). Demosthenes says a law is shameful and vicious, and similar to envy and contention (philonikia; Dem. 20.157). Athenians allowed legal appeals, knowing that there would be occasional unjust results due to contention (philonikia), envy, hatred, and other reasons (Dem. 57.6)." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"A number of words denote hostility that can sometimes be invidious and imply phthonos, in particular duskolia (bad-temperedness, discontentedness) and dusmeneia (ill-will, hostility). Frequently phthonos occurs in the same passage. For example, Isocrates says that many will sing songs and watch tragedies of the great men of the Trojan War period, but are hostile (duskolos) to living men who benefit them and cannot bear for them to be honored out of envy (9.6). Elsewhere, he says that some desire to be honored (philotimos) like him, and are duskolos and zêlotupos (15.245) toward those like Isocrates who work hard for what they themselves want to get easily. Some of his critics feel phthonos and dusmeneia (15.142). Reasonable people might feel zêlos for him, but those less able will be duskolos (15.149). Of Philip, he says that seizing Greek cities will bring phthonos and dusmeneia as well as much abuse (5.68 ).
Most envy the Spartans and are dusmenês toward them (12.241). And parties in civil strife are dusmenês toward each other (6.67), where civil strife arouse philonikia, philotimia, eris, and phthonos. Turning to other au- thors, Medea says that stupid people feel hostile envy (phthonos dusmenês) for those who are intelligent (Eur. Med. 297). The Chorus in Andromache says women are exceedingly dusmenês to rival wives (Andr. 182), and later talks of hostile (dusmenês) eris in the house (467). The Old Woman tells Mnesilochos he is phthoneros and dusmenês for puncturing her wineskin and spilling out all the wine (Ar. Thesm. 757). Plato says that the lover is duskolos and phthoneros of his beloved (Phdr. 241c2), that phthonos and dusmeneia are aroused against sophists (Prt. 316d3), and that those not wishing to abide by a judgment are phthoneros and duskolos (Leg. 844d1). Philosophers avoid envy and dusmeneia by not competing with people (Resp. 500c2). And in discussion of the spirited part of the soul, he says that philotimia leads to phthonos, philonikia leads to violence, and duskolia leads to rage (Resp. 586c9)." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"One final overlapping emotion is baskania, which refers to putting the Evil Eye on someone; it frequently implies malice and hence is linked to envy.55 According to Isocrates, those who cannot write well themselves will censure and envy (baskainein) his words, and grudge (phthonêsousin) him saying them (15.62; cf. 5.11, which raises similar themes). In Knights, Demosthenes calls Paphlagon a baskanos (103)—implying he envies the more established slaves. In Wealth, Chremylos accuses Poverty of baskania (571), after the latter accuses politicians of enriching themselves at others’ expense.
Demosthenes says that criticism of the general Diopeithes’ pillaging of the Chersonese is malicious (baskainein: 8.19, 8.22), perhaps hinting at accusations that Diopei- thes was doing so to enrich himself, rather than feed his army. And he labels Aeschines a baskanos no fewer than eight times in On the Crown (18.119, 18.132, 18.139, 18.189, 18.242, 18.252, 18.307, 18.317), implying that Aeschines envies his political eminence, an eminence Aeschines himself had long since lost." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"Plato’s analysis of comedy in terms of phthonos has certain underlying tendencies in common with one of the major modern models for understanding Old Comedy, the Bakhtinian theory of “carnival.” Goldhill and others argue that the notions of “inversion,” “transgression,” or “reversal,” where the usual rules of society (e.g., respect for those in authority, laws against certain forms of abuse) are abandoned or turned on their head for some defined duration, match well the ribald, almost anarchic aspects of Diony- siac worship which are in some degree reflected in Old Comedy’s (probable) origins—songs performed at the kômos, or revel—and its license. Carnival ‘inversion’ is often not truly anarchic, but rather follows a different set of rules that would be considered unacceptable outside of the carnival context, generally involving a ‘reversal of norms’. One aspect of Old Comedy, which the carnival approach is especially helpful for understanding, is satires, or lampoons, in which well-known people (public figures, frequently politicians) are represented on stage in such a way as to make them appear ridiculous. This ridicule might arise from the representation itself (e.g., a physical caricature, or character satire) or, and this is common for lampoons involving those against whom society feels some animus (e.g., someone hated or feared), from the character suffering some misfortune. This bears more than a passing resemblance to Plato’s comic malice.
As well as those actually represented on stage, Old Comedy often lampoons contemporaries by name: a process known as onomasti kômôidein; the individuals involved (who must have been well known for the joke to work) are known as kômôidoumenoi. Sommerstein has shown that over 50 percent of known kômôidoumenoi were politically active. He further notes that politicians were normally named in a derogatory context. It is not just named politicians who are criticized in Old Comedy; several passages criticize them as a class/ The abuse and ridicule at these festivals of well-known individuals and certain privileged classes of citizens (such as politicians) can be seen as part of the ‘carnival’ license. When Athenians went to the comic theater, they enjoyed seeing abuse heaped on such people, and Aristophanes and his contemporaries provided what they wanted.
But why were politicians so singled out for abuse? Athens’s strong democracy may have been the cause. Ideologically, all Athenian citizens were equal; however, as Ober and Strauss argue, the wealthy remained “functionally more powerful” than the poor, whether in seeking to advance themselves politically, or in the law court where their education would help them speak, or their money buy a good speechwriter. It is possible too that the ‘new,’ demagogic politicians may have attracted even more animus than their aristocratic forebears.
One important strand of this comic promotion of questioning served to hold the lifestyle and practices of politicians up to public scrutiny, reminding them that they were permanently on display, and militating against egregious misbehavior that could ultimately lead to dangerous levels of mistrust and hostility building up between the political class and the rest, thus risking the stability of the democratic system." [Sanders, Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens]
"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.…" [Exodus, 20:5]
"An indirect but certain proof of the fact that men feel themselves unhappy, and consequently are so, is also abundantly afforded by the fearful envy which dwells in us all, and which in all relations of life, on the occasion of any superiority, of whatever kind it may be, is excited, and cannot contain its poison. Because they feel themselves unhappy, men cannot endure the sight of one whom they imagine happy." [On the Vanity and Suffering of Life]