extravagance in Roman antiquity

Tryphé (τρυφή), variously translated as softness, voluptuousness, magnificence and extravagance, is a concept that drew attention (and severe criticism) in Greek and Roman antiquity.


  • ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἔστι τούτῳ λοιπὸν οὐκ οἰκία, οὐ συνοικία, οὐ συνοικία, οὐ χωρίον, οὐκ οἰκέται, οὐ δάνεισμα, οὐκ ἄλλ᾽ οὐδὲν ἀφ᾽ ὧν ἄνθρωποι μὴ κακοῦργοι ζῶσιν. ἀλλὰ τούτῳ ἀντὶ τῶν πατρῴων περίεστι βδελυρία, συκοφαντία, θράσος, τρυφή, δειλία, ἀναίδεια, τὸ μὴ ἐπίστασθαι ἐρυθριᾶν ἐπὶ τοῖς αἰσχροῖς: ἐξ ὧν ἂν ὁ κάκιστος καὶ ἀλυσιτελέστατος πολίτης γένοιτο.
    • Timarchus ... has nothing left, not a house, not an apartment, not a piece of ground, no slaves, no money at interest, nor anything else from which honest men get a living. On the contrary, in place of his patrimony, the resources he has left are lewdness, calumny, impudence, wantonness, cowardice, effrontery, a face that knows not the blush of shame—all that would produce the lowest and most unprofitable citizen.
      • Aeschines, describing Timarchus' squandering of his inheritance, as translated by Charles Darwin Adams (1919), 1.103

  • ὁ δ᾽ ἐλλείπων πρὸς ἃ οἱ πολλοὶ καὶ ἀντιτείνουσι καὶ δύνανται, οὗτος μαλακὸς καὶ τρυφῶν: καὶ γὰρ ἡ τρυφὴ μαλακία τίς ἐστιν
    • One who is deficient in resistance to pains that most men withstand with success, is soft or luxurious (for Luxury is a kind of Softness).

  • ἀκολασίας δ᾽ ἐστὶ τὸ αἱρεῖσθαι τὰς ἀπολαύσεις τῶν ἡδονῶν τῶν βλαβερῶν καὶ αἰσχρῶν, καὶ τὸ ὑπολαμβάνειν εὐδαιμονεῖν μάλιστα τοὺς ἐν ταῖς τοιαύταις ἡδοναῖς ὄντας, καὶ τὸ φιλογέλοιον εἶναι καὶ τὸ φιλοσκώπτην καὶ φιλευτράπελον, καὶ τὸ ῥᾳδιουργὸν εἶναι ἐν τοῖς λόγοις καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις. ἀκολουθεῖ δὲ τῇ ἀκολασίᾳ ἀταξία, ἀναίδεια, ἀκοσμία, τρυφή, ῥᾳθυμία, ἀμέλεια, ὀλιγωρία, ἔκλυσις.
    • To profligacy belongs choosing harmful and base pleasures and enjoyments, and thinking that the happiest people are those who pass their lives in pleasures of that kind, and being fond of laughter and mockery and jokes and levity in words and deeds. Profligacy is accompanied by disorder, shamelessness, irregularity, luxury, slackness, carelessness, negligence, remissness.

  • Ἐγένοντο δὲ καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐν τῷ λαῷ ... ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τρυφήν, σπίλοι καὶ μῶμοι ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν
    • There were also false prophets among the people. ... Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures.
      • 2 Peter 2:13 NIV

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:

AltruismAsceticismBeneficenceBenevolenceBraveryCarefulnessCharityCheerfulnessCleanlinessCommon senseCompassionConstancyCourageDignityDiligenceDiscretionEarnestnessFaithFidelityForethoughtForgivenessFriendshipFrugalityGentlenessGoodnessGraceGratitudeHolinessHonestyHonorHopeHospitalityHumanityHumilityIntegrityIntelligenceJusticeKindnessLoveLoyaltyMercyModerationModestyOptimismPatiencePhilanthropyPietyPrudencePunctualityPovertyPuritySelf-controlSimplicitySinceritySobrietySympathyTemperanceTolerance

AggressionAngerApathyArroganceBigotryContemptCowardiceCrueltyDishonestyDrunkennessEgotismEnvyEvil speakingGluttonyGreedHatredHypocrisyIdlenessIgnoranceImpatienceImpenitenceIngratitudeInhumanityIntemperanceJealousyLazinessLustMaliceNeglectObstinacyPhilistinismPrejudicePretensionPrideRecklessnessSelf-righteousnessSelfishnessSuperficialityTryphéUnkindnessUsuryVanityWorldliness