Character is destiny

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In aphorisms, character is destiny refers to []


In c.495BC, Heraclitus said the following:

“Ethos anthropoi daimon.”
Heraclitus (c.495BC), Fragment #45

This translates as the “ethos of a person is their daimon” or "ones ethos guides one daimons", or something to this effect. The Greek term “daimon” (or daemon)[1][2], however, historically, is a rather difficult to interpret term, being a mixture of good, evil, and guiding forces; the roots of which trace back to the “Maat” idea if Egyptian religio-cosmology.

English translations, in the last two centuries, whatever the case have tended to render this Heraclitean phrase as “character is destiny”, if the daimon was good, or “character is fate”, if the bad daimon sense.[3]

The phrase “character is destiny”, in the 19th century, was repeated in the works of Novalis, Carlyle, Emerson, Hawthorn, and Emerson.[4]


  1. Goethe’s daimonic – Hmolpedia 2020.
  2. Daemon (classical mythology) – Wikipedia.
  3. Geldard, Richard G. (2000). Remembering Heraclitus (fragment #54, pg. 85). Publisher.
  4. Author. (1877). “Article” (pg. 147), Souvenir Nineteenth Annual Congress of the Association for the Advancement of Women Invited & Entertained by the Ladies' Literary Club. Publisher.

Further reading

  • Bartsch, Christine. (c.2019). “Which Greek Philosopher Said ‘Character is Destinity?” (Ѻ), Seattle Pi.

External links

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