The other day, my colleague was discussing her feelings for her ex-classmate and how she wanted time to figure things out.
She felt in a complete mess because she wasn’t sure how he felt. Was it just infatuation for him, or did he see a future together?
That’s was when we began discussing how love can be confusing all the time. We all try to boil it down to a simple phrase, “I Love You,” but there’s so much more depth to it.
As beautiful as it might seem, in theory, love is a lot as easy as ABC in the real world.
The Ancient Greeks tried to distinguish one love from the other and didn’t try to stay limited to the definition of romantic love. From Plato to Aristotle, they all preached about different types of love, and each has its own season and virtues.
What are the 8 Greek types of love?
No matter how much we try to simplify it, there are different types of love we must know about. This was when Ancient Greeks came to help with the vocabulary of love.
-Eros (Romantic love)
Eros is named after the Greek God of love and fertility. As one of the Greek types of love, Eros love meaning is based on infatuation and physical pleasure. It was considered an irrational and dangerous love in Greek as it involved a loss of control.
This concept of ancient Greek philosophy is based on eroticism, passion, and sensuality, majorly dependent on physical beauty.
-Philia (Affectionate love)
As Aristotle puts it, Philia is one of the Greek types of love often considered “dispassionate virtuous love.” He recommended that one must look beyond eros and base relationships and marriage on philia.
The Greeks considered this love type in higher regard than Eros, as this was the love between equals.
Philia is a love between friends who have been through tough times. Physical attraction is not an attribute of this type of love, according to Plato.
-Storge (familiar love)
In definition, Storge love is one of the Greek types of love and has a close resemblance to Philia. However, this a natural form of affection that parents have for their children and vice versa. It is based on dependency, protectiveness, and familiarity.
In fact, a sense of patriotism is also a form of storge love in Greek.
Storge is also what we share with our closest friends, pets, alongside our family. As one of the Greek words of love, this familial love roots from compassion and kindness for a fundamental relational foundation.
Storge is one of the Greek forms of love with an intense emotional investment.
-Ludus (Playful love)
According to the Greek definition of love, Ludus love is a playful form of love between lovers that keeps the childlike innocence in the relationship alive.
As one of the Greek words for love, Ludus is what one feels in the initial stages of the relationship between young lovers, like skipping heartbeats, teasing, feelings of euphoria, fluttering gazes, etc.
This is the love that you might feel for your crush. It can often be confused with Eros, but it has more familiarity with philia.
-Mania (Obsessive love)
Mania is another Greek form of love for obsession. When love causes imbalances of chemicals, it is called mania.
Mania, as one of the types of love, is characterized by stalking, co-dependency, violence, envy, etc.
However, this ancient Greek form of love stems from the deep longing for love and the need for a partner. Mania is also a result of poor self-esteem.
In this love type, an individual requires constant reassurances and experiences heights of emotions like joy or sorrow.
-Pragma (Enduring love)
One of the Greek types of love, Pragma, is based on commitment and loyalty. This is the form of love that Greek distinguish as the ones found in a marriage between partners who have spent years facing all the ups and downs of life together.
Pragma love happens with a lot of energy, time, patience, and tolerance in the relationship. The pragma can also be termed as long-lasting love.
As Aristotle states, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”
Philautia is the self of love. It is a type of love named after ancient greeks that means having a healthy “self-compassion” or love towards the self. This is one of the important Greek types of love and draws its resemblance to the Buddhist philosophy of self-compassion. Self-love has its roots in the understanding of one’s worth and strength.
However, self-love can be healthy as well as unhealthy.
According to ancient Greeks, hubris or unhealthy self-love is the feeling of an inflated self. It is a step towards destruction. In hubris, people think of themselves above God or above the greater good.
-Agape (Selfless love)
In ancient Greece, one of the types of love is Agape love, meaning unconditional love. It is a sentimental outpour of love that surpasses our own self and has an element of compassion.
This feeling of empathy and compassion is not just for family but extends to society as well. This Greek form of love looks beyond someone’s shortcomings and flaws.
Learn more about Agape here:
Why do we need the vocabulary of ancient Greek types of love?
Having a strong understanding of the ancient Greek 8 types of love gives us a better sense of what love really is. It also provides us to recognize our own feelings in the practical world.
Therefore, with these kinds of love, each depicting our state of heart, we have a better knowledge of ourselves.