Gates of Fire


Steven Pressfield

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Andreia is “manly valor,” the highest Spartan virtue which all warriors seek to embody on the battlefield. Women, too, can display andreia; such characters as Arete are considered paragons of this virtue because of their willingness to send their beloved husbands, fathers, and brothers into battle for the sake of the higher good.

Andreia Quotes in Gates of Fire

The Gates of Fire quotes below are all either spoken by Andreia or refer to Andreia. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of Gates of Fire published in 1998.
Chapter 9 Quotes

We talked for hours in secret on the pursuit of esoterike harmonia, that state of self-composure which the exercises of the phobologia are designed to produce. As a string of the kithera vibrates purely, emitting only that note of the musical scale which is its alone, so must the individual warrior shed all which is superfluous in his spirit, until he himself vibrates at that sole pitch which his individual daimon dictates. The achievement of this ideal, in Lakedaemon, carries beyond courage on the battlefield; it is considered the supreme embodiment of virtue, andreia, of a citizen and a man.

Related Characters: Xeones (speaker), Alexandros, Dienekes
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“Mankind as it is constituted,” Polynikes said, “is a boil and a canker […] Fortunately God in his mercy has provided a counterpoise to our species’ innate depravity. That gift, my young friend, is war.

War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worthy of honor before the gods. Do not despise war, my young friend, nor delude yourself that mercy and compassion are virtues superior to andreia, to manly valor.”

Related Characters: Polynikes (speaker), Alexandros
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“Now consider, friends, that which we call women’s courage.

What could be more contrary to female nature, to motherhood, than to stand unmoved and unmoving as her sons march off to death? Must not every sinew of the mother’s flesh call out in agony and affront at such an outrage? Must not her heart seek to cry in its passion, ‘No! Not my son! Spare him!’ That women, from some source unknown to use, summon the will to conquer this their own deepest nature is, I believe, the reason we stand in awe of our mothers and sisters and wives. This, I believe, Dienekes, is the essence of women’s courage and why it, as you suggested, is superior to men’s.”

Related Characters: Ariston (speaker), Dienekes
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
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Andreia Term Timeline in Gates of Fire

The timeline below shows where the term Andreia appears in Gates of Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 12
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...and therefore Alexandros shouldn’t despise it or suppose that mercy and compassion are superior to andreia (manly valor). (full context)
Chapter 13
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Finally, Paraleia concludes the interrogation by asking Xeo to evaluate her son’s andreia. Xeo points out that Alexandros was the only Spartan boy to dare follow the army,... (full context)
Chapter 23
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Achilles, Dienekes says, was mostly invulnerable. Therefore, he cannot be said to have possessed true andreia. Polynikes, too, though the bravest of the Spartans, fights out of “greed for glory,” which... (full context)