This project is supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Invention, CNCS-UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-2008. Contract number 215/01.10.2015.


We explore the genesis and evolution of the interconnected concepts of corruption (diaphthora), corruptibility, incorruptibility, and bribery in ancient Greek culture. For this purpose we research both literary sources which refer to corruption more implicitly, such as Homer and Greek Tragedies, and the philosophical and political discourses openly interested in corruption, such as Plato, Aristotle, or Lysias. Through this interdisciplinary approach we aim to reveal the secondary nature of the moral meaning of corruption in Ancient Greek culture, and the more prevalent, stronger interest in the ontology of corruption. As physical decay, corruption alters the essence of things and deviates the sound course of nature; bribery (dorodokia), in a similar way, is a corrupted gift (doron), which brings about death. This contextualization of the discourse on corruption in Ancient Greece will open new fields of inquiry for the history of corruption, beyond the accepted political and economic views of corruption today.

Expected results:

Through our careful reading and analysis of Homer, the Greek Tragedies, and Aristotle, we expect to determine the large number of ways in which corruption had been defined before it turned into its narrower understanding, that of political corruption.

Progress reports available in .doc format in Romanian here: October 2015 – July 2017

Progress reports available in .doc format in English here: October 2015 – February 2017

Database files:

Relevant Vocabulary – available in .doc format here

Phthora – available in .doc format here

Tragic and epic – available in .doc format here

Integrity in Hesiod and the Presocratics – available in .doc format here