The Oslo Happiness Project (completed)

What is it for a human life to be going well and be happy? What is the value of happiness, and what is the relation between the value of happiness and other types of value, especially moral value?

Many different people from the Antique. Photo.

Rødfigur vase, detalj, ca 400, kilde: KUB.

About the project

The Oslo Happiness Project (OHP) is a research project which aims to investigate ancient conceptions of the good life. The research is organized around three main axes.Firstly we look into notions of happiness (eudaimonia/beatitudo) in order to bring out the main Greek and Roman views on its content and preconditions. As reflection on happiness in Antiquity is tightly related to reflection on ethics, we look, secondly, into how the ancient ethical ideals develop by being attentive to considerations about happiness. Thirdly, the nature of the ancient views on ethics and happiness makes the notion of paideia (moral education and general cultivation) of central theoretical importance. Crucial for our approach throughout this project is the study of paradigms and their part in developing theoretical models of the good life (vita beata) in the ancient world.


The OHP seeks to identify and bring forward the main Ancient conceptions of happiness and their relation to morality, from the Classical period to early Christianity. The guiding theoretical principle of this undertaking is to clarify and characterize the essential constituents of the concept of happiness as these are reflected in the ancient writings and debates, and to consider their enduring validity within the context of the study of welfare. At the same time—as international economists seek to identify the key components of happiness as an essential dimension of economic policies and planning behavior—the OHP examines whether these ancient conceptions may facilitate and provide workable platforms for developing a view, or views, on the nature of welfare and happiness that are viable today.

Related projects

  • Ethics in Antiquity: The Quest for the Good Life (Centre for Advanced Studies)


Published Mar. 31, 2010 1:30 PM - Last modified Mar. 26, 2020 10:17 PM


Panos Dimas
The Norwegian Institute at Athens
5, Tsami Karatasou 
GR-117 42 ATHENS

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