Living the Good Life: 35 Profound Quotes From the “Seven Sages of Greece”

There are many things for which we owe the Greeks: democracy, geometry, the marathon. Not to mention souvlaki, moussaka, and baklava. But arguably the most valuable asset to any person: wisdom.

Indeed wisdom is synonymous with Greece—the cradle of Western thought is traced to the ancient Έλληνες. Of all the wise philosophers, 7 were distinguished from the early 6th Century BC and bestowed the title of “The Seven Sages.”

On living a good life, here are 5 profound quotes from each of the 7 sages:


Pittacus of Mytilene

“Do not say before hand what you are going to do; for if you fail, you will be laughed at.”

“Forgiveness is better than revenge.”

“Whatever you do, do it well.”

“Know thy opportunity.”

“Measure a person by what they do with power.”


Periander of Corinth

“Rest is beautiful.”

“Pleasures are transient, honors are immortal.”

“Be moderate in prosperity, prudent in adversity.”

“Judge of a tree by its fruit, not by its leaves.”

“Nothing is impossible to industry (fortitude).”


Cleobulus of Lindos

“Be fond of hearing rather than of talking.”

“Be superior to pleasure.”

“Do nothing by force.”

“Be ready for reconciliation after quarrels.”

“We should render a service to a friend to bind him closer to us, and to an enemy in order to make a friend of him.”


Solon of Athens

“Rule, after you have first learned to submit to rule.”

“Wealth I desire to have; but wrongfully to get it, I do not wish.”

“In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.”

“Seek to learn constantly while you live; do not wait in the faith that old age by itself will bring wisdom.”

“Reprove thy friend privately: commend him publicly.”


Chilon of Sparta

“If one is strong be also merciful, so that one’s neighbors may respect one rather than fear one.”

“Do not make too much haste on one’s road.”

“Learn how to regulate one’s own house well.”

“Do not let one’s tongue outrun one’s sense.”

“Restrain anger.”


Bias of Priene

“Choose the course which you adopt with deliberation; but when you have adopted it, then persevere in it with firmness.”

“Gain your point by persuasion, not by force.”

“Cherish wisdom as a means of traveling from youth to old age, for it is more lasting than any other possession.”

“Seek to please all the citizens, even though your house may be in an ungracious city.”

“One ought to calculate life both as if they were fated to live a long and a short time.”


Thales of Miletus

“Time is the wisest of all things that are; for it brings everything to light.”

“Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.”

“Hope is the poor man’s bread.”

“Suretyship (Dogma) is the precursor of ruin.”

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.”

2 Replies to “Living the Good Life: 35 Profound Quotes From the “Seven Sages of Greece””

  1. Recently found out about your website. Love it, thanks for creating such a beautiful platform. I keep checking for new articles from you even though I follow you on FB :-)!

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words and taking the time to comment Kiran! Let me know if there are any areas you’d like me to write on more 🙂

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