Friday ‘Precepts’ Café
Don’t miss this week’s ‘Precepts‘ Café!
Some precepts are so well know and you have heard them so many times that you feel that they are yours.
One of them “Know thyself” I always assumed that it had been first said by Socrates, but according to Pliny the Elder, Chilon the Lacedaemonian uttered it.
Again, men have placed on an equality with those of the oracles the precepts uttered by Chilon,1 the Lacedæmonian. These have been consecrated at Delphi in letters of gold, and are to the following effect: “That each person ought to know himself, and not to desire to possess too much;”2 and “That misery is the sure companion of debt and litigation.” He died of joy, on hearing that his son had been victorious in the Olympic games, and all Greece assisted at his funeral rites.
1 Son of Damagetus, and one of the Seven Sages. He flourished towards the beginning of the sixth century B.C. Herodotus says that he held the office of Ephor Eponymus in Ol. 56. He was a man remarkable for his wisdom and his sententious brevity, so characteristic of his Spartan origin.
2 It appears somewhat doubtful to which of the Grecian sages the credit of this maxim is due.
Precepts the most useful in life Chap.32.(32.)
Pliny the Elder, The Natural History translated by John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A., Ed. On Perseus
Precepts, proverbs or maxims are sometimes useful, and often amusing. Menander’s Monostichoi, one-line quotations, seem to have been appreciated in many different parts of the world. For example his famous “If we have money, then we will have friends” (Monostichoi 165) is so accurate.
You can find more quotes from Menander and others here.
Nowadays we still enjoy proverbs or maxims; they are short and go straight to the point. Here are some:
- Obey the law
- Think as a mortal
- Control yourself
- Love friendship
This little sentence attributed to Solon, who was talking about himself, is so true!
γηράσκω δ’ αἰεὶ πολλὰ διδασκόμενος
I grow old always learning many things.”
Solon, Fragment 18 West
Horace (65–8 BCE), the Latin poet, is also often quoted. Everyone has heard his famous Carpe diem, “Seize the day.” (Ode 1.11.8)
What about you, what are your favorite precepts, quotes or maxims?
I’ll quote Horace again for the Café with his famous Nunc est bibendum, “Now it is necessary to drink.” (Ode.1.37.1).
So join me, order a virtual drink of your choice, and choose a comfortable chair by the hearth where a big log is burning, and let us share some good quotes, proverbs or precepts.