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Ancient Greek Quotes: Socrates & Sophocles

One of the most revered of classical Greek philosophers is Socrates, who is responsible for creating the Socratic irony, as well as the Socratic Method (also referred to as elenchus). He is also attached to establishing a philosophical practice known as pedagogy, where the teacher poses a set of questions to their student in order to capture the best answer. Over time, Socrates served as a great influence in regards to the founders of Western philosophy (especially Plato and Aristotle).

Socrates

It is a true wonder how none of Socrates’ writings have survived in time. What is remarkable is that his way of thinking has deeply impacted the thinkers of both his time and now. Thanks to the likes of Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, and Aristotle , we can get an idea of the genius behind the man. In history, his death is even of interest to both historians and non-historians, as he succumbed to drinking a cup of hemlock berries (poison). Some of his popular ancient quotes include:

1) “Knowledge is the only good and ignorance the only evil.”

2) “By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

3) “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”

4) “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.”
5) “Envy is the ulcer of the soul.”

6) “If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.”

7) “Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”

8) “Remember what is unbecoming to do is also unbecoming to speak of.”

Sophocles

Born in 496 BC, Sophocles is the second of three ancient Greek tragedians whose work was able to survive to this very day. In history, he penned his work later than Aeschylus yet earlier than those of Euripides. It is believed that Sophocles wrote more than 120 plays over the course of his lifetime, but we will only get a chance to browse about seven (the number of plays that have survived). This includes Ajax, Antigone, and Oedipus the King.

For nearly 50 years, Sophocles took home the most awards when dramatic competitions took place in ancient Athens. He also participated in many religious festivals and other drama events. Out of the three Greek tragedians, Sophocles is said to have won more competitions than any other playwright. One of the most well known of his tragedies , readers enjoy Oedipus and Antigone. He is also known for writing Electra and Philoctetes. In addition to writing, Sophocles was also an actor and politician. To get an idea of some of the things that he wrote, the following quotes help illustrate:

1) “We know the world is a wonderful place
And the finest of all is the human race.”

2) “Wisdom outweighs any wealth.”

3) “When fighting for something that is right, even weakness triumphs.”