Ancient Greek Quotes: Thales, Aeschylus & Xenophon

In ancient Greek history, the list of unforgettable quotes and memorable phrases continue with the introduction of Thales (“the father of science”), Aeschylus (author of 80 plays), and Xenophon (historical author).


Thales of Miletos is a pre-Socratic philosopher who earned the title as one of the Seven Sages of Greece. When it comes to the Greek tradition, he is thought of as one of the first philosophers and is sometimes referred to as the “father of science.”  Thales is also known for developing the first principles regarding geometry. An interesting fact about Thales is that it is believed that this great philosopher passed away of dehydration while watching a gymnastic competition. An ancient quote attached to his name is:

“Time is the wisest of things because it finds out everything.”


The ancient Greek playwright born in 525 BC is often thought of as the father (or founder) of tragedy.  Aeschylus is one of the earliest of the three Greek tragedians whose plays were able to survive. Sophocles and Euripedes join him. It was Aeschylus who elongated the number of characters in plays so that conflict could take place. Before this, it was commonplace for characters to only associate themselves with a chorus.

Enthusiasts in modern times are now able to browse only six to seven of the approximately 70 plays that Aeschylus wrote. If you get a chance to scan his work, you may find that his influence in writing stems from the Persian invasion of Greece, which unfolded during the same time that he was alive. The war was so significant to Greece that when he died around 456 BC, his tombstone gave praise to his participation in Greek battle rather than his achievements as a playwright. He took part in the victory in Marathon and for this , his tombstone read:

” This tomb the dust of Aeschylus doth hide,
Euphorion’s son and fruitful Gela’s pride
How tried his valor, Marathon may tell
And long-haired Medes, who knew it all too well.”

Quotes attributed to Aeschylus include:

1) “God loves to help those who work to help themselves.”

2) “The words of truth are simple.”

3) “He is determined not to seem, but to be, the best.”


As the son of Gryllus, Xenophon was born in 431 BC and grew up to become a mercenary, soldier, and a follower of Socrates. In his lifetime, he penned works that dealt with the history of his own times. He also made mention of the sayings of Socrates and how it was to live in Greece. His historical and biographical works include: Anabasis (also known as The Persian Expedition), Cyropaedia, Hellenica, and Agesilaus. His Socratic works and dialogues include Memorabilia, Oeconomicus, Symposium, Apology, and Hiero. If you are interested in reading up on his short treatises , consider the following: On Horsemanship; The Cavalry General; Hunting with Dogs; Ways and Means; and Constitution of Sparta.

In history, Xenophon is known for leading 10,000 Greek soldiers of fortune out of Persia and delivered the to Greece. An historical account of this journey is his handiwork. Earlier, he student under Socrates and would later write a collection of histories regarding Greece. A quote to remember Xenophon by is:

“The most pleasing sound is the one that praises you.”