Meet the Seven Sages of Greece Part 1

While you can get acquainted with Chilo of Sparta in the article titled “Who is Chilo,” there are six other sages of Greece to familiarize yourself with. Come discover the facts behind Solon of Athens and Thales of Miletus.

Solon of Athens ,  (638 BC , 558 BC)

As this Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and lyric poet, Solon gained a reputation as becoming the founding father of the Athenian polis. According to the travel writer by the name of Pausanias, Solon was listed as one of the Seven Sages of the ancient world. In history, the man is known for the strides he made in politics, economics, and morality, as he fought against the decline regarding each of these areas. In the short term, some of Solon’s reforms did not survive, but he is still credited with establishing the base for Athenian democracy to blossom. Some of the quotes attributed to Solon include:

“Call no man happy until he is dead, but only lucky.”

“No man is happy; he is at best fortunate.”
“No one can be said to be happy until he is dead.”
“I grow old learning something new every day.”
“In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.”
“Learn to obey before you command.”
“Let no man be called happy before his death. Till then, he is not happy, only lucky.”
“Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law.”
“Speech is the mirror of action.”

“Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.”
“Rich people without wisdom and learning are but sheep with golden fleeces.”

Thales of Miletus , (624 BC , 546 BC)

As one of the Seven Sages, Thales also held the role of a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who is often referred to as the first philosopher found in the Greek tradition. Others will call him the “father of science,” while he is also known as the man who is responsible for starting philosophy. While Thales earned a reputation as a great thinker, he also found the time to devote to politics and business.

During his lifetime, Thales was linked to Ionian philosophy, the Milesian school, and naturalism when it comes to the school of thought or traditions he followed. His main interests included metaphysics, mathematics, astronomy, and ethics, which helped to shape the way he looked at the world.

One tale involves his keen sense for business, where he decided to purchase all of the olive presses in Miletus after predicting the weather and feeling that the harvest would flourish for that year. Another prediction that would stay with him in time involved an eclipse. In his final moment, it is said that Thales passed away due to dehydration, as he watched the action of a gymnastic contest. A few words to remember Thales by includes:

“To bring surety brings ruin”

“Hope is the only good that is common to all men; those who have nothing else possess hope still.”

“Nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe, and nothing is stronger than necessity for all must submit to it.”

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