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Great Words of Wisdom: Greece

Ancient Greece is known for many things in history, including some of the sayings, phrases, and quotes that have survived the test of time. When it comes to the most famous words of the past, Greek philosophers are included in the list of notable quotes. In this article, you will encounter some of the great words of wisdom from the likes of scholars, such as Aristotle.

Plato 429 to 347 BC

Plato was a student of Socrates during the Classical Greek period. He became known as a respected philosopher, mathematician, and writer of philosophical dialogues. In addition to his contribution to philosophy, he also founded the Academy in Athens , the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Some of his words of wisdom include:

·    “Is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved by the gods?”

·    “What I say is that ‘just’ or ‘right’ means nothing but what is in the interest of the stronger party.”

Socrates 469 to 399 BC

Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher from Athens. Not only was he credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, but he has also influenced many great thinkers that came after him. Some of his words of wisdom include:

·    “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.”

·    “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

·    “How many things I can do without!”

·    “But, my dearest Agathon, it is truth which you cannot contradict; you can without any difficulty contradict Socrates.”

·    “It is never right to do wrong or to requite wrong with wrong, or when we suffer evil to defend ourselves by doing evil in return.”

Aristotle 384 to 322 BC

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher that studied under Plato, and would later become the teacher of Alexander the Great. He tackled many different subjects in his writing, such as physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, politics, government, biology, and zoology. Alongside Plato and Socrates, Aristotle was also seen as one of the most important founding figures associated with Western philosophy. Some of his words of wisdom include:

·    “We make war that we may live in peace.”

·    “Every art and every investigation, and likewise every practical pursuit or undertaking, seems to aim at some good: hence it has been well said that the Good is That at which all things aim.”

·    “Therefore, the good of man must be the end (i.e. objective) of the science of politics.”

·    “Tragedy is thus a representation of an action that is worth serious attention, complete in itself and of some amplitude by means of pity and fear bringing about the purgation of such emotions.”

·    “So poetry is something more philosophical and more worthy of serious attention than history.”

·    “Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.” “Man is by nature a political animal.”

·    “He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.”

·    “Nature does nothing without purpose or uselessly.”

·    When asked: “What is a friend?” Aristotle replied:
“One soul inhabiting two bodies.”

·    “Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas.”
(Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.)

Not all unforgettable and memorable quotes associated with ancient Greek history belong to figures, such as Plato and Socrates. Others are unknown , left behind on important monuments, attractions, and artifacts. These include “Know thyself” (inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Plato believes the Seven Wise Men are responsible for this saying), “Nothing in excess” (inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi), and “Let no one enter who does not know geometry” (an inscription on Plato’s door).