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Ancient Greek Quotes

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Classic Ancient Greek quotes, proverbs, maxims and phrases.

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  Neighbors
Ancient Greek proverbΦθονερόν αεί των γειτόνων όμμα.

Always envious the eye of the neighbor.

—  Ancient Greek proverb

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  Love
DiogenesΔιογένης τον έρωτα είπε σχολαζόντων ασχολίαν.

Diogenes said that love is an occupation for the lazy.

—  Diogenes, 410-323 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher

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  Sex
DiogenesΛυχνίας σβεσθείσης, πάσα γυνή ομοία.

When the lamp goes off, all the women are the same.

—  Diogenes, 410-323 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher

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  Marriage
MenanderΒίον καλόν ζης αν γυναίκα μη έχεις.

You live a good life if you don’t have a wife.

—  Menander, 4th cent. BC, Ancient Greek dramatist (New Comedy)

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MenanderΓυνή δικαία του βίου σωτηρία.

A good wife is the salvation of [a man’s] life.

—  Menander, 4th cent. BC, Ancient Greek dramatist (New Comedy)

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  Parents
Alexander the GreatΣτους γονείς οφείλομεν το ζην, στους δε διδασκάλους το ευ ζην.

We are indebted to our parents for living, but to our teachers for living well.

—  Alexander the Great, 356-323 BC, King of Macedon

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  Woman
DiogenesΛυχνίας σβεσθείσης, πάσα γυνή ομοία.

When the lamp goes off, all the women are the same.

—  Diogenes, 410-323 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher

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MenanderΘάλασσα και πυρ, και γυνή τρίτον κακόν.

Sea, fire and, the third evil, woman.

—  Menander, 4th cent. BC, Ancient Greek dramatist (New Comedy)

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AristotleΓυνή ανδρός φθονερώτερον και μεμψιμοιρότερον.

Women are more envious and more querulous than men.

—  Aristotle, 384-322 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

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HomerΕπεὶ ουκέτι πιστά γυναιξίν.

We can never trust women again.

—  Homer, c. 800-750 BC, II ‐ Odyssey XI

  
  Friendship
AristotleΦιλία εστί μία ψυχή εν δυσί σώμασιν ενοικουμένη.

Friendship is one soul living in two bodies.

—  Aristotle, 384-322 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

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DiogenesΟι μεν άλλοι κύνες τους εχθρούς δάκνουσι, εγώ δε τους φίλους ίνα σώσω.

Other dogs bite only their enemies, whereas I bite also my friends in order to save them.

—  Diogenes, 410-323 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher

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MenanderΕάν δ’ έχωμεν χρήμαθ’, έξομεν φίλους

If we have money, we shall have friends.

—  Menander, 4th cent. BC, Ancient Greek dramatist (New Comedy)

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Ancient Greek phraseΟ φίλος τον φίλον εν πόνοις και κινδύνοις ου λείπει.

A friend does not abandon his friend in difficulties and in danger.

—  Ancient Greek phrase

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  Treating others
CleobulusΌ συ μισείς, ετέρω μη ποιήσεις.

What you hate don’t do to others.

—  Cleobulus, 6th cent. BC, Ancient Greek Poet, one of the 7 sages

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  Trust
Pittacus of MytileneΜη πάσι πίστευε.

Don’t trust everybody.

—  Pittacus of Mytilene, 650-570 BC, one of the 7 sages of Ancient Greece

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HomerΕπεὶ ουκέτι πιστά γυναιξίν.

We can never trust women again.

—  Homer, c. 800-750 BC, II ‐ Odyssey XI

  
  Speaking
Bias of PrieneΆκουε πολλά, λάλει καίρια.

Hear much; speak to the point.

—  Bias of Priene, 625-540 BC, Greek philosopher, one of the 7 sages of Ancient Greece

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TheocritusΆρχεται λέξεων μεν ποταμός, νου δε σταλαγμός.

Now begins a river of words and a trickling of sense.

—  Theocritus, 3rd cent. BC, Ancient Greek poet

(on one of his opponents who was about to make a public speech)

HomerΤου και από γλώσσης μέλιτος γλυκίων ρέεν αυδή.

From whose lips the streams of words ran sweeter than honey.

—  Homer, c. 800-750 BC, II ‐ Iliad I

(about Nestor)

  
  Listening
CleobulusΦιλήκοον είναι μάλλον ή πολύλαλον.

Be fond of listening rather than of talking.

—  Cleobulus, 6th cent. BC, Ancient Greek Poet, one of the 7 sages

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  Silence
MenanderΜόνη σιγή μεταμέλειαν ου φέρει.

Silence alone is not an apology.

—  Menander, 4th cent. BC, Ancient Greek dramatist (New Comedy)

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Ancient Greek phraseΚρείττον του λαλείν το σιγάν.

Being silent is better than talking.

—  Ancient Greek phrase

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PindarΤο σιγάν πολλάκις εστί σοφώτατον ανθρώπω νοήσαι.

Often is man's best wisdom to be silent.

—  Pindar, 522-438 BC, Ancient Greek lyric poet

  
  Hiding
Ancient Greek phraseΟυδέν κρυπτόν υπό τον ήλιον.

Nothing can be hidden under the son.

—  Ancient Greek phrase

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  Forgiveness
Pittacus of MytileneΣυγγνώμη τιμωρίας κρείσσων.

Forgiveness is better than revenge.

—  Pittacus of Mytilene, 650-570 BC, one of the 7 sages of Ancient Greece

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  Praise & Flattery
PlatoΗδονών ήδιον έπαινος.

Praise is the sweetest of all pleasures.

—  Plato, 427-347 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

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AntisthenesΚρείττον εις κόρακας ή εις κόλακας εμπεσείν. Οι μεν γαρ νεκρούς, οι δε ζώντας εσθίουσιν.

It is better to fall in with crows than with flatterers; for in the one case you are devoured when dead, in the other case while alive.

—  Antisthenes, 445-360 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher

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AntisthenesΠρος τον ειπόντα «Πολλοί σε επαινούσι»: «Τι γαρ», έφη, «κακόν πεποίηκα;»

When somebody told him “many people praise you”, he said “what have I done wrong?”

—  Antisthenes, 445-360 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher

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Bias of PrieneΑνάξιον άνδρα μη επαίνει διά πλούτον.

Don’t praise an unworthy man for his riches.

—  Bias of Priene, 625-540 BC, Greek philosopher, one of the 7 sages of Ancient Greece

  
  Gifts
HomerΑλλ' ό γε σιγῇ δώρα θεών έχοι, όττι διδοίεν.

Just take in peace what gifts the gods will send.

—  Homer, c. 800-750 BC, II ‐ Odyssey XVIII

  
  Favors
EpicurusΜάταιόν εστι παρά θεών αιτείσθαι ά τις εαυτώ χορηγήσαι ικανός εστι.

It is futile to pray to the gods for that which one has the power to obtain by himself.

—  Epicurus, 341-270 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

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  Persuasion
Bias of PrieneΠείσας λαβέ, μη βιασάμενος.

Take by persuasion, not by force.

—  Bias of Priene, 625-540 BC, Greek philosopher, one of the 7 sages of Ancient Greece

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  Yielding
ThucydidesΟυ τοις άρχειν βουλομένοις μέμφομαι, αλλά τοις υπακούειν ετοιμοτέροις ούσιν.

I don’t blame those who want to rule but those who are more ready to obey.

—  Thucydides, 460-394 BC, Ancient Greek historian

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  Insult
HomerΠοίον σε έπος φύγεν έρκος οδόντων;

What is this word that broke through the fence of your teeth?

—  Homer, c. 800-750 BC, II ‐ Iliad IV

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  Treason
Julius CaesarΚαι συ, τέκνον Βρούτε;

And you, son Brutus?

—  Julius Caesar, 101-14 BC, Roman general & Consul

(his last words, spoken in Greek)

  
  Conflict
Ancient Greek phraseΠρος λέοντα δορκάς άπτεται μάχης.

A deer picks up a fight with the lion.

—  Ancient Greek phrase

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  Enemies
AntisthenesΠροσέχειν τοις εχθροίς· πρώτοι γαρ των αμαρτημάτων αισθάνονται.

Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.

—  Antisthenes, 445-360 BC, Ancient Greek Cynic philosopher

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