31 Quotes of Ancient Greek Wisdom

I’ve made the point before that men should emulate men of the past. While history is always full of fools, there were men who came before us who were full of wisdom in both their words and deeds. Where to start but at th31 quotes of ancient wisdome beginning of Western Civilization itself? The ancient Greeks comprised of many men who knew what virtue was all about. You too, know what virtue means deep within your heart. But just to make sure, these 31 Quotes of Ancient Greek Wisdom show that virtue is timeless and not subject to the currents of change and transformation.

31 Quotes About Virtue from the Ancient Greeks:

No one is free who is not master of himself.

Slight not what is near through aiming at what is far.
– Euripedes, Rhesus

The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.
– Socrates

Riches and honors easily acquired, are easy thus to lose.

Men’s ambition and their desire to make money are among the most frequent causes of deliberate acts of injustice.
-Aristotle, Politics

Arrogance is an impediment to wisdom.
– Bias of Priene, fragment

Zeus detests above all the boasts of a proud tongue.
– Sophocles, Antigone

Moderation, the noblest gift of Heaven.
-Euripedes, Medea

Among all human beings, first respect yourself.

The greatest treasure you can leave your children is a sense of modesty and the advice to follow virtuous persons.

Wise is he who can compress many thoughts into few words.
– Aristophanes, The Thesmorphoriazusae

You should not honor men more than truth.
– Plato, The Republic

Cities must be beautified not with beautiful buildings but with the virtues of their citizens.
-Zeno of Elea

Pleasures are temporary but virtues are immortal.
– Periander

All the virtues are cultivated by studying and learning.
– Xenophon

Laziness is the source of many evils.


Don’t try to cover your mistakes with false words. Rather, correct your mistakes with examination.
– Pythagoras, fragment

You will become a teacher of yourself when for the same thing that you blame others, you also blame yourself.
– Diogenes of Sinope, fragment

Nothing great comes into being all at once.

It is a greater sin to disregard virtue while knowing what virtue is, than never to have known any virtue at all.

Virtuous men have never destroyed a state.
– Theognis

Because you are a mortal, think as a mortal.

Virtue is acquired with toil.

Only the educated are free.
-Epictetus, Discourses

Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult.
– Hippocrates, Aphorisms

Heaven never helps the man who will not act.
-Socrates, fragment

No enemy is more damaging than bad advice.
– Sophocles, Electra

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

I have often repented speaking, but never of holding my tongue.
-Xenocrates, fragment

Let there be nothing untried; for nothing happens by itself, but men obtain all things by trying.
– Herodotus, Histories

Speak not nor act before thou hast reflected.


I am an author, artist, entrepreneur, historian, musician, and the proprietor of the Handbook of Gentleman Living. Educated as a Historian and Philosopher at the University of Tennessee, my mission is to help craft men of higher caliber.

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