Ancient Greek philosophers are well known for their words of wisdom. Names like Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato are just a few of the sonorous names of great Greek thinkers. Plato’s writings are debates concerning the best possible form of government, ethics, metaphysics, and the distinction between knowledge and true belief.
It is primarily their ideas and works which have shaped the rise of various revolutions and even conceptual knowledge which have come about in the years to follow. Many future movements and changes both in the political and social lives of the people have been brought about by the words of wisdom of these classical Greek thinkers.
In ancient Greece, thinkers focused on several diverse concepts such as moral dilemmas, ethics, and human nature, in general. Philosophers are usually classified as the Pre-Socratics, the Socratics, and the Post-Socratics. Pre-Socratics believed in natural phenomena. Socratics are known for their teaching methods and for asking thought-provoking questions. Post-Socratics put their attention on the individual, rather than communal issues such as politics. They established four schools of philosophy- Cynicism, Skepticism, Epicureanism, and Stoicism.
Ancient Greek writers and speakers
Aristotle (384 to 322 BCE) wrote on diverse subjects, including physics, poetry, zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, and biology. Aristotle, along with Plato and Socrates, is generally considered one of the most influential of ancient Greek philosophers. He is the most remarkable of the ancient Greek philosophers whose ideas are taught at large even in present times and is recognized across the world. He is famous as the teacher of Alexander the Great, the famous Macedonian emperor who had once almost the entire world as his empire.
Socrates (470 to 399 BCE), an Athenian Philosopher is famous for his view of philosophy as a pursuit proper and necessary to all intelligent men, he is one of the great examples of a man who lived by his principles even though they ultimately cost him his life.
Plato (427 to 347 BCE) is one of the world’s highly recognized and widely read philosophers whose thoughts have been studied by various scholars. He was the student of Socrates and Aristotle’s teachers and his writings were in ancient Greece. His works were influenced by Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides but his key inspiration continued to remain Socrates and thus he is the main character in most of Plato’s writings.
Thales of Miletus (585 BCE) is a mathematician from ancient Greece who is often regarded as the first Western philosopher, a title given to him by none other than Aristotle himself. His works sadly have ceased to survive and are only limited to fragments of speeches and there is the fact that he was the primary pioneering figure of Greek philosophy which initially started as an intellectual movement.
Ancient Greek philosophy has a rich legacy of proverbs. Some examples go as- “Wine and children speak the truth”, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in”, “It’s sweet to view the sea when standing on the shore” and “It is not what they profess but what they practice that makes them good.”
Quotes by Famous Ancient Greek Philosophers
- “A man cannot become a Hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.”
- “Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in.
- “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.”
- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
- “Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.”
- “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”
- “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
- “I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.”
- “It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.”
- “Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”
- “Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act ‘rightly’ because we are ‘excellent’, in fact we achieve ‘excellence’ by acting rightly.”
- “Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”
- “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.”
- “Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.”
- “If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.”
- “Do not ask who started it. Finish it.”
- “All human sufferings come from ignorance.”
- “The most difficult thing in life to know yourself.”
- “What man is happy? He who has a healthy body, a resourceful mind, and a docile nature.”
- “Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.”
Inspirational quotes by Ancient Greeks
- “Difficulties are things that show a person what they are.” -Epicetetus
- “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” -Democritus
- “No human being will ever know the Truth, for even if they happen to say it by chance, they would not even know they had done so.” -Xenophanes
- “He has the most who is most content with the least.” -Diogenes
- “There is nothing permanent except change.” -Heraclitus
- “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” -Plutarch
Quotes on life and philosophy
- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something”. – Plato.
- “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” -Epicurus.
- “You can easily forgive a child that is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
- And the light is the truth.” – Plato.
- “All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion and desire.” -Aristotle.
- “Bad men live that they can eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live” -Socrates.
- “The Spartans do not inquire how many the enemy are but where they are. Agis are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” -Aristotle.
- “To enjoy the things we ought and to hate the things we ought has the greatest bearing on excellence of character.” -Aristotle.
Quotes from Ancient to help you yourself up
- “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”–Aristotle
- “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”–Pericles
- “Know how to listen and you will profit even from those who talk badly.”–Plutarch
- “Everything flows, and nothing abides, everything gives way, and nothing stays fixed.”–Heraclitus
In conclusion, we just may focus a bit on Alexander. It is a fact that Alexander the Great had very little influence on philosophy and also there are no written philosophies or views of his own. If he had written any, they would have been lost in the abyss of time. In his youth, Alexander had one of the most influential philosophers of ancient Greece as his teacher- Aristotle. Later, in his life, he came in touch with another great philosopher, Diogenes the Cynic. But apart from philosophical advice, Alexander was an incredibly successful conqueror who regarded military pursuits as always greater than his intellectual pursuits. Battle was the key to glory for him. Alexander was the product of his Macedonian culture where the Homeric Code and mythological heroes of battle like Achilles and Heracles were revered as idols. His interest in multiculturalism is seen in his attempts to synthesize the Greeks and the Asians, once his Persian conquest was accomplished. He truly wanted to build a multicultural empire, rooted in Homeric values.