Quotes from Ancient Philosophers

“When I quote others, I do so in order to express my own ideas more clearly.”

Michel de Montaigne


“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“To live is to do things, not to acquire them.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“Without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all the other goods.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.”
Aristotle (Greek)

“Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do.  Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already know.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Be silent for the most part, or, if you speak, say only what is necessary and in a few words.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“No man is free who is not a master of himself.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.
Epictetus (Greek)

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“People are frugal in guarding their personal property, but as soon as it comes to squandering time, they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Circumstances don’t make the man; they only reveal him to himself.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Difficulty shows what men are.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Small-minded people blame others.  Average people blame themselves.  The wise see all blame as foolishness.”
Epictetus (Greek)

“Other people’s view and troubles can be contagious.  Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.”
Epicurus (Greek)

“Don’t spoil the impression of what you have by wanting what you don’t have.”
Epicurus (Greek)

“As soon as you awake, in order lay the actions to be done the coming day.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Friends are the companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere on the road to a happier life.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Let no one persuade you by word or deed to do or say whatever is not best for you.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“In anger we should refrain both from speech and action.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Rest satisfied with doing well, And leave others to talk as they please.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

Do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few!”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Do not chase after happiness, it is always in you.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Silence is better than unmeaning words.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“You should make great things, not promising great things.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“A man is never as big as when he is on his knees to help a child.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Never trust a friend who speaks bad of his comrades.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“Learn silence.  With the quiet serenity of a meditative mind, listen, absorb, transcribe, and transform.”
Pythagoras (Greek)

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Socrates (Greek)

“By all means marry – if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”
Socrates (Greek)

“Let him who would move the world, first move himself.”
Socrates (Greek)

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
Socrates (Greek)

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.  The more I know, the more I realize I know nothing.”
Socrates (Greek)

“Thou shouldst eat to live, not live to eat.”
Socrates (Greek)

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”
Socrates (Greek)

“Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.”
Plato (Greek)

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”
Plato (Greek)

“An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so those that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”
Plato (Greek)

“Win your friends not with flattery, but with sincere words of love.”
Plato (Greek)

“The greatest victory is overcoming your negative thinking.”
Plato (Greek)

“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
Plato (Greek)

“You married a crazy woman if she says you’re perfect!”
Plato (Greek)


“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to always remain a child.  For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”
Cicero (Roman)

“The greatest victory is victory over yourself.”
Cicero (Roman)

“Be, rather than seem.”
Cicero (Roman)

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
Cicero (Roman)

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
Cicero (Roman)

“The greatest virtue of a speaker is not only to say what is necessary, but also not to say what is not necessary.”
Cicero (Roman)

“The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”
Cicero (Roman)

“Boastful speeches are the first sign of weakness, and those who are capable of great things keep their mouths shut.”
Cicero (Roman)

“In the world there is nothing better and more pleasant than friendship, to exclude friendship from life is the same as to deprive the world of sunlight.”
Cicero (Roman)

“If any man cannot feel the power of God when he looks upon the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of any feeling at all.”
Horace (Roman)

“You cross the whole world in search of happiness, and it is always there, at arm’s length from any person.”
Horace (Roman)

“He who is brave is free.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present and fear the future.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“We are more often frightened than hurt and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“Life is like a play – it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“If what you have seems insufficient to you, then though you possess the world, you will yet be miserable.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according to what others think, you will never be rich.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“Only time can heal what reason cannot.”
Lucius Seneca (Roman)

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“If any man despises me, that is his problem.  My only concern is not doing or saying anything deserving of contempt.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed.  Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“Your days are numbered.  Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun.  If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“A person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“Very little is needed to make a happy life, it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“If it is not right – do not do it; if it is not true – do not say it.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“Learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be.  Be one.”
Marcus Aurelius (Roman)


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