Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen

Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen
c. 46
120

Greek Biographer, Essayist, Historian and Middle Platonist

Author Quotes

The correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting — no more — and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth. Suppose someone were to go and ask his neighbors for fire and find a substantial blaze there, and just stay there continually warming himself: that is no different from someone who goes to someone else to get to some of his rationality, and fails to realize that he ought to ignite his own flame, his own intellect, but is happy to sit entranced by the lecture, and the words trigger only associative thinking and bring, as it were, only a flush to his cheeks and a glow to his limbs; but he has not dispelled or dispersed, in the warm light of philosophy, the internal dank gloom of his mind.

The continuance and frequent fits of anger produce in the soul a propensity to be angry; which ofttimes ends in choler, bitterness, and morosity, when the mid becomes ulcerated, peevish, and querulous, and is wounded by the least occurrence.

The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections.

Socrates said, "Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live."

Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.

Said Scopas of Thessaly, "We rich men count our felicity and happiness to lie in these superfluities, and not in those necessary things."

Proper listening is the foundation of proper living.

Ought a man to be confident that he deserves his good fortune, and think much of himself when he has overcome a nation, or city, or empire; or does fortune give this as an example to the victor also of the uncertainty of human affairs, which never continue in one stay? For what time can there be for us mortals to feel confident, when our victories over others especially compel us to dread fortune, and while we are exulting, the reflection that the fatal day comes now to one, now to another, in regular succession, dashes our joy.

Of all the disorders in the soul, envy is the only one no one confesses to.

Nothing is cheap which is superfluous, for what one does not need, is dear at a penny.

Not by lamentations and mournful chants ought we to celebrate the funeral of a good man, but by hymns; for, ion ceasing to be numbered with mortals, he enters upon the heritage of a diviner life. Since he is gone where he feels no pain, let us not indulge in too much grief. The soul is incapable of death. And he, like a bird not long enough in his cage to become attached to it, is free to fly away to a purer air... we cherish a trust like this, let our outward actions be in accord with it, and let us keep our hearts pure and our minds calm.

Nor is it always in the most distinguished achievements that men's virtues or vices may be best discovered: but very often an action of small note, a short saying, or a jest, shall distinguish a person's real character more than the greatest sieges, or the most important battle.

No beast is more savage than man when possessed with power answerable to his rage.

Moral habits, induced by public practices, are far quicker in making their way into men's private lives, than the failings and faults of individuals are in infecting the city at large.

Let us carefully observe those good qualities wherein our enemies excel us and endeavor to excel them, by avoiding what is faulty, and imitating what is excellent in them.

Learn to be pleased with everything; with wealth, so far as it makes us beneficial to others; with poverty, for not having much to care for; and with obscurity, for being unenvied.

Just as it is shameful to flatter when aiming to please, so it is a shameful when trying to avoid flattery to destroy the friendly thoughtfulness of another by immoderate speech.

It is wise to be silent when occasion requires, and better than to speak, though never so well.

It is not reasonable that he who does not shoot should hit the mark, nor that he who does not stand fast at his post should win the day, or that the helpless man should succeed or the coward prosper.s.

It is no disgrace not to be able to do everything; but to undertake or pretend to do what you are not made for, is not only shameful, but extremely troublesome and vexatious.

It is a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.

It does not follow, that because a particular work of art succeeds in charming us, its creator also deserves our admiration.

In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.

I for my part do much wonder in what humor, with what soul or reason, the first man with his mouth touched slaughter, and reached to his lips the flesh of a dead animal, and having set before people courses of ghastly corpses and ghosts, could give those parts the names of meat and victuals, that but a little before lowed, cried, moved, and saw; how his sight could endure the blood of slaughtered, flayed, and mangled bodies; how his smell could bear their scent; and how the very nastiness happened not to offend the taste, while it chewed the sores of others, and participated of the saps and juices of deadly wounds. I, for my part, wonder of what sort of feeling, mind or reason that man was possessed who was first to pollute his mouth with gore, and to allow his lips to touch the flesh of a murdered being: who spread his table with the mangled forms of dead bodies, and claimed as daily food and dainty dishes what but now were beings endowed with movement, perception and with voice.

I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.

Author Picture
First Name
Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen
Birth Date
c. 46
Death Date
120
Bio

Greek Biographer, Essayist, Historian and Middle Platonist