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

He that first started that doctrine, that knavery is the best defense against a knave, was but an ill teacher, advising us to commit wickedness to secure ourselves.

He is a fool who leaves things close at hand to follow what is out of reach.

For water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow.

For to err in opinion, though it be not the part of wise men, is at least human.

For there is no virtue, the honor and credit for which procures a man more odium than that of justice; and this, because more than any other, it acquires a man power and authority among the common people.

Flattery does not attend upon poor, obscure or unimportant persons, but makes itself an obstacle and pestilence to great houses and great affairs.

Fate, however, is to all appearance more unavoidable than unexpected.

Empire may be gained by gold, not gold by empire. It used, indeed, to be a proverb that "It is not Philip, but Philip's gold that takes the cities of Greece."

Eat not thy heart; which forbids to afflict our souls, and waste them with vexatious cares.

Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself.

Democritus said, “words are but the shadows of actions.”

Custom is almost second nature.

Courage stands halfway between cowardice and rashness, one of which is a lack, the other an excess of courage.

Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?… It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace. But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.

By the study of their biographies, we receive each man as a guest into our minds, and we seem to understand their character as the result of a personal acquaintance, because we have obtained from their acts the best and most important means of forming an opinion about them. "What greater pleasure could'st thou gain than this?" What more valuable for the elevation of our own character?

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.

Books delight to the very marrow of one's bones. They speak to us, consult with us, and join with us in a living and intense intimacy.

Being conscious of having done a wicked action leaves stings of remorse behind it, which, like an ulcer in the flesh, makes the mind smart with perpetual wounds; for reason, which chases away all other pains, creates repentance, shames the soul with confusion, and punishes it with torment.

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.

All men whilst they are awake are in one common world; but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own.

Adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.

A remorseful change of mind renders even a noble action base, whereas the determination which is grounded on knowledge and reason cannot change even if its actions fail.

Know how to listen and you will profit even from those who talk badly.

The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil.

We are more sensible of what is done against custom than of what is done against nature.

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