Plutarch

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Mestrius Plutarchos (ca. 46- 127) was a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist.

Contents

Sourced

  • The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections.
    • The Roman Republic
  • Pompey had fought brilliantly and in the end routed Caesar's whole force... but either he was unable to or else he feared to push on. Caesar [said] to his friends: 'Today the enemy would have won, if they had had a commander who was a winner.'
    • The Life of Pompey
  • An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
    • Source Unknown

Parallel Lives

  • A Roman divorced from his wife, being highly blamed by his friends, who demanded, "Was she not chaste? Was she not fair? Was she not fruitful?" holding out his shoe, asked them whether it was not new and well made. "Yet," added he, "none of you can tell where it pinches me."
    • Aemilius Paulus, sec. 29
  • 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.
    • Lysander, sec. 17
  • Perserverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
    • Sertorius, sec. 16
  • Good fortune will elevate even petty minds, and give them the appearance of a certain greatness and stateliness, as from their high place they look down upon the world; but the truly noble and resolved spirit raises itself, and becomes more conspicuous in times of disaster and ill fortune.
    • Eumenes, sec. 9
  • Authority and place demonstrate and try the tempers of men, by moving every passion and discovering every frailty.
    • Demosthenes and Cicero, sec. 3
  • Medicine, to produce health, has to examine disease; and music, to create harmony, must investigate discord.
    • Demetrius, sec. 1

Moralia

  • It is a true proverb, that if you live with a lame man, you will learn a limp.
    • Of the Training of Children
  • Rest gives relish to labour.
    • ἡ ἀνάπαυσις τῶν πόνων ἐστὶν ἄρτυμα
    • Of the Training of Children, 13
  • The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education.
    • Of the Training of Children
  • It is wise to be silent when occasion requires, and better than to speak, though never so well.
    • Of the Training of Children
  • He is a fool who leaves things close at hand to follow what is out of reach.
    • Of Garrulity
  • 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.
    • Of Superstition
  • Antiphanes said merrily that in a certain city the cold was so intense that words were congealed as soon as spoken, but that after some time they thawed and became audible; so that the words spoken in winter articulated next summer.
    • Of Man's Progress in Virtue
  • When the candles are out all women are fair.
    • Conjugal Precepts
  • For to err in opinion, though it be not the part of wise men, is at least human.
    • Against Colotes
  • 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.
    • On the Eating of Flesh
  • The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
    • On Listening to Lectures

Attributed

  • I, for my part, wonder what sort of feeling, mind or reason that man was possessed who was first to pollute his mouth with gore, and allow his lips to touch the flesh of a murdered being; who spread his table with the mangled form of dead bodies, and claimed as daily food and dainty dishes what but know were beings endowed with with movement, with perception and with voice.
  • It is a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors. On the Training of Children
  • Prosperity is no just scale; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.


  • We must encourage [each other] -- once we have grasped the basic points -- to interconnecting everything else on our own, to use memory to guide our original thinking, and to accept what someone else says as a starting point, a seed to be nourished and grow. For 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.
  • Wickedness frames the engines of her own torment. She is a wonderful artisan of a miserable life.

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