Don’t keep your good manners to the end another time, but begin with them.
O ye gods, grant unto me to have little and to want nothing.
I feel friendship towards philosophers, but towards sophists, teachers of literature, or any other such kind of godforsaken people, I neither feel friendship now, nor may I ever do so in the future.
All the earth is mine, and I have a right to go all over it and through it.
O thou Sun, send me as far over the earth as is my pleasure and thine, and may I make the acquaintance of good men, but never hear anything of bad ones, nor they of me.
My ideal is for each to do what he knows and what he can.
Festivals cause diseases, since they lighten cares but increase gluttony.
I asked questions when I was a stripling, and it is not my business to ask questions now, but to teach people what I have discovered.
If you have problems of conduct that are difficult and hard to settle, I will furnish you with solutions, for I not only know matters of practice and duty, but I even know them beforehand.
I pray as follows: May justice reign, may the laws not be broken, may the wise men be poor, and the poor men rich, without sin.
A man must fortify himself and understand that a wise man who yields to laziness or anger or passion or love of drink, or who commits any other action prompted by impulse and inopportune, will probably find his fault condoned; but if he stoops to greed, he will not be pardoned, but render himself odious as a combination of all vices at once.
Pythagoras said that medicine is the most godlike of arts. But if the most godlike, it should tend to the soul as well as the body, or else a living thing must be unhealthy, being diseased in its higher part.
The gods do not need sacrifices, so what might one do to please them? Acquire wisdom, it seems to me, and do all the good in one’s power to those humans who deserve it.
Never may a man prone to believe scandal be a despot or a popular leader! Under his guidance, democracy itself will be despotism.
I have not yet learned to keep still.
The gods, as they are beneficent, if they find anyone who is healthy and whole and unscarred by vice, will send him away, surely, after crowning him, not with golden crowns, but with all sorts of blessings.
It is the duty of the law-giver to deliver to the many the instructions of whose truth he has persuaded himself.
You need not wonder at my knowing all human languages; for, to tell you the truth, I also understand all the secrets of human silence.
Virtue comes by nature, learning, and practice, and thanks to virtue, all of the aforesaid may deserve approval.
I asked certain rich men if they felt embittered. ‘How could we not?’ they said. So I asked them what caused this anguish. They blamed their wealth.
Every argument is incapable of helping unless it is singular and addressed to a single person. Therefore, one who discourses in any other way presumably does so from love of reputation.
Plato said that virtue has no master. If a person does not honor this principle and rejoice in it, but is purchasable for money, he creates many masters for himself.
Multicolored stones and paintings, walkways, and theaters are useless in a city unless it also contains wisdom and law. Such things are the subject of wisdom and law, not equivalent to them.
In my judgment, excellence and wealth are direct opposites, since when the one shrinks, the other grows, and when one grows, the other shrinks.
It is a true man’s part not to err, but it is also noble of a man to perceive his error.
If any man has left us for fear of Nero, I shall not account him a coward; but I shall hail as a philosopher any man who has been superior to this fear, and I shall teach him all I know.
In my travels, which have been wider than ever man yet accomplished, I have seen many, many wild beasts of Arabia and India; but this beast, that is commonly called a Tyrant, I know not how many heads it has, nor if it be crooked of claw, and armed with horrible fangs.
I delight to lodge in such temples as are not regularly kept closed. None of the gods reject me; they make me partner of their roof.
When I review Xerxes’ achievements, I praise him, not for having yoked the Hellespont, but for having crossed it. But I can see that Nero will neither sail through the Isthmus nor complete his digging.
Nero may have understood how to tune his cithern, but he disgraced his imperial office both by slackening and by tightening the strings.
Just as an individual of pre-eminent worth transforms democracy into a monarchy of the best man, even so the rule of one man, if in all things it has an eye to the common welfare, is democracy.
Do not consider that to be wealth which is hoarded away, for how is it better than sand gathered from the nearest heap? Nor that which comes in from men who groan at their taxes: for the gold that is wrung from tears is of base alloy and black.
It is at the time of dawn that we must commune with the gods.
As soldiers need not only courage but tactics also, so does a philosopher need not only courage and philosophy but discernment also, to tell what his right time of dying is – so that he neither seek it nor flee it.