Delphic maxims

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The Delphic maxims are a set of 147 aphorisms inscribed at Delphi. Originally, they were said to have been given by the Greek god Apollo's Oracle at Delphi and were therefore attributed to Apollo himself.[1] The 5th century scholar Stobaeus later attributed them to the Seven Sages of Greece.[2] Contemporary scholars, however, hold that their original authorship is uncertain and that "most likely they were popular proverbs, which tended later to be attributed to particular sages."[3] Perhaps the most famous of these maxims is 'know thyself', which was carved into the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The specific order and wording of each maxim varies between different versions (and translations) of the text.

147 Delphic maxims[edit]

147 Delphic maxims
No. Greek English
001. Ἕπου θεῷ Follow God
002. Νόμῳ πείθου Obey the law
003. Θεοὺς σέβου Worship the Gods
004. Γονεῖς αἰδοῦ Respect your parents
005. Ἡττῶ ὑπὸ δικαίου Be overcome by justice
006. Γνῶθι μαθών Know what you have learned
007. Ἀκούσας νόει Perceive what you have heard
008. Σαυτὸν ἴσθι Be yourself
009. Γαμεῖν μέλλε Intend to get married
010. Καιρὸν γνῶθι Know your opportunity
011. Φρόνει θνητά Think as a mortal
012. Ξένος ὢν ἴσθι If you are a stranger act like one
013. Ἑστίαν τίμα Honor the hearth (or Hestia)
014. Ἄρχε σεαυτοῦ Control yourself
015. Φίλοις βοήθει Help your friends
016. Θυμοῦ κράτει Control anger
017. Φρόνησιν ἄσκει Exercise prudence
018. Πρόνοιαν τίμα Honor providence
019. Ὅρκῳ μὴ χρῶ Do not use an oath
020. Φιλίαν ἀγάπα Love friendship
021. Παιδείας ἀντέχου Cling to discipline
022. Δόξαν δίωκε Pursue honor
023. Σοφίαν ζήλου Long for wisdom
024. Καλὸν εὖ λέγε Praise the good
025. Ψέγε μηδένα Find fault with no one
026. Ἐπαίνει ἀρετήν Praise virtue
027. Πρᾶττε δίκαια Practice what is just
028. Φίλοις εὐνόει Be kind to friends
029. Ἐχθροὺς ἀμύνου Watch out for your enemies
030. Εὐγένειαν ἄσκει Exercise nobility of character
031. Κακίας ἀπέχου Shun evil
032. Κοινὸς γίνου Be impartial
033. Ἴδια φύλαττε Guard what is yours
034. Αλλοτρίων ἀπέχου Shun what belongs to others
035. Ἄκουε πάντα Listen to everyone
036. Εὔφημος ἴοθι Be (religiously) silent
037. Φίλῳ χαρίζου Do a favor for a friend
038. Μηδὲν ἄγαν Nothing to excess
039. Χρόνου φείδου Use time sparingly
040. Ὅρα τὸ μέλλον Foresee the future
041. Ὕβριν μίσει Despise insolence
042. Ἱκέτας αἰδοῦ Have respect for suppliants
043. Πᾶσιν ἁρμόζου Be accommodating in everything
044. Υἱοὺς παίδευε Educate your sons
045. Ἔχων χαρίζου Give what you have
046. Δόλον φοβοῦ Fear deceit
047. Εὐλόγει πάντας Speak well of everyone
048. Φιλόσοφος γίνου Be a seeker of wisdom
049. Ὅσια κρῖνε Choose what is divine
050. Γνοὺς πρᾶττε Act when you know
051. Φόνου ἀπέχου Shun murder
052. Εὔχου δυνατά Pray for things possible
053. Σοφοῖς χρῶ Consult the wise
054. Ἦθος δοκίμαζε Test the character
055. Λαβὼν ἀπόδος Give back what you have received
056. Ὑφορῶ μηδένα Down-look no one
057. Τέχνῃ χρῶ Use your skill
058. Ὃ μέλλεις, δός Do what you mean to do
059. Εὐεργεσίας τίμα Honor a benefaction
060. Φθόνει μηδενί Be jealous of no one
061. Φυλακῇ πρόσεχε Be on your guard
062. Ἐλπίδα αἴνει Praise hope
063. Διαβολὴν μίσει Despise a slanderer
064. Δικαίως κτῶ Gain possessions justly
065. Ἀγαθοὺς τίμα Honor good men
066. Κριτὴν γνῶθι Know the judge
067. Γάμους κράτει Master wedding-feasts
068. Τύχην νόμιζε Recognize fortune
069. Ἐγγύην φεῦγε Flee a pledge
070. Ἁπλῶς διαλέγου Speak plainly
071. Ὁμοίοις χρῶ Associate with your peers
072. Δαπανῶν ἄρχου Govern your expenses
073. Κτώμενος ἥδου Be happy with what you have
074. Αἰσχύνην σέβου Revere a sense of shame
075. Χάριν ἐκτέλει Fulfill a favor
076. Εὐτυχίαν εὔχου Pray for happiness
077. Τύχην στέργε Be fond of fortune
078. Ἀκούων ὅρα Observe what you have heard
079. Ἐργάζου κτητά Work for what you can own
080. Ἔριν μίσει Despise strife
081. Ὄνειδος ἔχθαιρε Detest disgrace
082. Γλῶτταν ἴσχε Restrain the tongue
083. Ὕβριν ἀμύνου Keep yourself from insolence
084. Κρῖνε δίκαια Make just judgements
085. Χρῶ χρήμασιν Use what you have
086. Ἀδωροδόκητος δίκαζε Judge incorruptibly
087. Αἰτιῶ παρόντα Accuse one who is present
088. Λέγε εἰδώς Tell when you know
089. Βίας μὴ ἔχου Do not depend on strength
090. Ἀλύπως βίου Live without sorrow
091. Ὁμίλει πρᾴως Live together meekly
092. Πέρας ἐπιτέλει μὴ ἀποδειλιῶν Finish the race without shrinking back
093. Φιλοφρόνει πᾶσιν Deal kindly with everyone
094. Υἱοῖς μὴ καταρῶ Do not curse your sons
095. Γυναικὸς ἄρχε Rule your wife
096. Σεαυτὸν εὖ ποίει Benefit yourself
097. Εὐπροσήγορος γίνου Be courteous
098. Ἀποκρίνου ἐν καιρῷ Give a timely response
099. Πόνει μετ’ εὐκλείας Struggle with glory
100. Πρᾶττε ἀμετανοήτως Act without repenting
101. Ἁμαρτάνων μετανόει Repent of sins
102. Ὀφθαλμοῦ κράτει Control the eye
103. Βουλεύου χρόνῳ Give a timely counsel
104. Πρᾶττε συντόμως Act quickly
105. Φιλίαν φύλαττε Guard friendship
106. Εὐγνώμων γίνου Be grateful
107. Ὁμόνοιαν δίωκε Pursue harmony
108. Ἄρρητον κρύπτε Keep deeply the top secret
109. Τὸ κρατοῦν φοβοῦ Fear ruling
110. Τὸ συμφέρον θηρῶ Pursue what is profitable
111. Καιρὸν προσδέχου Accept due measure
112. Ἔχθρας διάλυε Do away with enmities
113. Γῆρας προσδέχου Accept old age
114. Ἐπὶ ῥώμῃ μὴ καυχῶ Do not boast in might
115. Εὐφημίαν ἄσκει Exercise (religious) silence
116. Ἀπέχθειαν φεῦγε Flee enmity
117. Πλούτει δικαίως Acquire wealth justly
118. Δόξαν μὴ λεῖπε Do not abandon honor
119. Κακίαν μίσει Despise evil
120. Κινδύνευε φρονίμως Venture into danger prudently
121. Μανθάνων μὴ κάμνε Do not tire of learning
122. Φειδόμενος μὴ λεῖπε Do not stop to be thrifty
123. Χρησμοὺς θαύμαζε Admire oracles
124. Οὓς τρέφεις, ἀγάπα Love whom you rear
125. Ἀπόντι μὴ μάχου Do not oppose someone absent
126. Πρεσβύτερον αἰδοῦ Respect the elder
127. Νεώτερον δίδασκε Teach a youngster
128. Πλούτῳ ἀπίστει Do not trust wealth
129. Σεαυτὸν αἰδοῦ Respect yourself
130. Μὴ ἄρχε ὑβρίζειν Do not begin to be insolent
131. Προγόνους στεφάνου Crown your ancestors
132. Θνῆσκε ὑπὲρ πατρίδος Die for your country
133 Τῷ βίῳ μὴ ἄχθου Do not be discontented by life
134. Ἐπὶ νεκρῷ μὴ γέλα Do not make fun of the dead
135. Ἀτυχοῦντι συνάχθου Share the load of the unfortunate
136. Χαρίζου ἀβλαβῶς Gratify without harming
137. Μὴ ἐπὶ παντὶ λυποῦ Grieve for no one
138. Ἐξ εὐγενῶν γέννα Beget from noble routes
139. Ἐπαγγέλλου μηδενί Make promises to no one
140. Φθιμένους μὴ ἀδίκει Do not wrong the dead
141. Εὖ πάσχε ὡς θνητός Be well off as a mortal
142. Τύχῃ μὴ πίστευε Do not trust fortune
143. Παῖς ὢν κόσμιος ἴσθι As a child be well-behaved
144. Ἡβῶν ἐγκρατής As a youth be self-disciplined
145. Μέσος δίκαιος As of middle-age be just
146. Πρεσβύτης εὔλογος As an old man be sensible
147. Τελευτῶν ἄλυπος On reaching the end be without sorrow

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Temenos Theon – The Delphic Maxims
  2. ^ Leslie Kurke, Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose, Princeton University Press, 2010, p. 109.
  3. ^ H. Parke and D. Wormell, The Delphic Oracle, (Basil Blackwell, 1956), vol. 1, p. 389.

References[edit]

External links[edit]