The Delphic maxims represent a legacy that the ancient Greeks left behind for the rest of humanity. There were 147 aphorisms carved in the Temple of Apollo, and the Greek community was meant to abide by them. Some of them were carved in walls, others on the lintel or on the columns. The Delphic maxims were attributed to the ]Seven Sages of Greece: Thales of Miletus, Pittacus of Mytilene, Solon of Athens, Bias of Priene, Periander of Corinth, Myson of Sparta and Chilon of Sparta.

The three most important maxims were carved on the pediment of the temple: know thyself, nothing to excess and E at Delphi. Plutarch, priest of the temple, wrote an essay trying to explain the meaning of the latter, which perhaps can only be described as “the mystery of Delphi.”

Some of these sacred messages are: know what you have learned, perceive what you have heard, know yourself, intend to get married, help your friends, exercise nobility of character, love friendship, long for wisdom, pursue honor, honor a benefaction, give back what you have received, recognize fortune.

 

 

COSMOGONY & MYTHOLOGY:  the Origin and Evolution of the Universe 

 

The Delphic maxims represent a legacy that the ancient Greeks left behind for the rest of humanity. There were 147 aphorisms carved in the Temple of Apollo, and the Greek community was meant to abide by them. Some of them were carved in walls, others on the lintel or on the columns. The Delphic maxims were attributed to the ]Seven Sages of Greece: Thales of Miletus, Pittacus of Mytilene, Solon of Athens, Bias of Priene, Periander of Corinth, Myson of Sparta and Chilon of Sparta. Myths and legends, to Greek civilization, were and still are the basis for their wisdom, their milestones, and their development in every sense. The Greek alphabet is that singular and extraordinary; it is the only alphabet in the world in which every letter contains not one, but several symbols with different meanings. Greeks call the meaning of their words etymology, which originates from etymos: truth and logos, music: the art of the muses, or astronomy: comprised of astron (star) and nomos (law). Thus, each one of their words perseveres with their fertile roots in the vocabulary of our contemporary languages, attributing them with different meanings, deeper than a form of communication; if we knew their origins we would better understand the meaning of life.

 

 

DELPHIC MAXIMS (V-IV centuries BC)

 

“In the fore-temple at Delphi are written maxims useful for the life of men”.
Pausanias

 

1-     Follow God.

2-   Obey the law.

3-    Worship the Gods.

4-    Respect your parents.

5-    Be overcome by justice.

6-   Know what you have learned.

7-    Perceive what you have Heard.

8-    Know yourself.

9-    Intend to get married.

10- Know your opportunity.

11- Think as a mortal.

12- If you are a stranger act like one.

13- Honor the hearth.

14- Control yourself.

15- Help your friends.

16- Control anger.

17- Exercise prudence.

18- Honor providence.

19- Do not use an oath.

20- Love friendship.

21- Cling to discipline.

22- Pursue honor.

23- Long for wisdom.

24- Praise the good.

25- Find fault with no one.

26- Praise virtue.

27- Practice what is just.

28- Be kind to friends.

29- Watch out for your enemies.

30- Exercise nobility of carácter.

31- Shun evil.

32- Be impartial.

33- Guard what is yours.

34- Shun what belongs to others.

35- Listen to everything.

36- Be (religiously) silent.

37- Do a favor for a friend.

38- Nothing to excess.

39- Use time sparingly.

40- Foresee the future.

41- Despise insolence.

42- Have respect for suppliants.

43- Be accommodating in everything.

44- Educate your sons.

45- Give what you have.

46- Fear deceit.

47- Speak well of everyone.

48- Be a seeker of wisdom.

49- Choose what is divine.

50- Act when you know.

51- Shun murder.

52- Pray for things possible.

53- Consult the wise.

54- Test the character

55- Give back what you have received.

56- Down-look no one.

57- Use your skill.

58- Do what you mean to do.

59- Honor a benefaction.

60- Be jealous of no one.

61- Be on your guard.

62- Praise hope.

63- Despise a slanderer.

64- Gain possessions justly.

65- Honor good men.

66- Know the judge.

67- Master wedding-feasts.

68- Recognize fortune.

69- Flee a pledge.

70- Speak plainly.

71- Associate with your peers.

72- Govern your expenses.

73- Be happy with what you have.

74- Revere a sense of shame.

75- Fulfill a favor.

76- Pray for happiness.

77- Be fond of fortune.

78- Observe what you have heard.

79- Work for what you can own.

80- Despise strife.

81- Detest disgrace.

82- Restrain the tongue.

83- Keep yourself from insolence.

84- Make just judgements.

85- Use what you have.

86- Judge incorruptibly.

87- Accuse one who is present.

88- Tell when you know.

89- 0Do not depend on strength.

90- Live without sorrow.

91- Live together meekly.

92- Finish the race without shrinking back.

93- Deal kindly with everyone.

94- Do not curse your sons.

95- Rule your wife.

96- Benefit yourself.

97- Be courteous.

98- Give a timely response.

99-      Struggle with glory.

100- Act without repenting.

101- Repent of sins.

102- Control the eye.

103- Give a timely counsel.

104- Act quickly.

105- Guard friendship.

106- 1Be grateful.

107- Pursue harmony.

108- Keep deeply the top secret.

109- Fear ruling.

110- Pursue what is profitable.

111- Accept due measure.

112- Do away with enmities.

113- Accept old age.

114- Do not boast in might.

115- Exercise silence.

116- Flee enmity.

117- Acquire wealth justly.

118- Do not abandon honor.

119- Despise evil.

120- Venture into danger prudently.

121- Do not tire of learning.

122- Do not stop to be thrifty.

123- Admire oracles.

124- Love whom you rear.

125- Do not oppose someone absent.

126- Respect the elder.

127- Teach a youngster.

128- Do not trust wealth.

129- Respect yourself.

130- Do not begin to be insolent.

131- Crown your ancestors.

132- Die for your country.

133- Do not be discontented by life.

134- Do not make fun of the dead.

135- Share the load of the unfortunate.

136- Gratify without harming.

137- Grieve for no one.

138- Beget from noble routes.

139- Make promises to no one.

140- Do not wrong the dead.

141- Be well off as a mortal.

142- Do not trust fortune.

143- As a child be well-behaved.

144- As a youth be self-disciplined.

145- As of middle-age be just.

146- As an old man be sensible.

147- On reaching the end be without sorrow.

 

Text: Mariana Mares ± Photo: © Evgeniy Fesenko / PTAS / © Helga555 / © Asafta / © Mineria6 / AD CJ / livius / © Prostogugs / KN3 / EMAZE /

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