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Quotes from Ancient Times
What the rich and famous and wise said
Thoughtful and attentive words to contenplate learn from

Note: Throughout history the rich, famous and wise have said things that have been recorded in the form of quotes. It is the study of these quotes that give insight into life.

Seneca 4 B.C. 65 A.D., Spanish-born Roman Statesman, philosopher

A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is.

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness.

Drunkenness is nothing but a self-induced state of insanity.

Every journey has an end.

There is nothing the wise man does reluctantly.

A consciousness of wrongdoing is the first step to salvation…you have to catch yourself doing it before you can correct it.

The worse a person is the less he feels it.

Everything hangs on one’s thinking.

Just where death is expecting you is something we cannot know; so, for your part, expect him everywhere.

Be harsh with yourself at times.

How much longer are you going to be a pupil? From now on do some teaching as well.

What difference does it make, after all, what your position in life is if you dislike it yourself?

To govern was to serve, not to rule.

Retire into yourself as much as possible. Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those whom you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one. People learn as they teach.

What is required is not a lot words, but effectual ones.

Every day, therefore, should be regulated as if it were the one that brings up the rear, the one that rounds out and completes our lives.

I am telling you to be a slow-speaking person.

Away with the world’s opinion of you—it’s always unsettled and divided.

To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.”

We should live as if we were in public view, and think, too, as if someone could peer into the inmost recesses of our hearts—which someone can!

So called pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments.

If you shape your life according to nature, you will never be poor; if according to people’s opinions, you will never be rich.

God is near you, is with you, is inside you.

Straightforwardness and simplicity are in keeping with goodness.

Death: There’s nothing bad about it at all except the thing that comes before it—the fear of it.

The things that are essential are acquired with little bother; it is the luxuries that call for toil and effort.

Let us fight the battle—retreat from the things that attract us and rouse ourselves to meet the things that actually attack us.

What’s the good of dragging up sufferings which are over, of being unhappy now just because you were then.

You can only acquire it successfully if you cease to feel any sense of shame.

As it is with a play, so it is with life—what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is.

How can a thing possibly govern others when it cannot be governed itself?

To be everywhere is to be nowhere.

There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.

Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.

Calamity is virtue's opportunity.

There are no greater wretches in the world than many of those whom people in general take to be happy.

Happy the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune. He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has deprived misfortune of its power.

As for old age, embrace and love it. It abounds with pleasure if you know how to use it. The gradually declining years are among the sweetest in a man's life, and I maintain that, even when they have reached the extreme limit, they have their pleasure still.

There is nothing more despicable than an old man who has no other proof than his age to offer of his having lived long in the world.

It is the constant fault and inseparable evil quality of ambition, that it never looks behind it.

He who boasts of his descent, praises the deed of another.

No one is better born than another, unless they are born with better abilities and a more amiable disposition.

Those who boast of their decent, brag on what they owe to others.

Anger is like those ruins which smash themselves on what they fall.

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

The deferring of anger is the best antidote to anger.

The greatest remedy for anger is delay.

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.

Conversation has a kind of charm about it, an insinuating and insidious something that elicits secrets just like love or liquor.

Believe me, that was a happy age, before the days of architects, before the days of builders.

All art is an imitation of nature.

We never reflect how pleasant it is to ask for nothing.

It's the admirer and the watcher who provoke us to all the inanities we commit.

It is the superfluous things for which men sweat.

In my own time there have been inventions of this sort, transparent windows tubes for diffusing warmth equally through all parts of a building short-hand, which has been carried to such a perfection that a writer can keep pace with the most rapid speaker. But the inventing of such things is drudgery for the lowest slaves; philosophy lies deeper. It is not her office to teach men how to use their hands. The object of her lessons is to form the soul.

Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.

Fate rules the affairs of men, with no recognizable order.

The fates lead the willing, and drag the unwilling.

It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man and the security of a god.

He that does good to another does good also to himself.

Courage leads to heaven; fear leads to death.

Fortune can take away riches, but not courage.

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands.

The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man. It is more powerful than external circumstances.

There is nothing in the world so much admired as a man who knows how to bear unhappiness with courage.

Crime when it succeeds is called virtue.

He has committed the crime who profits by it.

One crime has to be concealed by another.

Constant exposure to dangers will breed contempt for them.

A punishment to some, to some a gift, and to many a favor.

Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

Disease is not of the body but of the place.

Economy is too late when you are at the bottom of your purse.

Sovereignty over any foreign land is insecure.

No evil is without its compensation. The less money, the less trouble; the less favor, the less envy. Even in those cases which put us out of wits, it is not the loss itself, but the estimate of the loss that troubles us.

Even if it is to be, what end do you serve by running to distress?

There is no delight in owning anything unshared.

We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.

The road to learning by precept is long, but by example short and effective.

It is quality rather than quantity that matters.

Do everything as in the eye of another.

If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail.

A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.

I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open?

Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.

So live with men as if God saw you and speak to God, as if men heard you.

A person's fears are lighter when the danger is at hand.

We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.

Where the fear is, happiness is not.

A foolishness is inflicted with a hatred of itself.

Freedom is not being a slave to any circumstance, to any constraint, to any chance; it means compelling Fortune to enter the lists on equal terms.

He who is brave is free.

Friendship always benefits; love sometimes injures.

Those that are a friend to themselves are sure to be a friend to all.

A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.

The pleasures of the palate deal with us like the Egyptian thieves, who strangle those whom they embrace.

If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.

If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind.

Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.

Nothing is void of God, his work is everywhere his full of himself.

It is another's fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.

See how many are better off than you are, but consider how many are worse.

There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it.

For greed all nature is too little.

Nothing becomes so offensive so quickly as grief. When fresh it finds someone to console it, but when it becomes chronic, it is ridiculed, and rightly.

The display of grief makes more demands than grief itself. How few men are sad in their own company.

True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The great blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.

Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.

No one can be despised by another until he has learned to despise himself.

Who can hope for nothing, should despair for nothing.

Night brings our troubles to the light, rather than banishes them.

He is a king who fears nothing, he is a king who desires nothing!

The foremost art of kings is the ability to endure hatred.

Pain, scorned by yonder gout-ridden wretch, endured by yonder dyspeptic in the midst of his dainties, borne bravely by the girl in travail. Slight thou art, if I can bear thee, short thou art if I cannot bear thee!

Remember that pain has this most excellent quality. If prolonged it cannot be severe, and if severe it cannot be prolonged.

Whatever is well said by another, is mine.

Most men ebb and flow in wretchedness between the fear of death and the hardship of life; they are unwilling to live, and yet they do not know how to die.

It is often better not to see an insult than to avenge it.

May be is very well, but Must is the master. It is my duty to show justice without recompense.

Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness

It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.

No one is laughable who laughs at himself.

He who dreads hostility too much is unfit to rule.

That is never too often repeated, which is never sufficiently learned.

A well governed appetite is the greater part of liberty.

The approach of liberty makes even an old man brave.

Leisure without literature is death and burial alive.

If you wish to be loved; Love!

Those whom true love has held, it will go on holding.

Fidelity purchased with money, money can destroy.

What once were vices are manners now.

Nothing is so contemptible as the sentiments of the mob.

It is medicine, not scenery, for which a sick man must go searching.

Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.

If you live according to the dictates of nature, you will never be poor; if according to the notions of man, you will never be rich.

The mind is a matter over every kind of fortune; itself acts in both ways, being the cause of its own happiness and misery.


Cato the Elder
 Dante Alighieri
I Ching
Marcus Aurius
Marcus Fabius Quintilian

Publilius Syrus
Titus Livy
Titus Maccius Plautus
Sun Tzu

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