Ancient Greek philosophers from Aristotle to Socrates and Plato to Thales have been extensively quoted over the centuries.
These men and the wisdom they share with us resonates even in modern civilization.
Quotes of the most famous Greek philosophers
This quote is from one of the most famous Greek philosophers of the 4th century BC, who is known for his belief that humans are responsible for creating their own virtues. He also believed that we develop these virtues as we interact with other humans and through our own education. We therefore form habits, and this is what makes it hard for humans to change our ways, as we are creatures of habit.
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
“Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit.”
Democritus was a Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC in ancient Greece. He often spoke of his belief that the best way for society and individuals to achieve tranquility was by only ‘biting off as much as you can chew’ and not being overly concerned with things that are not essential.
“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is just opinion.”
“It is hard to fight desire; but to control it is the sign of a reasonable man.”
Socrates is perhaps the best-known philosopher of ancient times. He lived during the 5th century BC and is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He was also the first moral philosopher of Western ethical thought, referred to as virtue ethics. He once said:
“One thing I know is that I know nothing. This is the source of my wisdom.”
“False words are not only evil themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”
“An unexamined life is not worth living.”
“Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”
Here are two quotes from the famous philosopher of the 5th century BC. Plato was one of Socrates’ brightest students and went on to become the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is considered to be the most pivotal figure in the development of the Western tradition of philosophy.
“Man is a being in search of meaning.”
“The worst of all deceptions is self-deception.”
A Greek philosopher of the late 6th century BC, Heraclitus is best known for his doctrine of change being central to the Universe. He also coined the term Logos (λόγος) in Western philosophy and explained its meaning as being both the source and fundamental order of the Cosmos.
“Character is destiny.”
“There is nothing permanent except change.”
“Big results require big ambitions.”
Better known as Thales of Miletus, Thales was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived during the 6th century BC. He was interested in a wide array of subjects, including mathematics and science.
He is also recognized as one of the first to establish a major break from using mythology to explain the world and the universe, turning instead to science and theories to explain natural objects and phenomena, a precursor to modern science as we know it today.
“The happy man is the one who has a healthy body, a wealthy soul and a well-educated nature.”
“Nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe, and nothing is stronger than necessity for all must submit to it.”
“Time is the wisest of all things that are; for it brings everything to light.”