Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find a phrase below, in one ancient language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται
Krêtes aeì pseûstai


Cretans always lie.


This phrase is attributed to Epimenedes – who was himself a Cretan. Thus, the above phrase is one of the earliest known examples of a logical paradox. From Wiki:

The Epimenides paradox reveals a problem with self-reference in logic. It is named after the Cretan philosopher Epimenides of Knossos (alive circa 600 BC) who is credited with the original statement. A typical description of the problem is given in the book Gödel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter:

Epimenides was a Cretan who made the immortal statement: “All Cretans are liars.”

paradox of self-reference arises when one considers whether it is possible for Epimenides to have spoken the truth.