Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one 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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γηράσκω δ᾽ αἰεὶ πολλὰ διδασκόμενος.
Gēraskō d’ aíeí pollâ didaskómenos.
I grow old always learning many things.
This phrase is attributed to Solon, the Athenian. He was one of the “seven sages of Greece.” More from Wiki:
The Seven Sages (of Greece) or Seven Wise Men (Greek: οἱ ἑπτὰ σοφοί hoi hepta sophoi) was the title given by classical Greek tradition to seven philosophers, statesmen, and law-givers of the 7–6th century BC who were renowned for their wisdom.
Typically the list of the seven sages includes:
- Thales of Miletus (c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC) is the first well-known Greek philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer. His advice, “Know thyself“, was engraved on the front facade of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.
- Pittacus of Mytilene (c. 640 BC – c. 568 BC) governed Mytilene (Lesbos). He tried to reduce the power of the nobility and was able to govern with the support of the demos, whom he favoured.
- Bias of Priene (fl. 6th century BC) was a politician and legislator of the 6th century BC.
- Solon of Athens (c. 638 BC – c. 558 BC) was a famous legislator and reformer from Athens, framing the laws that shaped the Athenian democracy.
- The fifth and sixth sage are variously given as two of: Cleobulus, tyrant of Lindos (fl. c. 600 BC), reported as either the grandfather or father-in-law of Thales; Periander of Corinth (b. before 634 BC, d. c. 585 BC); Myson of Chenae (6th century BC); Anacharsis the Scythian (6th century BC).
- Chilon of Sparta (fl. 555 BC) was a Spartan politician to whom the militarization of Spartan society was attributed.
Diogenes Laërtius points out, however, that there was among his sources great disagreement over which figures should be counted among the seven. Perhaps the two most common substitutions were to exchange Periander or Anacharsis for Myson. On Diogenes’ first list of seven, which he introduces with the words “These men are acknowledged wise”, Periander appears instead of Myson; the same substitution appears in The Masque of the Seven Sages by Ausonius. Both Ephorus and Plutarch (in his Banquet of the Seven Sages) substituted Anacharsis for Myson. Diogenes Laërtius further states that Dicaearchus gave ten possible names, Hippobotus suggested twelve names, and Hermippus enumerated seventeen possible sages from which different people made different selections of seven. Leslie Kurke contends that “Aesop was a popular contender for inclusion in the group”; an epigram of the 6th century AD poet Agathias (Palatine Anthology 16.332) refers to a statue of the Seven Sages, with Aesop standing before them
Solon is perhaps better known today as the ancestor of Plato. In Plato’s dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, he claims Solon learned the story of Atlantis from Egyptian priests. The account of Solon’s travel to Egypt is also mentioned by Herodotus and Plutarch. Just imagine how much time on The History Channel might be redirected in other directions if Solon had visited some place else.