The ancient Greek world was a blend of wisdom, science, and achievements. We often feel amazed by the simplicity of some powerful quotes we read by men that lived up to 2.000 years ago, that serve even to this day, as significant lessons about life. Let's present to you three of these quotes that represent great values of the ancient Greeks; their timelessness is impressive, as these virtues are still vital now more than ever.
'Ever to excel'
This is a motto of the University of St Andrews, the Edinburgh Academy, and Boston College. It comes from the sixth book of Homer's Iliad, in a speech Glaucus delivers to Diomedes. The meaning of this phrase is that we always have to strive for excellence and try as hard as we can to get what we want in life; it is about giving people an urge to pursue happiness by achieving their goals. This, of course, is differentiated from one person to another -as Protagoras used to say: “Man is the measure of all things”.
'A healthy mind in a healthy body'
For ancient Greeks exercising both their bodies and their minds was equally important. Various education systems, developed in various cities, included gymnastics, music, and literacy. The education of young people was designed to help them develop both their body and their mind and gain harmony. Τhe exemplar of ancient Greeks was to always pursue wisdom and knowledge but, at the same time, to exercise their bodies as this was the only way for them to feel healthy and strong. The sense of virtue is found in the harmony between a beautiful mind and a beautiful body.
'Know thyself' is an aphorism inscribed over the entrance f the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. How many books have been written in regard to the importance of self-knowledge? A meaningful value of the ancient Greek world was the endless search of the inner self, the core of the soul and existence. One cannot fulfill their purpose in life unless they are familiar with their own strengths and weaknesses, their fears and wishes, and their own path to feeling happy and complete. This is a journey that we all make through our lifetime and we should never forget that knowing ourselves is the first step of understanding the world.
Ancient Greek quotes are not our only source of inspiring lessons about life. On the contrary, Greek mythology is full of tales of wisdom. Therefore, join our mythological tour of Athens and learn fascinating stories from ancient Greece that will enrich your life and help you get a perspective.