Wisdom of Life

Solon: On the Wisdom and the Purpose of Life

“Man’s purpose on Earth is to advance.”

“In all things let reason be your guide.”

“Learn to obey before you command.”

Seek to learn constantly while you live; do not wait in the faith that old age by itself will bring wisdom.

In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.

Rich people without wisdom and learning are but sheep with golden fleeces.

Many bad men are rich, many good men are poor; but we shall not exchange wealth for honour, for money flits from man to man but honour abides forever.

He that will sell his fame will also sell the public interest.

No fool can be silent at a feast.

Laws are like spider’s webs: If some poor weak creature comes up against them, it is caught; but a big one can break through and get away.

If things are going well, religion and legislation are beneficial; if not, they are of no avail.

In the ideal State laws are few and simple, because they have been derived from certainties. In the corrupt State laws are many and confused, because they have been derived from uncertainties.

To make an empire durable, the magistrates must obey the laws and the people the magistrates.

If all men were to bring their miseries together in one place, most would be glad to take each his own home again rather than take a portion out of the common stock.

Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.

Call no man happy until he is dead.

“True blessedness consisteth in a good life and a happy death.”


~Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term, yet he is often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy.

Solon’s Quotes

Excellence Reporter 2021

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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