Seven Sages of Greece  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

The Seven Sages (of Greece) or Seven Wise Men (Greek: οἱ ἑπτὰ σοφοί, hoi hepta sophoi; c. 620 BC–550 BC) was the title given by ancient Greek tradition to seven early 6th century BC philosophers, statesmen and law-givers who were renowned in the following centuries for their wisdom.

The Seven Sages

Traditionally, each of the seven sages represents an aspect of worldly wisdom which is summarized an aphorism. Although the list of sages sometimes varies, the ones usually included are the following:

  • Solon of Athens: "Keep everything with moderation." Solon (640-559 BC) was a famous legislator and reformer from Athens, framing the laws shaped the Athenian democracy.
  • Chilon of Sparta: "You should not desire the impossible." Chilon was a Spartan politician from the 6th century BC, to whom the militarization of Spartan society was attributed.
  • Bias of Priene: "Most men are bad." Bias was a politician and legislator the 6th century BC.
  • Thales of Miletus: Thales is the first well-known philosopher and mathematician. His advice, "Know thyself," was engraved on the front façade of the Oracle of Apollo in Delphi.
  • Pittacus of Mytilene (c. 650 BC), governed Mytilene (Lesbos) along with Myrsilus. He tried to reduce the power of the nobility and was able to govern with the support of the popular classes, whom he favoured. He famously said "You should know which opportunities to choose."
  • Periander of Corinth: he was the tyrant of Corinth in the 7th and 6th centuries BC. Under his rule, Corinth knew a golden age of unprecedented stability. He was known saying "Be farsighted with everything."




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Seven Sages of Greece" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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