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ODE TO THE PAST (with the occasional nod to the present)

The Delphic Maxims

My latest research is taking me along the ancient paths of Delphi, a city carved into Mount Parnassos in Central Greece--and one of my favorite places on Earth.

The wise men and women who held court at Delphi lived by a list of maxims. Since many of these are still relevant today, I thought I'd post them for your reading pleasure. Enjoy ... and, as always, let me know your thoughts.

The Delphic Maxims (taken from the Commandments of the Seven [sages of Greece]):


Follow God.
Obey the law.
Worship the gods.
Respect your parents.
Be overcome by justice.
Know what you have learned.
Perceive what you have heard.
Be/Know Yourself.
Intend to get married.
Know your opportunity.
Think as a mortal.
"If you are a stranger act like one" or "When you are a stranger be aware."
Honor the hearth/Hestia.
Control yourself.
Help your friends.
Control anger.
Exercise prudence.
Honor providence.
Do not use an oath.
Love friendship.
Cling to discipline.
Pursue honor.
Long for wisdom.
Speak well of the beautiful good.
Find fault with no one.
Praise those having arĂȘte (good fortune).
Practice what is just.
Be kind to friends.
Watch out for your enemies.
Exercise nobility of character.
Shun evil.
Be impartial.
Guard what is yours.
Shun what belongs to others.
Listen to everyone.
Be (religiously) silent.
Do a favor for a friend.
Nothing to excess.
Use time sparingly.
Foresee the future.
Despise insolence.
Have respect for suppliants.
Be accommodating in everything.
Educate your sons.
Give what you have.
Fear deceit.
Speak well of everyone.
Be a seeker of wisdom.
Choose what is divine.
Act when you know.
Shun murder.
Pray for things possible.
Consult the wise.
Test the character.
Give back what you have received.
Down-look no one.
Use your skill.
Do what you mean to do.
Honor a benefaction.
Be jealous of no one.
Be on your guard.
Praise hope.
Despise a slanderer.
Gain possessions justly.
Honor good men.
Know the judge.
Master wedding-feasts.
Recognize fortune.
Flee a pledge.
Speak plainly.
Associate with your peers.
Govern your expenses.
Be happy with what you have.
Rever a sense of shame.
Fulfill a favor.
Pray for happiness.
Be fond of fortune.
Observe what you have heard.
Work for what you can own.
Despise strife.
Detest disgrace.
Restrain the tongue.
Keep yourself from insolence.
Make just judgements.
Use what you have.
Judge incorruptibly.
Accuse one who is present.
Tell when you know.
Do not depend on strength.
Live without sorrow.
Live together meekly.
Finish the race without shrinking back.
Deal kindly with everyone.
Do not curse your sons.
Rule your wife.
Benefit yourself.
Be courteous.
Give a timely response.
Struggle with glory.
Act without repenting.
Regret falling short of the mark.
Control the eye.
Give a timely counsel.
Act quickly.
Guard friendship.
Be grateful.
Pursue harmony.
Keep deeply the top secret.
Fear ruling.
Pursue what is profitable.
Accept due measure.
Do away with enmities.
Accept old age.
Do not boast in might.
Flee enmity.
Acquire wealth justly.
Do not abandon honor.
Despise evil.
Venture into danger prudently.
Do not tire of learning.
Do not stop to be thrifty.
Admire oracles.
Love whom you rear.
Do not oppose someone absent.
Respect the elder.
Teach a youngster.
Do not trust wealth.
Respect yourself.
Do not begin to be insolent.
Crown your ancestors.
Die for your country.
Do not be discontented by life.
Do not make fun of the dead.
Share the load of the unfortunate.
Gratify without harming.
Greave for no one.
Beget from noble routes.
Make promises to no one.
Do not wrong the dead.
Be well off as a mortal.
Do not trust luck.
As a child be well-behaved; as a youth, self-disciplined; as of middle-age, just; as an old man, sensible.
Reach the end without sorrow.
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