Poverty is my country's inheritance from of old, but valor she won for herself by wisdom and the strength of law.
-- Demaratus, exiled Spartan King to Persian King Xerxes, when Xerxes asked if he thought the Greek's would defend themselves. Quoted from Herodotus by Peter Green in The Greco-Persian Wars, p.80

In a word, [Greeks] are by nature incapable of either living a quiet life themselves or of allowing anyone else to do so.
-- Envoys from Corinith, quoted by Thucydides, 1.70

I call him happiest
who, having seen without pain, Parmenon,
these noble things, goes swiftly whence he came;
the sun that lights us all; stars, water, clouds
and fire. Whether you live a hundred years
or a few seasons, you shall see the same;
and greater things than these shall you see never.

-- Menander, Greek poet, 3rd cent. BC, quoted in "The Pelican History of Greece," A. R. Burn, p. 357.

Future ages will wonder at us, as the present age wonders at us now.
-- Pericles, quoted in "The Greek Achievement," Charles Freeman, p.1

If to die well be the chief part of virtue, fortune granted this to us above all others; for striving to endue Greece with freedom we lie here possessed of praise that grows not old.
-- Simonides, Greek poet, 5rd cent. BC, quoted in "The Greek Achievement," Charles Freeman, p.1

Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance; our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft. We regard wealth as something to be properly used, rather than as something to boast about. As for poverty, no one need be ashamed to admit it: the real shame is in not taking practical measures to escape from it.
-- Pericles, quoted by Thucydides, 2.40

Last modified 7/26/15; posted 8/25/99. © 2015, 1999 John P. Nordin