Inspiring Quotes of Ancient Wisdom

The ancient world produced many great thinkers whose wisdom comes to us in the form of their recorded thoughts and ideas about things that people still reflect on or care about today. The following collection of quotes can best be described as ancient wisdom and the words from these great thinkers may still serve as inspiration for people today.

“Watch a man in times of…adversity to discover what kind of man he is; for then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of his heart, and the mask is torn off…” Lucretius

“It is painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.” Sophocles

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” Seneca

“I believe because it is impossible.” Tertullian

“Outward beauty is not enough; to be attractive a woman must…use words, wit, playfulness, sweet-talk, and laughter to transcend the gifts of nature.” Petronius

“Two things only the people desire—bread and circuses.” Juvenal

“One shouldn’t be too inquisitive in life either about God’s secrets or one’s wife.” Chaucer

“There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.  There is advantage in the wisdom won from pain.” Aeschylus

“Embrace simplicity.” Lao tzu

“The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine…” Homer

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“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise.” Proverbs 17:28

“Anger is a short madness.” Horace

“Love is patient, love is kind.” I Corinthians 13:4

“If we’re not foolish young, we’re foolish old.” Chaucer

“Those who realize their folly are not true fools.” Chuang tzu

“To fear the worst often cures the worst.” Shakespeare

“Victory shifts from man to man.” Homer

“Love of money is the root of all evil.” I Timothy 6:17

“Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.” Matthew 5:44

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Theophrastus

“Luck never made a man wise.” Seneca

“I would much rather people ask why I have no statue than why I have one.” Cato the Elder

“Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted.” Sophocles

“The future you shall know when it has come; before then, forget it.” Aeschylus

“Glory ought to be the consequence, not the motive of our actions.” Pliny the Younger

“Lust for power is the most flagrant of all the passions.” Tacitus

“A good disposition is a virtue in itself.” Ovid

“There is no grief which time does not lessen and soften.” Cicero

“My trade and art is to live.” Montaigne

“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.” Marcus Aurelius

“Saying is one thing, doing is another.” Montaigne

“Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.” Marcus Aurelius

“To be able to say how much you love is to love but little.” Petrarch

“Common sense is not so common.” Voltaire

“Time eases all things.” Sophocles

“It is absurd and disgraceful to live magnificently and luxuriously when so many are hungry.” Clement of Alexandria

“Judge not that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1

“Knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes.” Panchatantra

“To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge.” Tze tze

“Who then is sane?” Horace

“A scholar who loves comfort is not fit to be called a scholar.” Confucius

“I am indeed a king, because I know how to rule myself.” Pietro Aretino

“There is no greater or keener pleasure than bodily love—and none which is more irrational.” Plato

“Do not be puffed up because of your knowledge nor overconfident because you are a learned person. Take counsel with the ignorant as well as with the wise, for the limits of proficiency cannot be reached and no person is ever fully skilled.” Ptah-Hotep

“How much better it is to be envied than pitied.” Herodotus

“To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.” Confucius

“Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.” Euripides

“There’s small choice in rotten apples.” Shakespeare

“There’s no sauce in the world like hunger.” Cervantes

“Short is the joy that guilty pleasure brings.” Euripides

The face of tyranny is always mild at first.” Racine

“Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.” Confucius

“Better to be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.” Aesop

“Greatness knows itself.” Shakespeare

“What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Matthew 16:26

“It is terrible to speak well and be wrong.” Sophocles

“In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.” Ovid

“Prefer a loss to a dishonest gain: the one brings pain for a moment, the other for all time.” Chilon

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” Confucius

“Beware of false prophets.” Matthew 7:15

“Patience, and shuffle the cards.” Cervantes

“Even if you persuade me, you won’t persuade me.” Aristophanes

“Nothing is ever said that has not been said before.” Terence

“The name of peace is sweet and the thing itself is good, but between peace and slavery there is the greatest difference.” Cicero

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” Voltaire

“Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has.” Martin Luther

“Confession of our faults is the next thing to innocence.” Publius Syrus

“The knowledge of courtesy and good manners is a very necessary study.  Like grace and beauty, it begets liking and an inclination to love one another at first sight.” Montaigne

“Avarice and luxury, those evils which have been the ruin of every great state.” Livy

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” Shakespeare

“Give me chastity and continence, but not right now.” Augustine

“People readily believe what they want to believe.” Julius Caesar


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Edublox Online Tutor offers multisensory cognitive training that enables learners to overcome reading problems and learning challenges and reach their full potential. Over the last 30+ years, the company behind the Online Tutor e-learning platform, Edublox, has helped thousands of children to read, learn and achieve through home kits and learning clinics internationally. Our programs are founded on pedagogical research and more than three decades of experience demonstrating that weak underlying cognitive skills account for the majority of learning difficulties. Specific brain-training exercises can strengthen these weaknesses leading to increased performance in reading, spelling, writing, math and learning.