168 Greek Philosopher Quotes On Ancient Knowledge To Motivate You

Some of the wisest words ever said came centuries ago by way of these incredible Greek philosopher quotes.

If you’re in search of powerful and thought-provoking wisdom, relying on the great Greek philosophers of ancient times will serve you well.

We’ve rounded up an epic collection of Greek philosopher quotes to inspire you to think deeper and find your Greek god within.

Be sure to tell us your favorite quote from a Greek philosopher in the comment section below.

What are the benefits of reading these Greek philosopher quotes?

Greek philosophers contributed hugely to our understanding of the world.

Using their intelligence and reasoning skills:

  • they attempted to make sense of the world
  • brought along revolutionary philosophical contributions to politics, science, and ethics
  • shaped many professions, like medicine

As they say, true wisdom is eternal.

Take a moment and check out these Greek quotes!

The great Greek philosophers might have lived in a much different time, but we can still apply their ancient wisdom to our modern lives.

Their wise words have the power to change the way you think and approach life.

So, to enlarge your thinking, read our collection of inspirational, wise, and mind-blowing Greek philosopher quotes and sayings from various sources over the years.

If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation. 

If you want more motivational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.

Greek Philosopher Quotes On Ancient Knowledge To Motivate You

1. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Greek Philosopher Quotes about excellence

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2. “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” – Socrates

Greek Philosopher Quotes about endeavor

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3. “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” – Diogenes

Greek Philosopher Quotes about education

4. “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.” – Plato

Greek Philosopher Quotes about conquering yourself

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5. “Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.” – Socrates

Greek Philosopher Quotes and sayings

6. “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” – Aristotle

Greek Philosopher Quotes about courage

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7. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

Inspirational Greek Philosopher Quotes

8. “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.” – Churchill

Greek Philosopher Quotes about human qualities

9. “Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.” –  Aristotle

Greek Philosopher Quotes about habits

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10. “If I had followed the multitude, I should not have studied philosophy.” – Chrysippus

Greek Philosopher Quotes about studying philosophy

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Greek philosopher quotes that will inspire you to find your Greek god within

11. “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” – Democritus

Greek Philosopher Quotes about happiness

12. “Difficulties are things that show a person what they are.” – Epictetus

Greek Philosopher Quotes about difficulties

13. “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” – Socrates

Greek Philosopher Quotes about wisdom

14. “No human being will ever know the Truth, for even if they happen to say it by chance, they would not even know they had done so.” —Xenophanes

Greek Philosopher Quotes about truth

15. “There is nothing permanent except change.” – Heraclitus

Greek Philosopher Quotes about change

16. “When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.” – Epictetus

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Greek Philosopher Quotes about feeling offended

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17. “He has the most who is most content with the least.” – Diogenes

Greek Philosopher Quotes about being humble

18. “Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” – Heraclitus

Greek Philosopher Quotes about good character

19. “Throw moderation to the winds, and the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains.” –  Democritus

Greek Philosopher Quotes about pleasure

20. “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” – Plato

Greek Philosopher Quotes about law

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Greek philosopher quotes to expand your understanding

21. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

Greek Philosopher Quotes about reactions

22. “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” – Plutarch

Greek Philosopher Quotes about friends

23. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”– Plato

Greek Philosopher Quotes about fools

24. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch

Greek Philosopher Quotes about the mind

25. “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” – Thales

Greek Philosopher Quotes about knowing yourself

26. “Good means not merely not to do wrong, but rather not to desire to do wrong.” – Democritus

27. “There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.” – Plato

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28. “Much learning does not teach understanding.” – Heraclitus

29. “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus

30. “We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.” – Aristotle Onassis

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Greek philosopher quotes that will inspire you to think deeper

31. “It is a true man’s part not to err, but it is also noble of a man to perceive his error.” –  Apollonius of Tyana

32. “Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.” – Plato
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33. “Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.” – Antisthenes

34. “Man is the measure of all things.” —Protagoras

35. “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations, and benefits.” —Plutarch

36. “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” – Aristotle

37. “Everything existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.” – Democritus

38. “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” – Pericles

39. “Wait for the wisest of all counselors to judge you . . . time.” —Pericles

40. “The worst of all deceptions is self-deception” – Plato

Greek philosopher quotes to expand your mind

41. “Character is destiny.” – Heraclitus

42. “No one that encounters prosperity does not also encounter danger.” – Heraclitus

43. “To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates

44. “Life is short, the art long.” – Hippocrates

45. “Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempest.” – Epicurus

46. “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” —Demosthenes

47. “Do not trust all men, but trust men of worth; the former course is silly, the latter a mark of prudence.” – Democritus

48. “Men who wish to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.” – Heraclitus

49. “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” – Aristotle

50. “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.” – Epicurus

More Greek philosopher quotes

51. “World is decay, life is perception.” — Democritus

52. “This world, which is the same for all, has not been made by any god or man, but it always has been, is, and will be an ever-living fire.”— Heraclitus

53. “The happy man is the one who has a healthy body, a wealthy soul and a well-educated nature.” – Thales

54. “But what difference does it make who spoke the words? They were uttered for the world.” – Seneca

55. “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” – Plato

56. “Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.” – Aristotle

57. “When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” – Herophilus

58. “The proper bulk is better than the big bulk.” – Democritus

Short Greek philosopher quotes from Plotinus and Pythagoras

59. “Withdraw into yourself and look.” ― Plotinus

60. “Time is the soul of this world.” — Pythagoras

61. “Life is the flight of the alone to the alone.” ― Plotinus

62. “Silence is better than unmeaning words.” — Pythagoras

63. “It is in virtue of unity that beings are beings.” ― Plotinus

64. “The world is knowable, harmonious, and good.” ― Plotinus

65. “Thy foolish passions: learn thou to subdue them.” — Pythagoras

66. “Wisdom thoroughly learned will never be forgotten.” — Pythagoras

67. A fool is known by his speech; and a wise man by silence.” — Pythagoras

68. “Concern should drive us into action and not into depression.” — Pythagoras

Greek philosopher quotes that will make you wise

69. “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” – Epictetus

70. “When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you want to breathe, it is then you shall have it.” Socrates

71. “The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.” Plato

72. “Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.” Plutarch

73. “It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly. And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.” Epicurus

74. “The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.” Epictetus

75. “All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.” Aristotle

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76. “The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.” Aristotle

77. “We became men once and one cannot become twice.” — Epicurus

78. “Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.” ― Aristotle

Greek philosopher quotes from Thales

79. “Nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe, and nothing is stronger than necessity for all must submit to it.”― Thales

80. “Hope is the only good that is common to all men; those who have nothing else possess hope still.” ― Thales

81. “Time is the wisest of all things that are; for it brings everything to light.”― Thales

82. “The past is certain, the future obscure.” ― Thales

83. “If there is a change, there must be something that changes, yet does not change.”― Thales

84. “Intellect is the swiftest of things, for it runs through everything.”― Thales

85. “The way of living virtuously is by never doing ourselves what we blame in others.”― Thales

86. “All things are from water and all things are resolved into water.”― Thales

87. “What man is happy? He who has a healthy body, a resourceful mind, and a docile nature.”― Thales

88. “A multitude of words is no proof of a prudent mind.”― Thales

89. “We live not, in reality, on the summit of a solid earth but at the bottom of an ocean of air.” – Thales

90. “Place is the greatest thing, as it contains all things.” – Thales

Greek Philosopher Quotes To Give You Wisdom

91. “In all things of nature, there is something marvelous.” — Aristotle

92. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” — Hippocrates.

93. “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” —  Aristotle

94.“Wisdom outweighs any wealth.” — Sophocles

95. “Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.” — Euripides

96. “Success is dependent on effort.” — Sophocles

97. “It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls.” — Epicurus

98. “We are not separated from spirit, we are in it.” ― Plotinus

99. “Know thyself art Love itself. I repeat; Know thyself art Love itself and that anything else is an abstraction at best and suffering at worst.” ― Wald Wassermann

100. “The Republic isn’t as much fun as The Symposium. It’s all long speeches, and nobody bursting in drunk to woo Socrates in the middle.” ― Jo Walton

Greek Philosopher Quotes To Fill You With Wisdom

101. “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” — Epictetus

102. “Wisdom begins in wonder.” — Socrates

103. “Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.” — Aristotle

104. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” — Aristotle

105. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” — Socrates

106. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” — Aristotle

107. “Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.” — Pythagoras

108. “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” — Epicurus

109. “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” ― Aristotle

110. “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.” — Epictetus

Greek Philosopher Quotes to Appreciate Life

111. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates

112. “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.” — Democritus

113. “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” — Aristotle

114. “Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake, in little things, and thence proceed to greater.” — Epictetus

115. “The gift of truth excels all other gifts.” — Gautama Buddha

116. “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.” — Aristotle

117. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

118. “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” — Aristotle

119. “It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.” — Epicurus

120. “Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” — Epicurus

Greek Philosopher Quotes That Hit Deep

121. “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” ― Epictetus

122. “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” ― Plato

123. “Music then is simply the result of the effects of Love on rhythm and harmony.” ― Plato

124. “Get not your friends by bare compliments but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.” ― Socrates

125. “Each man is capable of doing one thing well. If he attempts several, he will fail to achieve distinction in any.” ― Plato

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126. “The oldest, shortest words – ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – are those which require the most thought.” ― Pythagoras

127. “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” ― Plato

128. “Only the educated are free.” ― Epictetus

129. “True friends visit us in prosperity only when invited, but in adversity they come without invitation.” ― Theophrastus

130. “If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not recognize it when it arrives.” ― Heraclitus

Greek Philosopher Quotes About Ancient Wisdom

131. “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” ― Aristotle

132. “It is not what you do, but how you do it, that counts.” ― Socrates

133. “The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it.” ― Epicurus

134. “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” ― Stoics

135. “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” ― Ferdinand Foch

136. Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.” ― Jean-Jacques Rousseau

137. “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” ― Plato

138. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” ― Plato

139. “The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.” ― Plato

140. “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me.” ― Meister Eckhart

Greek Philosopher Quotes to Enlighten You

141. “Appearances are a glimpse of the unseen.” ― Anaxagoras

142. “The seed of everything is in everything else.” ― Anaxagoras

143. “Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock.” ― Anaxagoras

144. “Men would live exceedingly quiet if these two words, mine and thine, were taken away.” ― Anaxagoras

145. “The descent to Hades is the same from every place.” ― Anaxagoras

146. “It is not I who have lost the Athenians, but the Athenians who have lost me.” ― Anaxagoras

147. “There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself – an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly.” ― Antisthenes

148. “The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” ― Antisthenes

149. “As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.” ― Antisthenes

150. “Not to unlearn what you have learned is the most necessary kind of learning.” ― Antisthenes

Short Wise Greek Philosopher Quotes

151. “I am sadly afraid that I must have done some wicked thing.” ― Antisthenes

152. “Quarrels often arise in marriages when the bridal gifts are excessive.” ― Antisthenes

153. “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” ― Aristotle

154. “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ― Aristotle

155. “There is no great genius without some touch of madness.” ― Aristotle

156. “A friend to all is a friend to none.” ― Aristotle

157. “The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.” ― Aristotle

158. “He who hath many friends hath none.” ― Aristotle

159. “Nothing exists; even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others.” ― Gorgias

160. “No intelligent man believes that anybody ever willingly errs or willingly does base and evil deeds; they are well aware that all who do base and evil things do them unwillingly.” ― Protagoras

161. “To live well and honorably and justly are the same thing.” ― Socrates

162. “Be as you wish to seem.” ― Socrates

163. “…for the object of education is to teach us to love beauty.” ― Plato

164. “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” ― Aristotle

165. “Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.” ― Plutarch

166. “There is far greater peril in buying knowledge than in buying meat and drink.” ― Plato

167. “My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.” ― Aristotle

168. “The chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry and definiteness, which the mathematical sciences demonstrate in a special degree.” ― Aristotle

What did you learn from these Greek Philosopher quotes?

Ancient Greek philosophy is still important today?

Even when passed down for thousands of years, wisdom speaks to human nature.

We can learn many life lessons from the work and lives of the great Greek philosophers.

Hopefully, these quotes from the ancients have inspired you to live wisely and compassionately.

Which of these Greek philosopher quotes and sayings resonated with you best?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Feel free to share with us in the comment section below.

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  1. Noname Pochatas

    April 11, 2022 at 12:46 AM

    Thank you for this compilation.

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