The maxims of the Oracle at Delphi were made up of very brief quotations of moral values. The subject matter they deal with varies from religious faith, to obedience to law, how to treat friends, how to behave in a just manner, education, country, way of life, happiness, etc. These maxims, in total, were inscribed in the frontal columns at the temple of the god Apollo, at the Oracle of Delphi. They were copied on single marble tablets and were transported to all parts of the Ancient Greek World, as the writing on paper or on parchment was not known at the time.

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Follow God 2. Obey the law 3. Worship the Gods 4. Respect your parents 5. Be overcome by justice 6. Know what you have learned 7. Perceive what you have heard 8. Know yourself 9. Intend to get married Know your opportunity Think as a mortal If you are a stranger, act like one Honor the hearth or Hestia Control yourself Help your friends Control anger Exercise prudence Honor providence Do not use an oath Pursue honor Long for wisdom Praise the good Find fault with no one Praise virtue 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 Govern your expenses Be happy with what you have 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 judgments 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 Give a timely counsel Act quickly Guard friendship Be grateful Pursue harmony


The Delphic Maxims

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Delphic Maxims

Follow God 2. Obey the law 3. Worship the Gods 4. Respect your parents 5. Be overcome by justice 6. Know what you have learned 7. Perceive what you have heard 8.


More than ‘know thyself’: on all the other Delphic maxims

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