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From Longinus

It was not in nature’s plan for us her chosen children to be creatures base and ignoble,—no, she brought us into life, and into the whole universe, as into some great field of contest, that we should be at once spectators and ambitious rivals of her mighty deeds, and from the first implanted in our […]

The Ancient Near East on the Culture of Speech


“There are seven marks of an uncultured, and seven of a wise man. The wise man does not speak before him who is greater than he in wisdom; and does not interrupt the speech of his companion; he is not hasty to answer; he questions according to the subject-matter; and answers to the point; he speaks upon the first thing first, and upon the last, last; regarding that which he has not understood he says, “I do not understand it;” and he acknowledges the truth. The reverse of all this is to be found in an uncultured man.”

From Hesiod


Hesiod’s Works and Days is one of my favourite ancient Greek books. I like his collection of rules of life, which are somewhat similar to the wisdom of Proverbs, and his very beautiful description of seasons showing the mode of life of ancient Greeks. «For the man who gives willingly, even though he gives a […]

Longinus on great minds

The largest intellects are far from being the most exact. A mind always intent on correctness is apt to be dissipated in trifles; but in great affluence of thought, as in vast material wealth, there must needs be an occasional neglect of detail. Longinus, On the Sublime

From Theocritus

Still Life with Apples, Pears, Lemons and Grapes by Vincent van Gogh

…»There we lay Half-buried in a couch of fragrant reed And fresh-cut vineleaves, who so glad as we? A wealth of elm and poplar shook o’erhead; Hard by, a sacred spring flowed gurgling on From the Nymphs’ grot, and in the sombre boughs The sweet cicada chirped laboriously. Hid in the thick thorn-bushes far away […]

Longinus on the sublime

«In human life nothing is truly great which is despised by all elevated minds. For example, no man of sense can regard wealth, honour, glory, and power, or any of those things which are surrounded by a great external parade of pomp and circumstance, as the highest blessings, seeing that merely to despise such things […]