Category: Ancient Learning
It is well known that Greek philosophers produced many theoretical and practical works on morality or ethics (Ethical Philosophy). But there was also a strong Greco-Roman tradition of less philosophical works of ethical instruction, which were often little more than lists of brief moral commandments, so-called maxims. They should not be taken as binding rules in the way that the Ten Commandments are meant to be in Judaism and Christianity – as is evident from the mere fact that there are so many varying texts in the maxim genre – but neither should they be overlooked. This category includes the following translations:
- Four injunctions from Isocrates, which I call the “Principal Maxims”.
- A sub-category of so-called “Delphic Maxims”, ascribed either to the god Apollon or the Seven Sages (plus related texts).
- Several texts of Pythagorean Maxims, including the beautiful Golden Verses.
- A Greco-Egyptian text by Euphantus, related to the older Egyptian funerary literature, which contains ethical principles similar to Greek maxim literature.