Mile-By-Mile Quotes for a Marathon


Sentantiae Antiquae is running a Marathon today (For real, Rock N’ Roll San Antonio). Here’s a quote for every mile.


Mile 1: Feeling Irrational Noble Thoughts


Hesiod Works and Days, 289-90

“The gods made sweat the price for virtue.”

τῆς δ’ ἀρετῆς ἱδρῶτα θεοὶ προπάροιθεν ἔθηκαν



Actual Shirt Worn During Marathon
Actual Shirt Worn During Marathon Last Year


Mile 2: Positive Feelings Continue


Horace, Epistles 1.4.12-14

“Amidst hope and anxiety, fear and rage, believe that every day has risen as your last: pleasant is the arrival of the hour which was never expected”.

inter spem curamque, timores inter et iras omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum: grata superveniet quae non sperabitur hora


Mile 3: When I try to Check Myself

Plutarch, Agesilaos 2.2

“His weakness made his desire for glory manifest: he would refuse no labor and shirk no deed.”

ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν φιλοτιμίαν ἐκδηλοτέραν ἐποίει, πρὸς μηδένα πόνον μηδὲ πρᾶξιν ἀπαγορεύοντος αὐτοῦ διὰ τὴν χωλότητα.

Mile 4: Self-Righteous Thoughts Get Delirious

Cicero, Pro Sestio 143

“Let us spurn the rewards of today and look to future glory; let us deem best what is most honorable; let us hope for what we want, but bear what befalls us; finally, let us consider that even the bodies of brave men and great citizens are mortal; but that activity of the mind and the glory of virtue are forever.”

praesentis fructus neglegamus, posteritatis gloriae serviamus; id esse optimum putemus quod erit rectissimum; speremus quae volumus, sed quod acciderit feramus; cogitemus denique corpus virorum fortium magnorum hominum esse mortale, animi vero motus et virtutis gloriam sempiternam

Mile 5: When I start to Make Jokes to Myself about Pheidippides

Lucian, On Mistakes in Greeting

“After saying ‘hello’ he died with his greeting a gasped out a final farewell”

καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν συναποθανεῖν τῇ ἀγγελίᾳ καὶ τῷ χαίρειν συνεκπνεῦσαι

Mile 6: I briefly Try to Become a Stoic

Seneca, Consolatio at Marciam, 21.6

“From the time that we catch our first glimpse of light, we have entered upon the road to death”

Ex illo quo primum lucem uidit iter mortis ingressus est….


Mile 7: Accepting the Possibility of Failure

Ovid, Tristia 4.3.37-8

“There is a certain pleasantness to crying — pain is brought up and expelled through tears”.

 . . . est quaedam flere voluptas expletur lacrimis egeriturque dolor.


Mile 8: Working on Self-Remonstration As Motivation

Hesiod Works and Days, 303

“Gods and men alike dislike a lazy man.”

τῷ δὲ θεοὶ νεμεσῶσι καὶ ἀνέρες ὅς κεν ἀεργὸς.


Mile 9: Delusions of Grandeur

Homer, Odyssey 8.147-8

“For as long as he lives, a man has no greater glory
than that which he wins with his own hands and feet”

οὐ μὲν γὰρ μεῖζον κλέος ἀνέρος, ὄφρα κεν ᾖσιν,
ἢ ὅ τι ποσσίν τε ῥέξῃ καὶ χερσὶν ἑῇσιν.


Mile 10: When I Make the Mistake of Checking the Time

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 698-9

“For the sick it is sweet to know clearly what pain remains”


τοῖς νοσοῦσί τοι γλυκὺ
τὸ λοιπὸν ἄλγος προυξεπίστασθαι τορῶς


Mile 11: When I Realize that I am not Half Done

Publilius Syrus, Sententiae M.54

“A bad plan is one that can’t be changed”

malum est consilium quod mutari non potest


Mile 12: On Approaching he Half-Way Point

Parmenides, fr. 6.16


“The path of all things goes backwards.”

…πάντων δὲ παλίντροπός ἐστι κέλευθος.


Mile 13: The Full Marathon Splits from the Half:

Horace, Epistles 1.19.48-9

“Sport tends to give rise to heated strife and anger, anger in turns brings savage feuds and war to the death”.

ludus enim genuit trepidum certamen et iram, ira truces inimicitias et funebre bellum.


Mile 14: On Realizing that a Half-Marathon Takes Half as Long

Cicero, Philippics 12.5

“All men make mistakes; but it is fools who persist in them”

cuiusvis hominis est errare; nullius nisi insipientis perseverare in errore


Mile 15: When The Route Passes By Fast Food

Ovid, Metamorphoses 15.138

“So great is man’s hunger for forbidden foods”

fames homini vetitorum tanta ciborum


Mile 16: Self-Reflection Turns to Flagellation

Macrobius, 1.11.8-11

“Some are slaves to desire, others to greed, others to ambition; all are enthralled to hope, all to fear. To be sure, there is no slavery more base than one voluntarily undertaken…”

alius libidini servit, alius avaritiae, alius ambitioni, omnes spei, omnes timori. et certe nulla servitus turpior quam voluntaria…


Mile 17: Epigrammatic Self-Loathing Sets In

Euripides, fr. 282 (Autolycos)

“Of the endless evils plaguing Greece
None is worse than the race of athletes.”

κακῶν γὰρ ὄντων μυρίων καθ’ ῾Ελλάδα
οὐδὲν κάκιόν ἐστιν ἀθλητῶν γένους·


Mile 18: The Beginning of the Loss of Bodily Function


Aristophanes, Frogs 479

“I just shat myself. Tell the god”

᾿Εγκέχοδα· κάλει θεόν.


Mile 19: Real Self-Loathing Sets In

Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 177

“Learn by Suffering”

… πάθει μάθος


Mile 20: The Self-Pitying Continues

Sophocles Ajax 260-2

“Recognizing that your suffering has been caused by no one else magnifies the pain”

τὸ γὰρ ἐσλεύσσειν οἰκεῖα πάθη,
μηδενὸς ἄλλου παραπράξαντος,


Mile 21: A New Mantra of Self-Loathing Takes Over

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.16-19

“I shall not begin to weary of my enterprise as long as I have life left in me. If I could take back what I have done, not to have even begun was best; but the second best thing is to bring it to an end.”

…nec taedia coepti ulla mei capiam, dum spiritus iste manebit. nam primum, si facta mihi revocare liceret, non coepisse fuit; coepta expugnare secundum est.


Mile 22: Exhaustion Leads to Syllogistic Confusion

Heraclitus fr. 67 1-2

“god—day is night, winter summer, war peace, satiety hunger, all things are their opposite—this is the mind”

— —ὁ θεὸς ἡμέρη εὐφρόνη, χειμὼν θέρος, πόλεμος εἰρήνη, κόρος λιμός (τἀναντία ἅπαντα· οὗτος ὁ νοῦς)


Mile 23: The Spirit Begins to Collapse

Theognis, 1135-6: On Hope


“Hope is the only good god present among men
The rest abandoned us and went to Olympos.”

᾿Ελπὶς ἐν ἀνθρώποισι μόνη θεὸς ἐσθλὴ ἔνεστιν,
ἄλλοι δ’ Οὔλυμπόν<δ’> ἐκπρολιπόντες ἔβαν·


Mile 24: I Begin to Talk to Myself Out Loud

Theocritus, 4.41-3

“Take heart, dear Battos! Tomorrow will be better. Hope is for the living, while the dead despair. And Zeus may shine one day, though he send storms the next.”

θαρσεῖν χρὴ φίλε Βάττε: τάχ᾽ αὔριον ἔσσετ᾽ ἄμεινον. ἐλπίδες ἐν ζωοῖσιν, ἀνέλπιστοι δὲ θανόντες. χὡ Ζεὺς ἄλλοκα μὲν πέλει αἴθριος, ἄλλοκα δ᾽ ὕει.


Mile 25: Hunger Turns To Mortal Panic

Praxilla, Frag 1 (747; Zenobius Proverbs 4.21)

“Most beautiful of what I leave is the light of the sun

Second: bright stars and the face of the moon

But also: ripe cucumbers, apples, and pears.”

κάλλιστον μὲν ἐγὼ λείπω φάος ἠελίοιο δευτερον ἄστρα φαεινὰ σεληναίης τε πρόσωπον ἠδὲ καὶ ὡραίους σικύους καὶ μῆλα καὶ ὄχνας;


Mile 26: Pain Is now Pleasure

Homer, Odyssey 15.401-2

“In time, a man takes pleasure even in pain, when he has suffered so much and wandered so far.”


…μετὰ γάρ τε καὶ ἄλγεσι τέρπεται ἀνήρ,
ὅς τις δὴ μάλα πολλὰ πάθῃ καὶ πόλλ’ ἐπαληθῇ.


The Next Day Among Friends


Homer, Odyssey 14.399-400


“Let us take pleasure from recalling one another’s grievous pains”

κήδεσιν ἀλλήλων τερπώμεθα λευγαλέοισι / μνωομένω



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