How Education is Similar to Pottery

Stobaeus 2.31 88

“Diogenes used to say that educating children was similar to potters’ sculpting because they take clay that is tender and shape it and decorate it how they wish.  But once it has been fired, it can’t be shaped any longer.  This is the way it is for those who were not educated when they were children: once they are grown, they have been hardened to change.”

Διογένης ἔλεγε τὴν τῶν παίδων ἀγωγὴν ἐοικέναι τοῖς τῶν κεραμέων πλάσμασιν· ὡς γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι ἁπαλὸν μὲν τὸν πηλὸν ὄντα ὅπως θέλουσι σχηματίζουσι καὶ ῥυθμίζουσιν, ὀπτηθέντα δὲ οὐκέτι δύνανται πλάσσειν, οὕτω καὶ τοὺς ἐν νεότητι μὴ διὰ πόνων παιδαγωγηθέντας, τελείους γενομένους ἀμεταπλάστους γίνεσθαι.


Also attributed to Diogenes (2.31.92)

“Education is similar to a golden crown: for it has both honor and value.”

῾Η παιδεία ὁμοία ἐστὶ χρυσῷ στεφάνῳ· καὶ γὰρ τιμὴν ἔχει καὶ πολυτέλειαν.



“Diogenes used to say that “the other dogs bit their enemies, but I bite my friends, to save them.”

῾Ο Διογένης ἔλεγεν, ὅτι οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι κύνες τοὺς ἐχθροὺς δάκνουσιν, ἐγὼ δὲ τοὺς φίλους, ἵνα σώσω.


Attributed to Pythagoras (2.23.96)

“A lack of education is the mother of all suffering”

᾿Απαιδευσία πάντων τῶν παθῶν μήτηρ


4.32a 19

“Diogenes used to say that poverty was self-taught virtue.”

Διογένης τὴν πενίαν ἔλεγεν αὐτοδίδακτον εἶναι ἀρετήν.

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