Homo Sapientissimus: Snippets of Unmatched Wisdom

Diogenes Laertius, 1.35:

“Time is the wisest thing.”

σοφώτατον χρόνος·

Isocrates, 16.18

“He was turned over by Pericles, whom everyone agrees to have been the most prudent, most just, and wisest of our citizens.”

ἐπετροπεύθη δ’ ὑπὸ Περικλέους, ὃν πάντες ἂν ὁμολογήσειαν καὶ σωφρονέστατον καὶ δικαιότατον καὶ σοφώτατον γενέσθαι τῶν πολιτῶν.

Diogenes Laertius, 2.38:

“Socrates is the wisest of all men.”

ἀνδρῶν ἁπάντων Σωκράτης σοφώτατος.

Polyaenus, Strategemata 1.13:

“Odysseus defeated Palamedes in the court of the Achaeans by charging him of having barbarian gold in his tent, and thus that wisest of all Greeks was convicted of treason by a trick, by a stratagem.”

Παλαμήδην ἐνίκησεν ᾿Οδυσσεὺς ἐν δικαστηρίῳ τῶν ᾿Αχαιῶν ὑποβαλὼν αὐτοῦ τῇ σκηνῇ βαρβαρικὸν χρυσίον, καὶ ὁ σοφώτατος τῶν ῾Ελλήνων ἐκεῖνος ἥλω προδοσίας δόλῳ καὶ στρατηγήματι.

Euripides, Phoenician Women 87:

“It were necessary, if you were born wise, not to allow the same person always to be made unfortunate.”

χρῆν δ’, εἰ σοφὸς πέφυκας, οὐκ ἐᾶν βροτῶν

τὸν αὐτὸν αἰεὶ δυστυχῆ καθεστάναι.

Euripides, Bacchae 186:

“Tell me about it, one old man to another, Teiresias. For you are wise.”

ἐξηγοῦ σύ μοι

γέρων γέροντι, Τειρεσία· σὺ γὰρ σοφός.

Petronius, Satyricon 40.1

“’So wise!’ we all exclaimed, and with our hands raised to the roof we swear that even Hipparchus and Aratus were not to be compared to him.”

‘sophos’ universi clamamus et sublatis manibus ad cameram iuramus Hipparchum Aratumque comparandos illi homines non fuisse

Lucilius, Fragmenta Saturarum 1.30

“In the ancient council, you were the only wise man.”

concilio antiquo sapiens uir solus fuisti.

Cicero, Pro Marcello 25.7

“Do not be wise at our peril!”

noli nostro periculo esse sapiens.

Valerius Maximus 3.4:

“…since he was considered the wisest of all mortals…

…cum omnium iam mortalium sapientissimus haberetur…

Plautus, Epidicus 266:

“Make us participants in your wisdom.”

fac participes nos tuae sapientiae.


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