Delphic maxims

Set of maxims inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Delphic maxims are a set of pithy moral precepts that were inscribed on the Temple of Apollo in the ancient Greek precinct of Delphi. The three best known maxims – "Know thyself", "Nothing too much", and "Give a pledge and trouble is at hand" – were prominently located at the entrance to the temple, and were traditionally said to have been authored by the legendary Seven Sages of Greece, or even by Apollo. In fact, they are more likely to have simply been popular proverbs. Each maxim has a long history of interpretation, although the third of the set has received comparatively little attention.

Temple of Apollo at Delphi, by Albert Tournaire

A further 147 maxims, documented by Stobaeus in the 5th century AD, were also located somewhere in the vicinity of the temple. The antiquity and authenticity of these maxims was once in doubt, but recent archaeological discoveries have confirmed that some of the sayings quoted by Stobaeus were current as early as the 3rd century BC.