Where Men Can Become Better Gentlemen

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Aristotle was Born 384 BC in Stagira, Chalkidiki, Ancient Greece – the present day village of Stagira being 5 miles SE of this site, in the NW of Halkidiki, on mainland Greece.  He is considered to be one of the founders of Western philosophy and left a legacy of not just many writings but the people he taught – at his Academy “The Lyceum”- including 3 future kings, perhaps most notably Alexander The Great.

Key Story

He was taught by Plato (another Greek Philosopher) spending 20 years in Athens, at Plato’s Academy. While he is mostly known as a philosopher, his depth and breadth of many subjects including the sciences, still impact and influence so many spheres of academic endeavor today. He died of natural causes in 322 BC, approximately 62 years of age. Take a look at the book “Eudemian Ethics” to read more of Aristotle’s views on philosophy. Check out our other articles: The founding fathers of Greek Ethics (including Aristotle); and Nichomacean Ethics (by Aristotle) which outlines the character virtues one should seek to attain and follow.


A friend is another I.

A friend to all is a friend to none.

A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.

All men by nature desire knowledge.

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.

All persons ought to endeavor to follow what is right, and not what is established.

All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.

Any one can get angry - that is easy - or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not within everybody?s power, nor is it easy.

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.

A true friend is one soul in two bodies.


Bad men are full of repentance.

Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age.

Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.

But the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances.


Change in all things is sweet.

Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.


Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.

Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.


Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

Education is the best provision for the journey into old age.

Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.

Everything that depends on the action of nature is by nature as good as it can be.

Evils draw men together.

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.


Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.

For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.

For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.

Friendship is essentially a partnership.


Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.


Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient.

Happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are highly cultivated in their minds and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities.

He who hath many friends hath none.

He who is to be a good ruler must have first been ruled.

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.

Hope is the dream of a waking man.


I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.

If there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake, clearly this must be the good.

I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.

In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.

In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.

In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.

Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions.

In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.

It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of reason is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.

It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken.

It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought.

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.

It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.

It is possible to fail in many ways, while to succeed is possible only in one way. For men are good in but one way, but bad in many.

It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.

It seems that ambition makes most people wish to be loved rather than to love others.


Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbor to have them through envy.


Law is order, and good law is good order.

Liars when they speak the truth are not believed.


Man is by nature a political animal.

Man is manifestly the baldest of all animals.

Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.

Men are swayed more by fear than by reverence.

Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.

Money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.

Most people would rather give than get affection.

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.

My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.


Nature does nothing in vain.

No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.

No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye.

No one loves the man whom he fears.

No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world.


Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.


Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.

Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.


Quality is not an act, it is a habit.


Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.


Temperance is a mean with regard to pleasures.

The actuality of thought is life.

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.

The appropriate age for marriage is around eighteen for girls and thirty-seven for men.

The basis of a democratic state is liberty.

The coward calls the brave man rash; the rash man calls him a coward.

The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.

The energy of the mind is the essence of life.

The generality of men are naturally apt to be swayed by fear rather than reverence, and to refrain from evil rather because of the punishment that it brings than because of its own foulness.

The gods too are fond of a joke.

The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.

The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.

The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think.

The law is reason, free from passion.

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold.

The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.

The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.

The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.

The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

The secret to humor is surprise.

The soul never thinks without a picture.

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.

The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life - knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

The young are permanently in a state resembling intoxication.

They should rule who are able to rule best.

They should rule who are able to rule best.

Thinking is sometimes injurious to health.

This is the reason why mothers are more devoted to their children than fathers: it is that they suffer more in giving them birth and are more certain that they are their own.

Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.

Those who excel in virtue have the best right of all to rebel, but then they are of all men the least inclined to do so.

Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last.

Time crumbles things; everything grows old under the power of Time and is forgotten through the lapse of Time.

To be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to be conscious of our own existence.

To entrust to chance what is greatest and most noble would be a very defective arrangement.

To perceive is to suffer.

To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.

We can do noble acts without ruling the earth and sea.

We cannot learn without pain.

We make war that we may live in peace.

We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time.

Well begun is half done.

What is life without love? Love is like the sun; without light, there's no life.

What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.

When people are friends, they have no need of justice, but when they are just, they need friendship in addition.

Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.

Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.

With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it.

Wit is educated insolence.

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.


You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.

Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.

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