Where Men Can Become Better Gentlemen

Quotes by Author



Plato was born around 428 BC probably in Athens, Greece – if not, he chose to settle there. He is perhaps best well known as a writer, teacher and a founder of western philosophy – along with his mentor Socrates and pupil Aristotle. Plato studied many subjects including the sciences and philosophy. He was among the first to build a place of higher learning - his being called “The Academy”, based in Athens.

Death & Legacy

He died in his sleep in about 348 BC at approximately 80 years of age, no doubt due to natural causes. He left behind a series of about 36 writings – or dialogues – perhaps the most famous and studied is “The Republic”.

Read more about Plato and others in the founding fathers of Greek Ethics.


A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.

A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men.

All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one Workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as dear unto God is the poor peasant as the mighty prince.

All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.

All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.

And what is good? And what is not good? Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another.

Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, You cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.

A state arises, as I conceive, out of the needs of mankind; no one is self-sufficing, but all of us have many wants.

As the builders say, the larger stones do not lie well without the lesser.

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Attention to health is life's greatest hindrance.


Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.

Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.


Courage is a kind of salvation.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

Cunning... is but the low mimic of wisdom.


Death is not the worst that can happen to men.

Democracy passes into despotism.

Democracy... is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.

Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.


Entire ignorance is not so terrible or extreme an evil, and is far from being the greatest of all; too much cleverness and too much learning, accompanied with ill bringing-up, are far more fatal.

Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.

Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments.

Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.


For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.

For good nurture and education implant good constitutions.

For the introduction of a new kind of music must be shunned as imperiling the whole state; since styles of music are never disturbed without affecting the most important political institutions.


Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.


Hardly any human being is capable of pursuing two professions or two arts rightly.

He was a wise man who invented beer.

He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it.

He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.

He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.

He who steals a little steals with the same wish as he who steals much, but with less power.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty.

How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.


I am the wisest man because I know I don't know. I am only singularly ignorant. The rest of the citizens are twice ignorant. They think they know, but they still don't know.

I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly conflict.

I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.

I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.

I shall assume that your silence gives consent.

I would fain grow old learning many things.

If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.

If particulars are to have meaning, there must be universals.

Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.

Injustice is censured because the censures are afraid of suffering, and not from any fear which they have of doing injustice.

Is it not also true that no physician, in so far as he is a physician, considers or enjoins what is for the physician's interest, but that all seek the good of their patients? For we have agreed that a physician strictly so called, is a ruler of bodies, and not a maker of money, have we not?

It is a common saying, and in everybody's mouth, that life is but a sojourn.

It is as expedient that a wicked man be punished as that a sick man be cured by a physician; for all chastisement is a kind of medicine.

It is right to give every man his due.


Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.

Justice means minding one's own business and not meddling with other men's concerns.


Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous.

Knowledge is the food of the soul.

Knowledge is true opinion.

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be rather a sort of amusement; this will better enable you to find out the natural bent of the child.

Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.


Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.

Life must be lived as play.

Love is a serious mental disease.

Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods.


Man - a being in search of meaning.

Man is a wingless animal with two feet and flat nails.

Man never legislates, but destinies and accidents, happening in all sorts of ways, legislate in all sorts of ways.

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.

Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?


Necessity... the mother of invention.

No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.

No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.

No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.

No one ever teaches well who wants to teach, or governs well who wants to govern.

No one is a friend to his friend who does not love in return.

No one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.

Not to help justice in her need would be an impiety.

Nothing can be more absurd than the practice that prevails in our country of men and women not following the same pursuits with all their strengths and with one mind, for thus, the state instead of being whole is reduced to half.

Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.


One man cannot practice many arts with success.

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

Only the dead have seen the end of the war.

Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.

Our object in the construction of the state is the greatest happiness of the whole, and not that of any one class.


People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.

Philosophy begins in wonder.

Philosophy is the highest music.

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.

Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.


Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.

Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.


Science is nothing but perception.

States are as the men, they grow out of human characters.


The beginning is the most important part of the work.

The community which has neither poverty nor riches will always have the noblest principles.

The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.

The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life.

The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.

The eyes of the soul of the multitudes are unable to endure the vision of the divine.

The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.

The gods' service is tolerable, man's intolerable.

The good is the beautiful.

The greatest wealth is to live content with little.

The highest reach of injustice is to be deemed just when you are not.

The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.

The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.

The measure of a man is what he does with power.

The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery.

The most virtuous are those who content themselves with being virtuous without seeking to appear so.

The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.

The spiritual eyesight improves as the physical eyesight declines.

The wisest have the most authority.

Then not only custom, but also nature affirms that to do is more disgraceful than to suffer injustice, and that justice is equality.

There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.

There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.

There is no harm in repeating a good thing.

There is no such thing as a lovers' oath.

There must always remain something that is antagonistic to good.

There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.

There's a victory, and defeat; the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats which each man gains or sustains at the hands not of another, but of himself.

They certainly give very strange, and newfangled, names to diseases.

Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.

This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.

Those who intend on becoming great should love neither themselves nor their own things, but only what is just, whether it happens to be done by themselves or others.

To love rightly is to love what is orderly and beautiful in an educated and disciplined way.

To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he might have the less.

To suffer the penalty of too much haste, which is too little speed.

To use words and phrases in an easygoing manner without scrutinizing them too curiously is not in general a mark of ill-breeding. On the contrary, there is something low-bred in being too precise. But sometimes there is no help for it.

Truth is the beginning of every good to the gods, and of every good to man.

Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy.


Virtue is relative to the actions and ages of each of us in all that we do.


Wealth is well known to be a great comforter.

We are bound to our bodies like an oyster is to its shell.

We are twice armed if we fight with faith.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

We do not learn; and what we call learning is only a process of recollection.

We ought to esteem it of the greatest importance that the fictions which children first hear should be adapted in the most perfect manner to the promotion of virtue.

When a Benefit is wrongly conferred, the author of the Benefit may often be said to injure.

When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.

When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.

When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing more to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.

Wisdom alone is the science of other sciences.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.

Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.


You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

Your silence gives consent.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Get In Touch

Have a question, query or need clarification...

Contact Us

Monthly Newsletter

Keep up to date, hear about unique items and have gentle reminders on being "The Complete Gentleman."

Sign up here:

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you The Complete Gentleman.

Don't Miss A Post

Keep up to date via RSS or another web-based reader:

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines