The Sayings of Pittacus (600 B.C.)


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Pittacus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived about 600 B.C. Diogenes Laertius gives this introduction to his life:

Pittacus was the son of Hyrrhadius and a native of Mitylene. Duris calls his father a Thracian. Aided by the brothers of Alcaeus he overthrew Melanchrus, tyrant of Lesbos; and in the war between Mitylene and Athens for the territory of Achileis he himself had the chief command on the one side, and Phrynon, who had won an Olympic victory in the pancratium, commanded the Athenians. Pittacus agreed to meet him in single combat; with a net which he concealed beneath his shield he entangled Phrynon, killed him, and recovered the territory. Subsequently, as Apollodorus states in his Chronology, Athens and Mitylene referred their claims to arbitration. Periander heard the appeal and gave judgement in favour of Athens.

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, ed. R. D. Hicks (Kansas City Missouri:…

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