Bias of Priene

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Accept of things, having procured them by persuasion, not by force.

Bias (Greek: Βίας ο Πριηνεὺς, 6th century BC), the son of Teutamus and a citizen of Priene was a Greek philosopher. Satyrus called him the wisest of all the Seven Sages of Greece.

Quotes[edit]

Whatever good fortune befalls you, attribute it to the gods.

The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (c. 230)[edit]

Quotes of Bias from The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius, as translated by Charles Duke Yonge
  • Great riches come to many men by chance.
  • Choose the course which you adopt with deliberation; but when you have adopted it, then persevere in it with firmness.
  • Do not speak fast, for that shows folly.
  • Love prudence.
  • Speak of the Gods as they are.
  • Do not praise an undeserving man because of his riches.
  • Accept of things, having procured them by persuasion, not by force.
  • Whatever good fortune befalls you, attribute it to the gods.
  • Cherish wisdom as a means of travelling from youth to old age, for it is more lasting than any other possession.
  • Seek to please all the citizens, even though
    Your house may be in an ungracious city.
    For such a course will favour win from all:
    But haughty manners oft produce destruction.
  • Great strength of body is the gift of nature;
    But to be able to advise whate'er
    Is most expedient for one's country's good,
    Is the peculiar work of sense and wisdom.
  • Most men are wicked.

Quotes about Bias[edit]

  • Beneath this stone lies Bias, who was born
    In the illustrious Prienian land,
    The glory of the whole Ionian race.
    • Epitaph, as quoted in The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius as translated by C. D. Yonge

Diogenes Laërtius[edit]

It is said that he was very energetic and eloquent when pleading causes; but that he always reserved his talents for the right side.
Diogenes Laërtius, in Life of Bias, in The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers as translated by C. D. Yonge
  • The tripod was found near Athens by some fishermen, the brazen tripod I mean, which bore the inscription — "For the Wise;" then Satyrus says that the damsels (but others, such as Phanodicus, say that it was their father,) came into the assembly, and said that Bias was the wise man — and so the tripod was sent to him. But Bias, when he saw it, said that it was Apollo who was "the Wise," and would not receive the tripod.
  • It is said that he was very energetic and eloquent when pleading causes; but that he always reserved his talents for the right side. In reference to which Demodicus of Alerius uttered the following enigmatical saying — "If you are a judge, give a Prienian decision."
  • He used also to say that that man was unfortunate who could not support misfortune; and that it is a disease of the mind to desire what was impossible, and to have no regard for the misfortunes of others. Being asked what was difficult, he said — "To bear a change of fortune for the worse with magnanimity."
  • Once he was on a voyage with some impious men, and the vessel was overtaken by a storm; so they began to invoke the assistance of the Gods; on which he said, "Hold your tongues, lest they should find out that you are in this ship."
  • When he was asked by an impious man what piety was, he made no reply; and when his questioner demanded the reason of his silence, he said, "I am silent because you are putting questions about things with which you have no concern." Being asked what was pleasant to men, he replied, "Hope." It was a saying of his that it was more agreeable to decide between enemies than between friends; for that of friends, one was sure to become an enemy to him; but that of enemies, one was sure to become a friend.
  • He used to say, too, that men ought to calculate life both as if they were fated to live a long and a short time: and that they ought to love one another as if at a future time they would come to hate one another; for that most men were wicked.
  • Heraclitus too, a man who was not easily pleased, has praised him; saying, in Priene there lived Bias the son of Teutamus, whose reputation is higher than that of the others.

External links[edit]

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