Themistocles (Greek: Θεμιστοκλῆς; "Glory of the Law"; c. 524 – 459 BC) was an Athenian politician and general. He was one of a new breed of politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy.
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- I never learned how to tune a harp, or play upon a lute; but I know how to raise a small and inconsiderable city to glory and greatness.
- As quoted by Plutarch, in Lives as translated by J. Langhorne and W. Langhorne (1836), p. 84
- Variant translation: 'Tis true, I never learned how to tune a harp, or play upon a lute, but I know how to raise a small and inconsiderate city to glory and greatness.
- May I never sit on a tribunal where my friends shall not find more favor from me than strangers.
- As quoted by Plutarch, in Lives as translated by J. Langhorne and W. Langhorne (1850), p.225
- Strike, if you will, but hear.
- For the Athenians command the rest of Greece, I command the Athenians; your mother commands me, and you command your mother.
- Statement to his son, as quoted in Familiar Quotations 9th Edition (1894) edited by J. Bartlett, p. 723
- I have with me two gods, Persuasion and Compulsion.
- As quoted in The Columbia Book of Quotations (1993) edited by R. Andrews, p. 894.
- I choose the likely man in preference to the rich man; I want a man without money rather than money without a man.
- He who controls the sea controls everything.
Quotes about Themistocles
- Themistocles was a man who exhibited the most indubitable signs of genius; indeed, in this particular he has a claim on our admiration quite extraordinary and unparalleled. By his own native capacity, alike unformed and unsupplemented by study, he was at once the best judge in those sudden crises which admit of little or of no deliberation, and the best prophet of the future, even to its most distant possibilities. An able theoretical expositor of all that came within the sphere of his practice, he was not without the power of passing an adequate judgment in matters in which he had no experience. He could also excellently divine the good and evil which lay hid in the unseen future. In fine, whether we consider the extent of his natural powers, or the slightness of his application, this extraordinary man must be allowed to have surpassed all others in the faculty of intuitively meeting an emergency.