The Maxims of Ptahhotep (c. 2350 BC)
- Teach him what has been said in the past; then he will set a good example to the children of the magistrates, and judgement and all exactitude shall enter into him. Speak to him, for there is none born wise.
- Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge, but confer with the ignorant man as with the learned. For knowledge has no limits, and none has yet achieved perfection in it. Good speech is more hidden than malachite, yet it is found in the possession of women slaves at the millstones.
- Maxim no .1.
- Truth is great and its effectiveness endures.
- Maxim no. 5.
- Follow your desire as long as you live and do not perform more than is ordered; do not lessen the time of following desire, for the wasting of time is an abomination to the spirit... When riches are gained, follow desire, for riches will not profit if one is sluggish.
- Maxim no. 11.
- Beware an act of avarice; it is bad and incurable disease.
- Maxim no. 19.
- If you are well-to-do and can maintain your household, love your wife in your home according to good custom...Make her happy while you are alive, for she is land profitable to her lord.
- Maxim no. 21.
- Do not repeat slander; you should not hear it, for it is the result of hot temper.
- Maxim no. 23.
- One who is serious all day will never have a good time, while one who is frivolous all day will never establish a household.
- Maxim no. 25.
- To resist him that is set in authority is evil.
- Maxim no. 31.
- Be cheerful while you are alive.
- Maxim no. 34.
- Be a craftsman in speech that thou mayest be strong, for the strength of one is the tongue, and speech is mightier than all fighting.