Sosiades, Injunctions of the Seven Sages (“Delphic Maxims”)

The so-called Delphix Maxims are regarded by many contemporary Hellenic polytheists as a canonical text inspired by Apollon and inscribed in his sanctuary at Delphi. However, they are just one example (preserved by a single author, the anthologist John Stobaeus) of a very diverse genre of collections of ethical maxims, and while some representatives – like the Precepts of Apollon – are indeed explicitly ascribed to the Delphic god, the particular text known as the Delphic Maxims is not. Instead, it is a collection of the Seven Sages’ sayings compiled by a certain Sosiades. Some of these maxims were inscribed at Delphi, but it is not known how many.

Translation from the original Greek (Stobaeus, Anthology 3.1.173) by Ɔ. Martiana (Unhistorize).


(1) Follow the god,
(2) Obey the law,
(3) Honor the gods,
(4) Honor your parents,
(5) Yield to what is just,
(6) Know by learning,
(7) Understand by listening,
(8) Know yourself,
(9) Desire to marry,
(10) Recognize opportuny,
(11) Think mortal thoughts,
(12) Know when you are a guest,
(13) Honor Hestia (or ‘the hearth’),
(14) Rule yourself,
(15) Help your friends,
(16) Control your temper,
(17) Exercise good sense,
(18) Honor providence (or ‘forethought’),
(19) Do not make an oath,
(20) Love friendship,
(21) Hold on to education,
(22) Pursue glory,
(23) Strive for wisdom,
(24) Speak well of the noble,
(25) Do not defame anyone,
(26) Praise virtue,
(27) Do what is just,
(28) Be gracious to your friends,
(29) Ward off your enemies,
(30) Practise nobility,
(31) Shun evilness,
(32) Be impartial,
(33) Protect what is yours,
(34) Keep away from what is others’,
(35) Listen to everything,
(36) Be auspicious in speech,
(37) Be pleasant to your dear ones,
(38) Nothing too much,
(39) Save time,
(40) Look to the future,
(41) Hate violence,
(42) Honor suppliants,
(43) Fit in with everyone,
(44) Educate your sons,
(45) When you have, be generous,
(46) Fear deceit,
(47) Speak well of everyone,
(48) Be striving for wisdom,
(49) Choose what is holy,
(50) Act with knowledge,
(51) Shun murder,
(52) Pray for what is possible,
(53) Consult the wise,
(54) Examine your character,
(55) Give back when you have received,
(56) Do not look down on anyone,
(57) Act with skill,
(58) Give what you mean to,
(59) Honor generosity,
(60) Do not envy anyone,
(61) Keep up your guard,
(62) Approve of hope,
(63) Hate slander,
(64) Aquire justly,
(65) Honor good people,
(66) Know the judge,
(67) Control your marriages,
(68) Recognize Fortune,
(69) Avoid a pledge,
(70) Speak plainly,
(71) Have dealings with those like you,
(72) Control your expenses,
(73) Be happy with what you have,
(74) Have a sense of shame,
(75) Repay a favor,
(76) Pray for good fortune,
(77) Be content with Fortune,
(78) Observe and listen,
(79) Work for gain,
(80) Hate quarrel,
(81) Detest disgrace,
(82) Control your speech,
(83) Shun violence,
(84) Choose what is just,
(85) Make use of your possessions,
(86) Judge unswayed by bribes,
(87) Accuse the present,
(88) Speak with understanding,
(89) Have nothing to do with violence,
(90) Live without sorrow,
(91) Deal kindly,
(92) Reach the end without hesitation,
(93) Be courteous to everyone,
(94) Do not curse your sons,
(95) Control your wife,
(96) Treat yourself well,
(97) Be easy to speak to,
(98) Answer promptly,
(99) Labor with glory,
(100) Act without regret,
(101) Repent of your transgressions,
(102) Control your eye,
(103) Give counsel in time,
(104) Act at once,
(105) Protect friendship,
(106) Be grateful,
(107) Purse agreement,
(108) Hide what is secret,
(109) Fear what is powerful,
(110) Pursue what is useful,
(111) Await the right moment,
(112) Dissolve enmities,
(113) Accept old age,
(114) Do not boast about strength,
(115) Practice auspicious speech,
(116) Avoid enmity,
(117) Acquire wealth justly,
(118) Do not forsake good repute,
(119) Despise evilness,
(120) Take risks with caution,
(121) Do not grow weary of leaning,
(122) Do not cease being frugal,
(123) Hold oracles in awe,
(124) Love those you raise,
(125) Do not fight the absent.
(126) Honor your elder,
(127) Teach the young,
(128) Do not trust your wealth,
(129) Respect yourself,
(130) Do not begin violence,
(131) Honor your ancestors,
(132) Die for your fatherland,
(133) Do not despair of life,
(134) Do not mock the dead,
(135) Do not be troubled with the unlucky,
(136) Court favor without harm,
(137) Do not be distressed over everything,
(138) Have children with the wellborn,
(139) Do not make a promise to anyone,
(140) Do not wrong the dead,
(141) (Be content) to do well as a mortal,
(142) Do not trust your Fortune,
(143) As a child, be well-behaved, (144) as a youth, be in control of yourself, (145) in middle age, be just, (146) as an elder, be reasonable, (147) when you are dying, do not lament!