Last modified on 16 April 2014, at 21:49

Bion of Borysthenes

Boys throw stones at frogs in fun, but the frogs do not die in fun, but in earnest.

Bion of Borysthenes (c. 325 – c. 250 BC) was a Greek philosopher closely allied to the Cynic school, who was famous in the ancient world for his witty remarks.

QuotesEdit

  • Good slaves are free, but bad free men are slaves of many passions.
    • As quoted by Stobaeus, iii.1.18
  • How stupid it was for the king to tear out his hair in grief, as if baldness were a cure for sorrow.
    • As quoted by Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, iii. 26
  • It hurts the bald-head just as much as the thatched-head to have his hairs plucked.
    • As quoted by Seneca, On Tranquility of the Mind
  • Boys throw stones at frogs in fun, but the frogs do not die in fun, but in earnest.
    • Variant translation: Boys throw stones at frogs for fun, but the frogs don't die for "fun", but in sober earnest.
    • As quoted by Plutarch, Moralia, xii. 66
  • Love of money is the mother-city (metropolis) of all evils.
    • As quoted by Stobaeus, iii.10.37
  • Just as the good actor perform well whatever role the poet assigns, so too must the good man perform whatever Fortune assigns. For she, says Bion, just like a poet, sometimes assigns the leading role, sometimes that of the supporting role; sometimes that of a king, sometimes that of a beggar. Do not, therefore, being a supporting actor, desire the role of the lead.
    • As quoted by Teles of Megara, fr. 2, On Self-Sufficiency
  • Therefore we should not try to alter circumstances but to adapt ourselves to them as they really are, just as sailors do. They don't try to change the winds or the sea but ensure that they are always ready to adapt themselves to conditions. In a flat calm they use the oars; with a following breeze they hoist full sail; in a head wind they shorten sail or heave to. Adapt yourself to circumstances in the same way.
    • As quoted by Teles of Megara, fr. 2, On Self-Sufficiency
  • The road to Hades is easy to travel; at any rate men pass away with their eyes shut.
  • Once when Bion was at sea in the company of some wicked men, he fell into the hands of pirates; and when the rest said, "We are undone if we are known," – "But I," said he, "am undone if we are not known."
  • Referring to a wealthy miser he said, "He has not acquired a fortune; the fortune has acquired him."
  • Bion insisted on the principle that "The property of friends is common."

External LinksEdit

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