Theophrastus

When we are beginning to live, then we are dying. There is, therefore, nothing more profitless than ambition.

Theophrastus (c. 370 BC – c. 286 BC) was a Greek ethical, metaphysical and natural philosopher. He was a follower of Aristotle, and succeeded him as head of the Peripatetic school.

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  • The Unseasonable man is one who will go up to a busy person, and open his heart to him. He will serenade his mistress when she has a fever. He will address himself to a man who has been cast in a surety-suit, and request him to become his security. He will come to give evidence when the trial is over.
    • Characters ch. 9 (12); translation from R. C. Jebb and J. E. Sandys (trans.) The Characters of Theophrastus (London: Macmillan, 1909) p. 75.
  • Superstition would seem to be simply cowardice in regard to the supernatural.
    • Characters ch. 28 (16); translation from R. C. Jebb and J. E. Sandys (trans.) The Characters of Theophrastus (London: Macmillan, 1909) p. 139.
  • If you are an ignorant man, you are acting wisely; but if you have had any education, you are behaving like a fool.
    • Quoted by Diogenes Laërtius; translation from C. D. Yonge (trans.) The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (London: H. G. Bohn, 1853) p. 196.
    • Said "when a man preserved a strict silence during the whole of a banquet".
  • Remember that life holds out many pleasing deceits to us by the vanity of glory; for that when we are beginning to live, then we are dying. There is, therefore, nothing more profitless than ambition.
    • Quoted by Diogenes Laërtius; translation from C. D. Yonge (trans.) The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (London: H. G. Bohn, 1853) p. 196.
    • His dying words.

Quotes about TheophrastusEdit

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Last modified on 5 January 2014, at 08:29