Pittacus of Mytilene

ancient Greek philosopher and politician

Pittacus of Mytilene (c. 640-568 BC), Greek statesman and philosopher, one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

Bust of Pittacus, Roman copy of a Greek original of the Late Classical period, Louvre


  • Forgiveness is better than revenge.
    • As quoted by Diogenes Laërtius in Life of Pittacus, i. 76, citing Heraclitus as his source.
    • Pittacus made this remark to justify his release of his captured enemy Alcaeus.
    • According to William Shepard Walsh, in Handy-book of Literary Curiosities (1892), p. 392, Epictetus, quoting from the same source, gives the phrase thus: "Forgiveness is better than punishment; for the one is proof of a gentle, the other of a savage, nature."
  • Even the Gods cannot strive against necessity.
  • Do not say before hand what you are going to do; for if you fail, you will be laughed at.
  • Do not reproach a man with his misfortunes, fearing lest Nemesis may overtake you.
  • Cultivate truth, good faith, experience, cleverness, sociability, and industry.
  • Whatever you rebuke your neighbor for, do not do it yourself.
    • Apophthegms of the Seven Sages, in Early Greek Philosophy: Beginnings and Ionian Thinkers, Loeb Classical Library Volume 525 (2016), p. 145
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