The Full Wiki

Publilius Syrus: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Publilius (less correctly Publius) Syrus, a Latin writer of maxims, flourished in the 1st century BC. He was a Syrian who was brought as a slave to Italy, but by his wit and talent he won the favor of his master, who freed and educated him.

His mimes, in which he acted himself, had a great success in the provincial towns of Italy and at the games given by Caesar in 46 BC. Publilius was perhaps even more famous as an improviser, and received from Caesar himself the prize in a contest in which he vanquished all his competitors, including the celebrated Decimus Laberius.

All that remains of his works is a collection of Sentences (Sententiae), a series of moral maxims in iambic and trochaic verse. This collection must have been made at a very early date, since it was known to Aulus Gellius in the 2nd century AD. Each maxim consists of a single verse, and the verses are arranged in alphabetical order according to their initial letters. In the course of time the collection was interpolated with sentences drawn from other writers, especially from apocryphal writings of Seneca; the number of genuine verses is about 700. They include many pithy sayings, such as the famous "judex damnatur ubi nocens absolvitur" ("The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted") adopted as its motto by the Edinburgh Review.

As of 1911, the best texts of the Sentences are those of Eduard Wölfflin (1869), A. Spengel (1874), and Wilhelm Meyer (1880), with complete critical apparatus and index verborum; editions with notes by O. Friedrich (1880), R. A. H. Bickford-Smith (1895), with full bibliography; see also W. Meyer, Die Sammlungen der Spruchverse des Publilius Syrus (1877), an important work.


External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Publilius Syrus, a Latin writer of mimes, flourished in the 1st century BC. He was a native of Assyria ( Northern Iraq) and Assyrian by race, he was brought as a slave to Italy, but by his wit and talent he won the favour of his master, who freed and educated him.




Sententiae, a collection of maxims in verse form, given alphabetically (in Latin).

  • As men, we are all equal in the presence of death.
    • Maxim 1
  • Inopi beneficium bis dat, qui dat celeriter.
    • Translation: He doubly benefits the needy who gives quickly.
    • Maxim 6
  • To do two things at once is to do neither.
    • Maxim 7
  • The anger of lovers renews the strength of love.
    • Maxim 24
  • The loss which is unknown is no loss at all.
    • Maxim 38
  • Honesta fama melior pecunia est.
    • Translation: A good reputation is more valuable than money.
    • Maxim 108
  • He who helps the guilty, shares the crime.
    • Maxim 139
  • Many receive advice, few profit by it.
    • Maxim 149
  • While we stop to think, we often miss our opportunity.
    • Maxim 185
  • Whatever you can lose, you should reckon of no account.
    • Maxim 191
  • Honesta turpitudo est pro causa bona.
    • Translation: For a good cause, wrongdoing is virtuous.
    • Maxim 244
  • What is left when honor is lost?
    • Maxim 265
  • Fortune is not satisfied with inflicting one calamity.
    • Maxim 274
  • When Fortune is on our side, popular favor bears her company.
    • Maxim 275
  • Fortuna cum blanditur, captatum venit.
    • Translation: When Fortune flatters, she does it to betray.
    • Maxim 277
  • Fortuna uitrea est: tum cum splendet frangitur.
    • Fortune is like glass-the brighter the glitter, the more easily broken.
    • Maxim 280
  • Fortunam citius reperias quam retineas.
    • It is more easy to get a favor from Fortune than to keep it.
    • Maxim 282
  • There are some remedies worse than the disease.
    • Maxim 301
  • Amid a multitude of projects, no plan is devised.
    • Maxim 319
  • In sterculino plurimum gallus potest.
    • A cock has great influence on his own dunghill.
    • Maxim 357
  • In tranquillo esse quisque gubernator potest.
    • Translation: Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
    • Maxim 358
  • Treat your friend as if he might become an enemy.
    • Maxim 402
  • Iudex damnatur ubi nocens absolvitur.
    • Translation: The judge is condemned when the guilty is absolved.
    • Maxim 407
    • Adopted by the original Edinburgh Review magazine as its motto.
  • Practice is the best of all instructors.
    • Maxim 439
  • He who is bent on doing evil can never want occasion.
    • Maxim 459
  • Never find your delight in another's misfortune.
    • Maxim 467
  • It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.
    • Maxim 469
  • The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.
    • Maxim 511
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • Maxim 524
  • Never promise more than you can perform.
    • Maxim 528
  • No one should be judge in his own case.
    • Maxim 545
  • Nothing can be done at once hastily and prudently.
    • Maxim 557
  • We desire nothing so much as what we ought not to have.
    • Maxim 559
  • It is only the ignorant who despise education.
    • Maxim 571
  • Do not turn back when you are just at the goal.
    • Maxim 580
  • No man is happy who does not think himself so.
    • Maxim 584
  • Every day should be passed as if it were to be our last.
    • Maxim 633
  • Money alone sets all the world in motion.
    • Maxim 656
  • It is a very hard undertaking to seek to please everybody.
    • Maxim 675
  • Invitat culpam qui peccatum praeterit
    • Translation: Pardon one offence and you encourage the commission of many.
    • Maxim 750
  • It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity.
    • Maxim 780
  • No one knows what he can do till he tries.
    • Maxim 786
  • Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.
    • Maxim 847
  • Better to be ignorant of a matter than half know it.
    • Maxim 865
  • Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them.
    • Maxim 872
  • Stultum facit fortuna, quem vult perdere.
    • Whom Fortune wishes to destroy she first makes mad.
    • Maxim 911. One of the most famous renditions of the ancient Greek proverb (which is anonymous and dates to the 5th century BCE or earlier).
    • The provenance of the proverb and its English versions is at Wikipedia's Euripides page, under the heading "Misattributed."
  • Taciturnitas stulto homini pro sapientia est.
    • Translation: Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.
    • Maxim 914
  • It is a consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery.
    • Maxim 995
  • Proximum ab innocentia tenet locum verecunda peccati confessio.
    • Translation: Confession of our faults is the next thing to innocence.
    • Maxim 1060
  • I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.
    • Maxim 1070
  • Speech is a mirror of the soul: as a man speaks, so is he.
    • Maxim 1073


  • Familiarity breeds contempt.
  • Necessity knows no law except to conquer.
    • Attributed by By Advice of Counsel, Arthur Train
  • We should provide in peace what we need in war
  • Debt is the slavery of the free.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Book : The moral sayings of Publius Syrus, a roman slave
By : D. Lyman, Jun., A. M.
Ed : Barnard & company, 1856
book on google


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address