The philosophy of the ancient Syrian-Roman Publius Syrus defies easy categorization. Part Stoic, part Epicurean, and even part Sceptic and Cynic, the wit and wisdom of this former slave turned playwright transcends doctrine and embraces humanism. His dramatic works are all but lost – what remains is a collection of over one thousand one-line quotations known as The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus – A Roman Slave. With a brevity and insight that would make Oscar Wilde proud, Syrus summarizes an astonishing range of human emotions in his memorable epigrams. Some of the topics may be antiquated but the insight is timeless. We don’t need to attend a Roman circus to appreciate the line:
The gladiator lays his plans after he enters the arena.
Here are some more:
The bow too tensely strung is easily broken.
It is a consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery.
No pleasure endures unseasoned by variety.
The judge is condemned, when the criminal is acquitted.
Never promise more than you can perform.
Prosperity has no power over adversity.
Also included is a brief biography of Publius Syrus.Biographie de l'auteur :
Publius Syrus (fl. 46–29 BC), was a Latin writer of sententiae. He was a Syrian who 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.
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