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The muse Calliope surrounded by Socrates and the Seven Sages - Solon, Thales, Bias of Priene, Cleobulos, Periander, Pittacus of Mytilene and Chilon. (anticlockwise). Mosaic from the late 3rd century AD.

Cleobulus was a native of Lindus, and the son of Evagoras. He studied philosophy in Egypt; and had a daughter named Cleobulina, who used to compose enigmas in hexameter verse, that were said to be of no less significance than his own. It is said that he restored the temple of Minerva which had been built by Danaus.

He used to compose songs and sayings in verse to the number of three thousand lines. Diogenes Laertius presents these lines:

"I am a brazen maiden lying here Upon the tomb of Midas. And as long As water flows, as trees are green with leaves, As the sun shines and eke the silver moon, As long as rivers flow, and billows roar, So long will I upon this much wept tomb, Tell passers by, "Midas lies buried here."

(Diogenes Laertius, Book I, Chapter: The Life of Cleobulus)

Some of his sayings were:

  • " Ignorance and talkativeness bear the chief sway among men."
  • "Cherish not a thought."
  • "Do not be fickle, or ungrateful."
  • "Be fond of hearing rather than of talking."
  • "Be fond of learning rather than unwilling to learn."
  • "Seek virtue and eschew vice."
  • "Be superior to pleasure."
  • "Instruct one's children."
  • "Be ready for reconciliation after quarrels."
  • "Avoid injustice."
  • "Do nothing by force."
  • "Moderation is the best thing."

He died as an old man of seventy.

Reference

The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius (On-line version: [1]

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