Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

Roman Statesman, Letter Writer, Lawyer, Author and Magistrate of Ancient Rome

"Prosperity proves [tries] the fortunate, adversity the great."

"The highest of characters, in my estimation, is his who is as ready to pardon the moral errors of mankind as if he were every day guilty of some himself; and at the same time as cautious of committing a fault as if he never forgave one."

"We are never so virtuous as when we are ill."

"Worse than hatred is pretense of love."

"An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit."

"As in our lives so also in our studies, it is most becoming and most wise, so to temper gravity with cheerfulness, that the former may not imbue our minds with melancholy, nor the latter degenerate into licentiousness."

"History, however it is written, always pleases [History, in whatever way it may be executed, is a great source of pleasure]."

"Human nature craves novelty."

"It is generally much more shameful to lose a good reputation than never to have acquired it."

"It is this earth that, like a kind mother, receives us at our birth, and sustains us when born; it is this alone, of all the elements around us, that is never found an enemy of man."

"He died full of years and of honors, equally illustrious by those he refused as by those he accepted."

"Simple diet is best."

"That disease is most serious which proceeds from the head."

"The greatest business of a man is to improve his mind and govern his manners; all other projects and pursuits, whether in our power to compass or not, are only amusements."

"Wine takes away reason, engenders insanity, leads to thousands of crimes, and imposes such an enormous expense on nations."

"A strong sense of injury often gives point to the expression of our feelings. "

"And as in men's bodies, so in government, that disease is most serious which proceeds from the head."

"As a fresh wound shrinks from the hand of the surgeon, then gradually submits to and even calls for it; so a mind under the first impression of a misfortune shuns and rejects all comfort, but at length, if touched with tenderness, calmly and willingly resigns itself."

"Besides, as is usually the case, we are much more affected by the words which we hear, for though what you read in books may be more pointed, yet there is something in the voice, the look, the carriage, and even the gesture of the speaker, that makes a deeper impression upon the mind."

"Everyone is prejudiced in favor of his own powers of discernment, and will always find an argument most convincing if it leads to the conclusion he has reached for himself; everyone must then be given something he can grasp and recognize as his own idea."

"Everyone must be given something he can grasp and recognize as his own idea. "

"Example, the surest method of instruction."

"For a dear bargain is always annoying, particularly on this account, that it is a reflection on the judgment of the buyer."

"For however often a man may receive an obligation from you, if you refuse a request, all former favors are effaced by this one denial. "

"Generosity, when once set going, knows not how to stop; as the more familiar we are with the lovely form, the more enamored we become of her charms."

"Glory ought to be the consequence, not the motive of our actions."

"Greed for ownership has taken such a hold of us that we seem to be possessed by wealth rather than to possess it."

"Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen."

"History ought to be guided by strict truth; and worthy actions require nothing more."

"However often you may have done them a favor, if you once refuse they forget everything except your refusal."

"I contemplate the sort of friend, the sort of man I am now without. He completed his sixty-seventh year, a reasonable age for the sturdiest of us; I acknowledge that. He escaped from an interminable illness; I acknowledge that. He died with his dear ones surviving him, and at a time of prosperity for the state, which was dearer to him than all else; that too I acknowledge. Yet I lament his death as though he were young and in glowing health. I lament it—you can consider me a weakling in this—on my own account, for I have lost the witness, guardian and teacher of my life."

"In the pleading of cases nothing pleases so much as brevity."

"Individuals indeed may deceive and be deceived; but no one has ever deceived all men, nor have all men ever deceived any one."

"It is better to excel in any single art than to arrive only at mediocrity in several, so moderate skill in several is to be preferred where one cannot attain to perfection in any. "

"It is difficult to retain what you may have learned unless you should practice it. "

"It is remarkable how one’s wits are sharpened by physical exercise."

"It is to me a peculiarly noble work rescuing from oblivion those who deserve immortality, and extending their renown at the same time that we advance our own."

"Men are generally more pleased with a widespread than with a great reputation."

"Moderate skill in several arts is to be preferred where one cannot attain to perfection in any. "

"Necessity, that excellent master, hath taught me many things."

"Never do a thing concerning the rectitude of which you are in doubt."

"Nevertheless it is allowed to poets to lie. (Poetical license.)"

"No one has deceived the whole world, nor has the whole world ever deceived any one."

"Nothing is more unequal than equality itself."

"Objects which are usually the motives of our travels by land and sea are often overlooked and neglected if they lie under our eye... We put off from time to time going and seeing what we know we have an opportunity of seeing when we please."

"Our inquisitive disposition is excited by having its gratification deferred."

"Since it is not granted us to live long, let us transmit to posterity some memorial that we have at least lived."

"That indolent but agreeable condition of doing nothing. "

"The erection of a monument is superfluous; the memory of us will last, if we have deserved it in our lives."

"The first essential is to be content with your own lot; the second, to support and assist those you know to be most in need, embracing them all within the circle of your friendship."