Publilius Syrus

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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

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