“Know yourself,” the most famous of the Delphic Maxims, was carved into the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in the sixth century B.C. This precept and others on the famous list of 147 maxims speak to us across time with candor and insight about fundamental experiences-love, friendship, work-and about daily matters such as debt, reward, gossip, and goals.
The Stoics-for whom the Delphic Maxims were as familiar as the ABCs are to us-based their philosophy on the idea that right living leads to happiness. The pithy, practical “commandments” that formed their thinking cut straight to heart of the matter, telling us how to be fulfilled, content, at ease with others and ourselves-in short, how to be happy.
Both canny and comforting, the Delphic Maxims offer centuries-year-old wisdom for navigating the pitfalls of our nature and making the most of lives.