Pittacus

, one of the seven sages of Greece, of whom some sayings are preserved, but not many particulars of his life, was born at Mitylene in the island of Lesbos, about 649 B. C. By his valour and abilities he obtained the sovereignty of his native city, which he employed only to lead the people to happiness, by giving them the best laws he could devise. Having fulfilled this task, and put his laws into verse, according to the fashion of the times, that they might be more easily remembered, he resigned his authority, and returned to a private life. His fellowcitizens would have rewarded his benefits by a large donation of land, but he positively refused to accept more than a circular portion, taking the cast of his javelin from the centre every way, as the measure of its circumference. “It is better,” he said, “to convince my country that I am sincerely disinterested, than to possess great riches.” He died about 579 B. C. aged seventy. Some of his sayings were, “The first office of prudence is to foresee threatening misfortunes, and prevent them. Power discovers the man. Never talk of your schemes before they are executed; lest, if you fail to accomplish them, you be exposed to the double mortification of disappointment and ridicule. Whatever you do, do it well. Do not that to your neighbour, which you would take ill from him. Be watchful for opportunities, &c.2

2

FeceSon’s Lives of the Philosophers. Brucker.