Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Euripides

480 – 406 BCE

Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today

Radical influence for the good, for equality, compassion, and understanding; Euripides became the best playwright of all time actively fighting against oppression, inequality, superstition, and war. He depicted the gods of his time as childish fantasies, women as the best civilizing force for men, ancient heroes as ordinary people, and sympathy as the best attitude toward all victims of war and social inequalities. Frequently shocking the status quo, he became the foundation for ancient education and the greatest ancient intellectual Greek inspiration, a force that continued through history, inspired the 18th and 19th century humanitarianism, and continues today.

Lineages
Greek Poets

Eras

Sources

Bacchae Βάκχαι

Suppliants

Trojan Women

Unlisted Sources

Andromach (426 BCE)

Hecuba

Heracles (422 BCE)

Orestes

Phoenician Women

The Suppliant Women (421 BCE)

Quotes by Euripides (55 quotes)

“He who believes needs no explanation.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

Themes: Belief

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“Knowledge is not wisdom.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

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“Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.”

Chapters: 69. No Enemy

Themes: Love

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“Not too little, not too much: there safety lies.”

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage
77. Stringing a Bow

Themes: Middle Way

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“Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.”

Chapters: 70. Inscrutable

Themes: Inscrutable

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“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”

Chapters: 41. Distilled Life

Themes: Projection

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“The man is happiest who lives from day to day and asks no more, garnering the simple goodness of life.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“The wisest men follow their own direction.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Themes: Teachers

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“Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make angry.”

Chapters: 63. Easy as Hard

Themes: Anger

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“To generous souls every task is noble.”

Chapters: 64. Ordinary Mind

Themes: Appreciation

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“Who knoweth if to die be but to live, and that called life by mortals be but death?”

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage

Themes: Death and Dying

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“Oh vain is man who glories in his joy and has no fears, while to and fro the chances of the years dance like an idiot in the wind!”

from Trojan Women

Themes: Ignorance

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“That mortal is a fool who, prospering, thinks his life has any strong foundation”

from Trojan Women

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage

Themes: Success

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“our fortune's course of action is the reeling way a madman takes”

from Trojan Women

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“What else but tears is now my hapless lot, whose country, children, husband, all are lost”

from Trojan Women

Themes: Family Marriage

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“Sail with the stream, and follow fortune’s tack, steer not your ship of life against the tide, since chance must guide thy course.”

from Trojan Women

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

Themes: Letting Go

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“Love makes time pass. Time makes love pass.”

Themes: Time Carpe diem

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“The greatest pleasure of life is love.”

Themes: Pleasure Love

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“There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy change.”

Chapters: 46. Enough

Themes: Change Paradox

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“This city is not ruled by one man, but is free. The people rule in succession year by year, allowing no preference to wealth, but the poor man shares equally with the rich.”

from Suppliants

Themes: Democracy

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“Hope is man's curse... whenever a city has to vote on a question of war, not man ever takes his own death into account but shifts this misfortune to his neighbor”

from Suppliants

Themes: Hope War

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“On, on! Run, dance, delirious, possessed! You, the beauty and grace of golden Tmolus... sing for joy. Like a foal with its mother at pasture, runs and leaps for joy every daughter of Bacchus.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

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“They will say I have no sense of what befits my age but they will be wrong. It's a happy thing to forget one's age. The gods have drawn no distinction between young and old, which should dance and which should not.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

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“To stand from Fear set free, to breathe and wait; to hold a hand uplifted over Hate; what else is Wisdom?”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Hate Wisdom Fear

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“Do not mistake the rule of force for true power. Men are not shaped by force.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Power Aggression

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“Zeus and Hera were arguing about who got more pleasure from sex: men or women. To settle the argument, they called for Tiresias, who had lived as both. Tiresias took the side of Zeus, saying that women’s pleasure was greater, and Hera, in her fury, turned him blind.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

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“Ten thousand men possess ten thousand hopes. A few bear fruit in happiness; the others go awry. But he who garners day by day the good life, he is happiest.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Happiness Hope

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“The earth flows with milk, flows with wine, flows with nectar of bees;
Possessed, ecstatic, he leads their happy cries;
Run, dance, delirious, possessed! Sing for joy, praise Dionysus, god of joy!”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Sacred World

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“We run with the god of laughter;
Labor is joy and weariness is sweet”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

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“Holiness is a word I love to hear. It sounds like wings to me, wings brushing the world, grazing my life.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

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“Power and eloquence in a headstrong man can only lead to folly; and such a man is a danger to the state.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Leadership

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“I count it madness and know no cure can mend
The evil man and his evil way.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Evil

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“Pride more than age hastens life to its end;
And they who in pride pretend
Beyond man's limit, will lose what lay
Close to their hand and sure.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

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“Wise words sleep in a foolish ear.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Contemplation

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“I go to lead my sisters by the hand
To share my wretche ness in a foreign land.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Suffering

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“Gods manifest themselves in many forms,
Bring many matters to surprising ends;
The things we thought would happen do not;
The unexpected occurs.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: God Illusion

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“You rely on force; but it is not force that governs human affairs.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Aggression

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“Wise words sleep in a foolish ear.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Poetry

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“You do not know what life you live, or what you do, or who you are.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Know Yourself

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“Greedy for sights you should not see, impatient for deeds you should not do... he who best enjoys each passing day is truly blessed.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

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“The noblest thing a man can have is a humble and quiet heart... the wisest thing for a man to possess, if he but use it.”

from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: Humility

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“Of all things that have life and sense, we women are the most hapless creatures; first must we buy a husband at great price, and then o'er ourselves a tyrant set, which is an evil worse than the first.”

from Trojan Women

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“This is slavery, not to speak one's thought.”

Themes: Slavery

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“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”

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“Waste not fresh tears over old griefs.”

Themes: Letting Go

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“Oh vain is man,
Who glories in his joy and has no fears;
While to and fro the chances of the years
Dance like an idiot in the wind!”

from Trojan Women

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“How are ye blind, ye treaders down of cities,
Ye that cast temples to desolation and lay waste tombs,
The untrodden sanctuaries where lie
The ancient dead; yourselves so soon to die.”

from Trojan Women

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“Beat, beat the crownless head,
Rend the cheek till the tears run red!
O thou whose wound was deepest,
Thou that my children keepest
Gather me where thou sleepest.”

from Hecuba

Themes: Aggression

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“To die is only not to be
Fallen from peace. All that men praise us for...
The thoughts of mine own heart, I craved no more.”

from Trojan Women

Themes: Emptiness Peace

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“Dead men have no victory.”

from Phoenician Women

Themes: Victory

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“People that seem so glorious are all show; underneath they're just like everybody else.”

from Andromach (426 BCE)

Themes: Fame

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“Oh, what a vileness human beauty is
corroding, corrupting everything it touches!”

from Orestes

Themes: Beauty

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“To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man. The coward despairs.”

from Heracles (422 BCE)

Themes: Perseverance

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“Keep alive the light of justice,
And much that men say in blame will pass you by.”

from The Suppliant Women (421 BCE)

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“Men are men, they needs must err.”

Themes: Mistakes

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Quotes about Euripides (7 quotes)

“Have all the nations of the world since his time produced one dramatist worthy to hand Euripides his slippers?”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749 – 1832 CE via Will Durant

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“Euripides was the arch-heretic, miserably disturbing, never willing to leave a man comfortably ensconced in his favorite convictions and prejudices... No poet's ear has ever been so sensitively attuned as his to the still, sad music of humanity.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE
from The Greek Way

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“With all the power of Shakespeare, this reckless dramatist—strong enough to speak out, brave enough in the very fever of war to show its futile bestiality and brave enough to show the Greeks to the Greeks as barbarians in victory, and their enemies as heroes in defeat—became a denouncer of slavery, critic and understanding defender of women, doubter of all certainties, and lover of all men.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE via Shan Dao, editor
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time

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“In the hands of Euripides, tragedy degenerated into a human rather than a divine passion, a sophistical sermon to propagandize new ideas. It lost its tragic essence and perished... Greek tragedy abruptly vanished. It was murdered by logical analysis.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE via P. A. Bien
from Report to Greco

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“If I were certain that the dead have consciousness, I would hang myself to see Euripides.”

Philemon Φιλήμων 362 – 262 BCE
Athenian poet and “New Comedy” playwright

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“Euripides saw war as completely evil and he wrote the greatest anti-war piece of literature there is, the Trojan Women, but from first to last, he never mounts the pulpit.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE
from Roman Way

Themes: War

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“As every poet must be, Euripides is above all sensitive; he feels the problems of mankind intensely and express them with passion; he is the most tragic and the most human of dramatists. He created living individuals replacing operations of destiny with psychological analysis.”

Will (and Ariel) Durant 1885 – 1981 CE via Shan Dao
from Life of Greece

Themes: Fate / Destiny

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