The Delphic Maxims in Literature

The Delphic Maxims in Literature

The Delphic Maxims in Literature

The Delphic Maxims in Literature

Excerpt

This little volume is the outgrowth of several years of intermittent browsing in many books, and of a superficial scanning of many more as the quest for the Delphic maxims in literature has become increasingly absorbing. It was γνω + ̑θι σεαυτὸν and its meaning for the Greeks of old that started the quest; and when the results of that study had taken shape in the form of a dissertation on "'Know Thyself' in Greek and Latin Literature," there remained an awakened curiosity regarding what the Greeks and Romans had had to say about each of the other two maxims on the Delphic temple, and regarding the thoughts which the generations since A.D. 500 have expressed in connection with all three. The results of an investigation of μηδὲν ἄγαν and of ἐγγύα, πάρα δ̓ ἄτη in classical literature have been published in Classical Philology for 1926 and 1927, respectively. The results of the further query form the main body of the present work--that is, the greater part of chapter iii and the whole of chapters v-xi. Chapter I contains much of the material of the Introduction to "'Know Thyself' in Greek and Latin Literature," revised and brought up to date; and chapter iv consists of a résumé of the remainder of that work; while chapter ii and the first few pages of chapter iii are merely skeleton condensations of the above-named articles on the other two maxims. This earlier material is included here partly as a background for the later chapters, and partly for the purpose of gathering within the compass of one convenient little volume all that we know of consequence regarding the Delphic inscriptions and the thoughts to which they have given rise in men's minds.

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