The maxims of the Oracle at Delphi (Maxims of Delphi), the most famous religious location of
Greece for over 1000 years were made up of very brief quotations (two to five words) full of
wisdom and moral values. The subject matter they deal with varies from religious faith, to
obedience to law, how to treat friends, how to behave in a just manner, education, country, way
of life, happiness, etc.
These maxims, 147 in total, were inscribed in the frontal columns at the temple of the god
Apollo, at the Oracle of Delphi. They were copied on single marble tablets and were transported
to all parts of the Ancient Greek World, as the writing on paper or on parchment was not known
at the time.
It should be noted that these 147 maxims of Delphi embodied the complete universe of values for
the ancient Greeks. The number 147 equals 3 times 7 times 7 (or 3x7x7). The meanings of
numbers in the ancient Greek world were quite important.
Number 3 represents divine perfection, and in Pythagorean terms completion.
Number 4 represents the whole creation, as there are 4 seasons in a year, 4 winds, 4 directions, 4
elements (fire, water, air and , earth), etc.
Number 7 is the combination of 3 and 4, and represents the universe. Also Apollo’s lyre (musical
instrument) had 7 strings, there were 7 sages, etc. In Pythagorean terms 7 is a cosmic number
with 3 of heaven and 4 of the world. Number 147, being 3x7x7, represented all divine values for
all universes (a universe of a universe).
Most, if not all, of these maxims (e.g., ‘Follow God’, ‘Obey the law’, ‘Worship God’, ‘Respect
your parents’, etc.) have been attributed to the seven sages of Ancient Greece: Thales, Pittacos,
Bias, Solon, Cleovoulos, Periandros, and Chilon, who are also credited of having their own
quotations, as well. For a full list of these maxims, quotations and sayings see my book ‘Pearls of
Wisdom of the 7 Sages of Ancient Greece’ at Amazon.
Ethical maxims and quotations play a significant role in shaping our every-day life and social
interactions with others, as they embody simple rules to memorize and follow and thus make our
life easier as they provide a level of assurance that we are doing the right and accepted thing.
These Oracle of Delphi maxims and the quotations and sayings of the Seven Sages cover all
areas of living, such as:
1. Religiosity (faith, worship, religious behavior, God, praying, etc.),
2. Governance (protect home country, society, laws, ruling),
3. Managing Property (wealth, protection of self and property, profit, finance, etc.),
4. Principles, Virtues and Values for Association with Others (friendship and love, peace and
hate, anger, justice, honor, goodness, murder and vice, wisdom, mercy and forgiveness, and
5. Personal Skills (self-control, efficiency, effectiveness, hope, fortune, etc.),
6. Knowledge, Education and Training, presented in Chapter 9, and
7. Family, Values and Conduct in Life (marriage, family, wife, children and parents, conduct
and virtues during life, and death).
How all of these can support and help you improve your life is described in detail in my book
‘Pre-Classical Greek Wisdom for a Better Life’, available at:
*John Kyriazoglou, CICA, B.A (Hon-University of Toronto, Canada)
Greek-Canadian Author, Business Thinker, and Management Consultant