Seven Sages of Ancient Greece
Western philosophy begins with the ancient Greeks and Greek philosophy begins with the so called Seven Sages of the 6th century B. C. The earliest reference to the Seven Sages is in Plato's dialogue entitled Protagoras where he names them as follows:
Such men were Thales of Miletus, Pittacus of Mitylene, Bias of Priene, Solon of our city [Athens], Cleobulus of Lindus, Myson of Chen, and, last of the traditional seven, Chilon of Sparta.
The 3rd Century A. D. philosopher, Diogenes Laertius, in his well known work entitled Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, provides the following list of sages
The men who were commonly regarded as sages were the following: Thales, Solon, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilon, Bias, Pittacus ... so much for the sages or wise men.
The list of Diogenes Laertius differs from that of Plato in that he cites Periander (of Corinth) rather than Myson of Chen; otherwise the lists are identical. The well known English mythologist, E. Cobham Brewer (1810–1897), made up a little poem on the subject:
First, Solon, who
made the Athenian laws,
Each sage is associated with certain terse and pithy sayings that purport to convey important philosophical truths; these sayings are called apothegms. The following table lists each sage together with his most commonly cited apothegm: