My dear Kacvey,
Diogenes Laertius wrote that Bias was born in Priene, circa 570 B.C. Satyrus placed him at the head of the Seven Sages.
Bias was a very effective pleader that Demodicus of Leros made reference in this line: “If you happen to be prosecuting a suit, plead as they do at Priene.”
Being asked “What is sweet to men,” Bias answered: “Hope.” He also said he would rather decide a dispute between two of his enemies than between two of his friends; for in the latter case he would be certain to make one of his friends his enemy, but in the former case he would make one of his enemies his friend.
Asked what occupation gives a man most pleasure, he replied “Making money.”
He advised men to measure life as if they had both a short and a long time to live; to love their friends as if they would some day hate them, the majority of mankind being bad.
Bias gave this advice:
– Be slow to set about an enterprise, but persevere in it steadfastly when once it is undertaken.
– Do not be hasty of speech, for that is a sign of madness.
– Cherish wisdom.
– If a man is unworthy, do not praise him because of his wealth.
– Gain your point by persuasion, not by force.
– Make wisdom your provision for the journey from youth to old age; for it is a more certain support than other possessions.
Bias died in the court-house in the arms of his grandson after pleading in the defense of a client. Diogenes Laertius left this epitaph in his honor:
“Here Bias rests. A quiet death laid low
The aged head which years had strewn with snow.
His pleading done, his friend preserved from harms,
A long sleep took him in his grandson’s arms.”
Bias famous apothegm is: “Most men are bad.”