My dear Kacvey,

Diogenes Laertius told that Cleobulus was born at Lindus circa 600 B.C.

He was the author of songs and riddles, one of which is preserved up to today:
One sire there is, he has twelve sons, and each of these twice thirty daughters different in feature; some of the daughters are white, the others again are black; they immortal, yet they all die.” Kacvey, the answer to this riddle is at the bottom of the page. (*)

Of his songs and advice, the most popular are:

  • It is want of taste that reigns most widely among mortals and multitude of words; but due season will serve.
  • Set your mind on something good.
  • Do not become thoughtless or rude.
  • Girls need to be educated as well as boys.
  • We should render a service to a friend to bind him closer to us, and to an enemy in order to make a friend of him. For we have to guard against the censure of friends and the intrigues of enemies.
  • When anyone leaves his house, let him first inquire what he means to do; and on his return let him ask himself what he has effected.
  • Be a listener rather than a talker.
  • Choose instruction rather than ignorance.
  • Refrain from ill-omened words.
  • Be friendly to virtue, hostile to vice.
  • Shun injustice.
  • Counsel the state for the best.
  • Do not be overcome by pleasure.
  • Do nothing by violence.
  • Put an end to enmity.
  • Avoid being affectionate to your wife , or quarreling with her, in the presence of strangers; for the one savours of folly, the other of madness.
  • Mate with one of your own rank; for if you take a wife who is superior to you, her kinsfolk will become your masters.
  • When men are being bantered, do not laugh at their expense, or your will incur their hated.
  • Do not be arrogant in prosperity; if you fall into poverty, do not humble yourself.
  • Know how to bear the changes of fortune with nobility.

His apothegm is: “Moderation is best.”

(*) And the answer is, “The year.”