My dear Kacvey,

Diogenes Laertius wrote that Periander was born in Corinth and ruled Corinth for 40 years (625-585 B.C.) He died at the age of eighty.

Aristotle and Plato disagreed on Periander being a sage: Aristotle maintained that he was a sage; Plato, however, denied this.

According to Ephorus, Periander wowed that, if he won the victory at Olympia in the chariot-race, he would set up a golden statue. When the victory was won, being in sore straits for gold, he despoiled the women of all the ornaments which he had seen them wearing at some local festival. He was thus enabled to send the votive offering.

When some one asked him why he was a tyrant, he replied: Because it is as dangerous to retire voluntarily as to be dispossessed.

To him belong the maxim: Never do anything for money; leave gain to trades pursued for gain.

Here are other sayings of his:

  • Rest is beautiful.
  • Rashness has its perils.
  • Gain is ignoble.
  • Democracy is better than tyranny.
  • Pleasures are transient; honours are immortal.
  • Be moderate in prosperity, prudent in adversity.
  • Be the same to your friends whether they are in prosperity or in adversity.
  • Whatever agreement you make, stick to it.
  • Betray no secret.
  • Correct not only the offenders but also those who are on the point of offending.

There is a story he did not wish the place where he was buried to be known, and to that end contrived the following device. He ordered two young men to go out at night by a certain road which he pointed out to them; they were to kill the man they met and bury him. He afterwards ordered four more to go in pursuit of the two, kill them and bury them; again, he dispatched a larger number in pursuit of the four. Having taken these measures, he himself encountered the first pair and was slain.

His apothegm is: “Practice makes perfect.”

Kacvey, thus ends the series of the Seven Sages.