γνώθι σεαυτόν

A stained glass window with the contracted version γνωθι σαυτόν.

The saying “Know thyself” may refer by extension to the ideal of understanding human behavior, morals, and thought, because ultimately to understand oneself is to understand other humans as well. However, the ancient Greek philosophers thought that no man can ever comprehend the human spirit and thought thoroughly, so it would have been almost inconceivable to know oneself fully. Therefore, the saying may refer to a less ambitious ideal, such as knowing one’s own habits, morals, temperament, ability to control anger, and other aspects of human behavior that we struggle with on a daily basis.

It may also have a mystical interpretation. ‘Thyself’, is not meant in reference to the egotist, but the ego within self, the I AM consciousness.

Delphi became the site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo, as well as the Pythian Games and the famous prehistoric oracle. Even in Roman times, hundreds of votive statues remained, described by Pliny the Younger and seen by Pausanias. Supposedly carved into the temple were three phrases: γνωθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton = “know thyself”) and μηδέν άγαν (meden agan = “nothing in excess”), and Εγγύα πάρα δ’ατη (eggua para d’atē = “make a pledge and mischief is nigh”),[6] as well as a large letter E.[7] Among other things epsilon signifies the number 5. Plutarch’s essay on the meaning of the “E at Delphi” is the only literary source for the inscription. In ancient times, the origin of these phrases was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece,[8] though ancient as well as modern scholars have doubted the legitimacy of such ascriptions.[9] According to one pair of scholars, “The actual authorship of the three maxims set up on the Delphian temple may be left uncertain. Most likely they were popular proverbs, which tended later to be attributed to particular sages

Let no one destitute of geometry enter my doors.” Plato (c. 427 – 347 B.C.E.)

[Geometry is] . . . persued for the sake of the knowledge of what eternally exists, and not of what comes for a moment into existence, and then perishes, …[it] must draw the soul towards truth and give the finishing touch to the philosophic spirit.

***

See:

  • PLATO:Mathematician or Mystic ?
  • IN The Era of Quantum Gravity, will we be destitute?
  • This entry was posted in Plato, Plato's Cave and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

    14 Responses to γνώθι σεαυτόν

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hello. Could you please tell how to pronounce the phrase “Let no one destitute of geometry enter my doors” in its original Greek please??. Thanks!Regards,acy (acyuk_AT_hotmail.com)

    2. Aaron says:

      Hi, this is great information! THank you.One question: In the explanation – "Εγγύα πάρα δ'ατη (eggua para d'atē = "make a pledge and mischief is nigh"),[6] as well as a large letter E.", is the 'large letter E' the 'E' at the beginning of the greek phrase. I am a bit confused in this regard. Many thanks!

    3. Plato says:

      Hi Aaron,Tried following up on your question. I'll have to do some digging here.If you find anything let me know so I can add info on that point.Best,

    4. PlatoHagel says:

      Hi Aaron,Tried following up on your question. I'll have to do some digging here.If you find anything let me know so I can add info on that point.Best,

    5. Plato says:

      Just looking at sourcesDelphi became the site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo, as well as the Pythian Games and the famous prehistoric oracle. Even in Roman times, hundreds of votive statues remained, described by Pliny the Younger and seen by Pausanias. Supposedly carved into the temple were three phrases: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = "know thyself") and μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess"), and Ἑγγύα πάρα δ'ἄτη (engýa pára d'atē = "make a pledge and mischief is nigh"),[10] as well as a large letter E.[11] Among other things epsilon signifies the number 5. Plutarch's essay on the meaning of the "E at Delphi" is the only literary source for the inscription. In ancient times, the origin of these phrases was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece,[12] See:DelphiList of oracular statements from Delphi 440 BC?Seven Sages of Greece

    6. PlatoHagel says:

      Just looking at sourcesDelphi became the site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo, as well as the Pythian Games and the famous prehistoric oracle. Even in Roman times, hundreds of votive statues remained, described by Pliny the Younger and seen by Pausanias. Supposedly carved into the temple were three phrases: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = \”know thyself\”) and μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = \”nothing in excess\”), and Ἑγγύα πάρα δ'ἄτη (engýa pára d'atē = \”make a pledge and mischief is nigh\”),[10] as well as a large letter E.[11] Among other things epsilon signifies the number 5. Plutarch's essay on the meaning of the \”E at Delphi\” is the only literary source for the inscription. In ancient times, the origin of these phrases was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece,[12] See:DelphiList of oracular statements from Delphi 440 BC?Seven Sages of Greece

    7. Plato says:

      Epsilon (uppercase Ε, lowercase ε or lunate ϵ; Greek: Έψιλον) is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet, corresponding phonetically to a close-mid front unrounded vowel /e/. See: Epsilon

    8. PlatoHagel says:

      Epsilon (uppercase Ε, lowercase ε or lunate ϵ; Greek: Έψιλον) is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet, corresponding phonetically to a close-mid front unrounded vowel /e/. See: Epsilon

    9. Anonymous says:

      ageometritos midis isito e for aei for eanswer for "Let no one destitute of geometry enter my doors"

    10. Plato says:

      Thank you,See:….Know Thyself Been trying to track who really said this. Any info that may help?"Let no one ignorant of geometry enter" They indeed seem to be variations of.Why should anybody with common sense expect the academicians to be highly cited? Becausethe word ‘academy’ means a house in which knowledge is generated, debated, and transmitted. Thefi rst such institution was Plato’s Academia (387 BC, named after its quarter in Athens, which wasnamed after the sixth century BC mythical hero Academus). In modern times, ‘academia’ becamesynonymous with the highest peaks of idea generation and transmission. And, why not? The sciencedebated in the Academia was geometry and mechanics, i.e. the legs of engineering science today.Written above the entrance was outhis ageometritos isito (rough translation: the person who cannotthink geometrically cannot enter).TWO HIERARCHIES IN SCIENCE: THE FREEFLOW OF IDEAS AND THE ACADEMYBest,

    11. PlatoHagel says:

      Thank you,See:….Know Thyself Been trying to track who really said this. Any info that may help?\”Let no one ignorant of geometry enter\” They indeed seem to be variations of.Why should anybody with common sense expect the academicians to be highly cited? Becausethe word ‘academy’ means a house in which knowledge is generated, debated, and transmitted. Thefi rst such institution was Plato’s Academia (387 BC, named after its quarter in Athens, which wasnamed after the sixth century BC mythical hero Academus). In modern times, ‘academia’ becamesynonymous with the highest peaks of idea generation and transmission. And, why not? The sciencedebated in the Academia was geometry and mechanics, i.e. the legs of engineering science today.Written above the entrance was outhis ageometritos isito (rough translation: the person who cannotthink geometrically cannot enter).TWO HIERARCHIES IN SCIENCE: THE FREEFLOW OF IDEAS AND THE ACADEMYBest,

    12. Anonymous says:

      I propose to correct the image so in Greek: ἀγεωμὲτρητος μηδεὶς εἰσίτω (gcl, Lombardy)

    13. Plato Hagel says:

      Hi Anonymous,Could you link source for Lombardy?Best,

    14. PlatoHagel says:

      Hi Anonymous,Could you link source for Lombardy?Best,

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