Publilius Syrus (circa 85 - 43 B.C.) was a Syrian slave who came to Rome, and was later freed. He became a famous mime (before mimes were required to be silent), and is known for a collection of wise-sounding sayings. He also won a mime contest against Gaius Lucilius.

Since his sayings were not collected until about 100 years after his death, it's not certain that he was indeed the originator of all of them.

AKA Publilii Syri Sententiae.

Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur
Even a god finds it hard to love and be wise at the same time.

Beneficium accipere libertatem est vendere
To accept a favor is to sell one's freedom.

Judet damnatur cum nocens absolvitur
A rogue acquitted is a judge condemned.

Ibi semper est victoria ubi concordia est
There is always victory when there is agreement.

Aut amat aut odit mulier; nil est tertium
A woman either loves or hates; there is no third.

Sine dolore est vulnus quod ferendum est cum victoria
A wound born in victory is a wound without pain.

Malum consilium quod mutari non potest
It is a bad plan that cannot be changed.

Mulier, cum sola cogitat, male cogitat
A woman, when she thinks alone, thinks badly.

(Some were wiser than others.)

Publilius (less correctly Publius) Syrus, a Latin writer of mimes, flourished in the 1st century B.C. He was a native of Syria and was brought as a slave to Italy, but by his wit and talent he won the favour of his master, who freed and educated him. His mimes, in which he acted himself, had a great success n the provincial towns of Italy and at the games given by Caesar in 46 B.C. Publilius was perhaps even more famous as an improvisatore, and received from Caesar himself the prize in a contest in which he vanquished all his competitors, including the celebrated Decimus Laberius.

All that remains of his works is a collection of Sentences (Sententiae), a series of moral maxims in iambic and trochaic verse. This collection must have been made at a very early date, since it was known to Aulus Iellius in the 2nd century A.D. Each maxim is comprised in a single verse, and the verses are arranged in alphabetical order according to their initial letters. In course of time the collection was interpolated with sentences drawn from other writers, especially from apocryphal writings of Seneca; the number of genuine verses is about 700. They include many pithy sayings, such as the famous "judex damnatur ubi nocens absolvitur" adopted as its motto by the Edinburgh Review).

The best texts of the Sentences are those of E. Wolfflin (1869) A. Spengel (1874) and W. Meyer (1880), with complete critical apparatus and index verborum; recent editions with notes by O. Friedrich (1880), R. A. H. Bickford-Smith (1895), with full bibliography; see also W. Meyer, Die Sammlungen der Spruchverse des Publilius Syrus (1877), an important work.

Being the entry for PUBLILIUS SYRUS in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.

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