Sages of Greece, Seven. Solon, Chilo, Pittacus, Bias, Periander, Cleobulus, and Thales are those most generally named as the seven wise men of Greece. Solon was compelled to engage in commercial adventures, and the celebrated law-giver sought foreign shores. His work on returning to Athens was that of a patriot, who sought earnestly to compose the distractions, social and political, which then rent the city. His motto was, "Know thyself." Chilo was a Spartan, who early directed his attention to public affairs, and many of whose maxims are quoted by the ancient writers; one of the most famous of these was "Consider the end." Pittacus was a native of Mitylene, in Lesbos, became a soldier, rose to supreme power in the State, acted with great patriotism, placed severe restrictions on drunkenness, and having done much for the people, voluntarily resigned his power. "Know thy opportunity," is attributed to him. Bias, a native of Ionia, was a poetical philosopher, who studied the laws of his country. Said Bias: "Most men are bad." Periander was distinguished for his love of science and literature, which entitled him to be ranked among the seven wise men of Greece. Of Cleobulus, of the island of Rhodes, but little is known. His favorite maxim was, "Moderation is best." Thales, a celebrated philosopher, born at Miletus, and founder of the Ionic sect, traveled like Solon in quest of knowledge, and learned geometry, philosophy, and astronomy. He is said also to have invented several fundamental propositions which were afterward incorporated into the elements of Euclid. He approached so near to the knowledge of the true length of the solar revolutions that he corrected the Greek calendar year to contain 365 days.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia