Stoic Quotes of Greatness

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

  • “Perfection of character: to live your last day, every day, without frenzy, or sloth, or pretence”
  • “Hour by hour resolve firmly to do what comes to hand with dignity, and with humanity, independence, and justice. Allow your mind freedom from all other considerations. This you can do, if you will approach each action as though it were your last, dismissing the desire to create an impression, the admiration of self, the discontent with your lot. See how little man needs to master, for his days to flow on in quietness and piety: he has but to observe these few counsels, and the gods will ask nothing more”


  • “Asked, Who is the rich man? Epictetus replied, He who is content”
  • “Small-minded people blame others. Average people blame themselves. The wise see all blame as foolishness”
  • “If any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone. For God hath made all men to enjoy felicity and constancy of good”
  • “As the sun does not wait for prayers and incantations to be induced to rise, but immediately shines and is saluted by all, so do you also not wait for clappings of hands and shouts of praise to be induced to do good, but be a doer of good voluntarily and you will be beloved as much as the sun”
  • “Be happy when you find that doctrines you have learned and analysed are being tested by real events. If you’ve succeeded in removing or reducing the tendency to be mean and critical, or thoughtless, or foul-mouthed, or careless, or nonchalant; if old interests no longer engage you, at least not to the same extent; then every day can be a feast day – today because you acquitted yourself well in one set of circumstances, tomorrow because of another”
  • “It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance”
  • “Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself”
Lucius Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

  • “Associate with people who are likely to improve you”
  • “To be always fortunate, and to pass through life with a soul that has never known sorrow, is to be ignorant of one half of nature”
  • “It is not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it”

Gaius Musonius Rufus

  • “Husband and wife should come together to craft a shared life, procreating children, seeing all things as shared between them-with nothing withheld or private to one another-not even their bodies. The birth of a human being which results from this union is, to be sure, something wonderful-but it isn’t yet enough to account for the relationship of husband and wife-since even outside marriage it could result from any other sexual union ( just as in the case of animals). So, in marriage there must be, above all, perfect companionship and mutual love – both in sickness, health and under all conditions-it should be with desire for this (and children) that both entered upon marriage”
  • “In marriage there must be complete companionship and concern for each other on the part of both husband and wife, in health and in sickness and at all times, because they entered upon the marriage for this reason as well as to produce offspring. When such caring for one another is perfect, and the married couple provide it for one another, and each strives to outdo the other, then this is marriage as it ought to be and deserving of emulation, since it is a noble union. But when one partner looks to his own interests alone and neglects the other’s, or (by Zeus) the other is so minded that he lives in the same house, but keeps his mind on what is outside it, and does not wish to pull together with his partner or to cooperate, then inevitably the union is destroyed, and although they live together their common interests fare badly, and either they finally get divorced from one another or they continue on in an existence that is worse than loneliness”
Gaius Rufus