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‘And all their errors are in the way of excess and undue vehemence, contrary to Chilon's maxim (μηδὲν ἄγαν, ne quid nimis); for everything that they do is in excess; for their love is in excess, and their hatred in excess, and everything else in the same way. And they think they know everything, and therefore are given to positive assertion, which (this confidence in their own knowledge and judgment) in fact accounts for their tendency to excess in everything’. μηδὲν ἄγαν σπεύδειν: καιρὸς δ᾽ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἄριστος ἔργμασιν ἀνθρώπων (Theognis, 401, Bergk). “Cum enim omnia sibi nota esse putent, nec se labi posse credant, nihil timide tractant,” Victorius, who also quotes, in illustration of a ‘positive assertion’, Hist. Anim. VI (21. 3), ἔνιοι δὲ διισχυρίζονται δέκα μῆνας κύειν ἡμερολεγδόν (to the very day—counting the days throughout the month till you come to the very end). The word occurs again in the same sense Ib. c. 37. 5, and indeed is common enough in other authors.

Of Chilon, to whom is ascribed the famous proverb which inculcates moderation in all things—the earliest hint of the doctrine of ‘the mean’— an account may be found in Diog. Laert. 1 3. 68, seq., and in Mure's Hist. of Gk. Lit., Bk. III, c. 6 § 16, Vol. III, p. 392. He was a native of Lacedaemon, and his floruit is placed in 596 B.C. “Dubitatur quis sapientium auctor esset sententiae, μηδὲν ἄγαν. Palladas in Anthol. II 48. 1, μηδὲν ἄγαν τῶν ἑπτὰ σοφῶν σοφώτατος εἶπεν. Alii tribuunt Chiloni, alii Sodamo, teste Scholiasta nostro, qui epigramma laudat quod in Tegea exstabat, ταῦτ᾽ ἔλεγεν Σώδαμος Ἐπηράτου, ὅς μ̓ ἀνέθηκεν, μηδὲν ἄγαν, καιρῷ πάντα πρόσεστι καλά.” Monk, ad Eur. Hippol. 265. See also Valckenaer on the same passage. Diog. Laert., I 41, quotes the following epigram: ἦν Λακεδαιμόνιος Χείλων σοφός, ὃς τάδ᾽ ἔλεξε: μηδὲν ἄγαν: καιρῷ πάντα πρόσεστι καλά. Chilon and Sodamus are alike omitted in Smith's Dictionary of Biography.

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