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[3] Although all the different forms are included under the same name, the oldest type of sententia, and that in which the term is most correctly applied, [p. 283] is the aphorism, called γνώμη by the Greeks. Both the Greek and the Latin names are derived from the fact that such utterances resemble the decrees or resolutions of public bodies. The term, however, is of wide application (indeed, such reflexions may be deserving of praise even when they have no reference to any special context), and is used in various ways. Sometimes it refers merely to things, as in the sentence: “There is nothing that wins the affections of the people more than goodness of heart.1” Occasionally, again, they may have a personal reference, as in the following utterance of Domitius Afer: “The prince who would know all, must needs ignore much.”

1 Cic. pro Lig. xii. 37.

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