Chilon of Sparta, Sage of Greece

- Image ID: HRP1JT
Chilon of Sparta, Sage of Greece
Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: HRP1JT
Chilon, Legislator & Philosopher of Sparta by Jan Muller, engraving, 1615. Chilon of Sparta (6th century BC) was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. In his elder years, he became instrumental in the political reorganization of Sparta. Through his machinations, the Ephors gained more power in order to check the Kings by linking an Ephor as watcher over the Kings' generalship in time of war. He is credited with laying the groundwork for the Peloponnesian League created through a treaty with Tegea. While the Athenians contended that women were permanent children with brains incapable of developing rational thought, Sparta's greatest philosopher encouraged his daughter to study under Pythagoras, the greatest of his contemporaries. He was also a poet who wrote a great number of elegiac verses. He was known for his laconic wit, and his belief in prudence, self-restraint, and careful judgment. "Think before you speak", "Do not speak evil of the dead" and "Know thyself" are a few of the saying credited to him. Legend claims that he died of joy when his son gained the prize for boxing at the Olympic games, and that his funeral was attended by all the Greeks assembled at the festival.