The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles , and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine...
. The oft-cited first sentence of this work (see Ars longa, vita brevis
Ars longa, vita brevis
Ars longa, vita brevis are the first two lines of a Latin translation of an aphorism by Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. The words are commonly translated in English as art is long, life is short. The full text in Latin is:...
The term was later applied to maxims of physical science, then statements of all kinds of philosophical, moral, or literary principles. In modern usage an aphorism is generally understood to be a concise statement containing a subjective truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...
or observation cleverly and pithily written.
Aphoristic collections, sometimes known as wisdom literature
Wisdom literature is the genre of literature common in the Ancient Near East. This genre is characterized by sayings of wisdom intended to teach about divinity and about virtue...
, have a prominent place in the canons of several ancient societies, such as the Sutra
Sūtra is an aphorism or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Literally it means a thread or line that holds things together and is derived from the verbal root siv-, meaning to sew , as does the medical term...
literature of India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...
, the Biblical Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...
Islam . The most common are and . : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...
's Works and Days, or Epictetus
Epictetus was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia , and lived in Rome until banishment when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece where he lived the rest of his life. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses...