Publilius Syrus
Publilius Syrus, a Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 writer of maxims, flourished in the 1st century BC. He was a Syrian
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

 who was brought as a slave to Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, but by his wit and talent he won the favor of his master, who freed and educated him.

His mimes, in which he acted himself, had a great success in the provincial towns of Italy and at the games given by Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in 46 BC. Publilius was perhaps even more famous as an improviser, and received from Caesar himself the prize in a contest in which he vanquished all his competitors, including the celebrated Decimus Laberius
Decimus Laberius
Decimus Laberius was a Roman eques and writer of mimes.He seems to have been a man of caustic wit, who wrote for his own pleasure. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar ordered him to appear in one of his own mimes in a public contest with the actor Publilius Syrus...


All that remains of his works is a collection of Sentences (Sententiae
Sententiae are brief moral sayings, such as proverbs, adages, aphorisms, maxims, or apophthegms taken from ancient or popular or other sources, often quoted without context. A sententia , also called a "sentence," is a kind of rhetorical proof...

), a series of moral
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

 maxims in iambic
Iambus (genre)
Iambus was a genre of ancient Greek poetry that included but was not restricted to the iambic meter and whose origins modern scholars have traced to the cults of Demeter and Dionysus. The genre featured insulting and obscene language...

 and trochaic verse
Verse (poetry)
A verse is formally a single line in a metrical composition, e.g. poetry. However, the word has come to represent any division or grouping of words in such a composition, which traditionally had been referred to as a stanza....


As men, we are all equal in the presence of death.

Maxim 1

Inopi beneficium bis dat, qui dat celeriter.

Translation: He doubly benefits the needy who gives quickly.

To do two things at once is to do neither.

Maxim 7

The anger of lovers renews the strength of love.

Maxim 24

The loss which is unknown is no loss at all.

Maxim 38

Honesta fama melior pecunia est.

Translation: A good reputation is more valuable than money.

He who helps the guilty, shares the crime.

Maxim 139

Many receive advice, few profit by it.

Maxim 149

While we stop to think, we often miss our opportunity.

Maxim 185

Whatever you can lose, you should reckon of no account.

Maxim 191