Did you click on the stone because it just “presents itself”? Because you know what the inscription means and even that it is in Greek letters and perhaps even that it is not in its original form, but you are curious? I chose it because as a motto it is perfect for me. One of the most important archaeological areas and at the same time most modern city in Greece is Delphi which lies on the south-western slopes of the 570 m high Mount Parnassus. This inscription adorned the entrance the temple of the oracle which stood there before the time of historical records:
Gnothi seauton - Know thyself
According to legend, Zeus set off two eagles from either the end of the world with the objective to find the navel of the world and the eagles met right above Delphi. The origin of the Oracle goes back to the Mycenaean period. At the time a hut stood there made of laurel leaves, consecrated to Gaia, the goddess of the Earth. Stunning volcanic gasses were seeping out of the crevices of the earth, and according to ancient lore, the prophetic forces radiated from the womb of the Earth.
A myth holds that Apollo fought the dragon Python here, whose carcass dissipated into the ground and the vapors emanating from it helped Apollo and the Oracle or the priestesses in their prophecies. Apollo cautioned the people to be temperate and inspired them for self inspection. Hence the sentence: Know thyself!
It seems it was clear for the people of ancient times that the future is in fact formed by us in the present. We shape our fates with our personalities, socialization and deeds. The more one is capable for self-recognition, awareness, trust, faith and love, the closer one will get to one’s Self and with this to fulfillment.