Apotegma is a term that comes from the Latin word apophthegma,
although its most distant origin is found in the Greek language. Specifically,
we have to expose that apothegm originally comes from a Greek word that was made
up of two clearly differentiated parts: the particle "apo", which can be
translated as "out" or "far", and the verb "phthengesthai", which it is
synonymous with "declare".
an apothegm is a short and judgmental saying, which
includes a moral content that is intended to teach.
For example: "The writer launched another of his famous apothegms before
ending the interview", "Do not come with another apothegm: I am old
enough that you are advising me about my life", "The philosopher wrote
several apothegms about the life in the country ”.
An apothegm can be said to be a short sentence that expresses important
content without needing to lean on or expand on other sentences. In
this sense, it is possible to compare apothegms with aphorisms, sayings or proverbs.
It must be established that the first time that an apothegm was considered to
have been spoken was by Cicero. And it is that this made known that Cato had
carried out the compilation of important and significant things that responded
to that name.
The aphorism is usually created by an individual who takes credit for
it. Proverbs, on the other hand, are born of the people and are
anonymous. The same happens with sayings that, in addition, carry an implicit
The apothegm, therefore, is more similar to the aphorism than to the proverb
or saying, since its author is usually known. The main difference between the
apothegm and the aphorism is that the former does not usually cover serious
topics, apart from being nice or funny. So the apothegm can also be a gracefully
said sentence that does not include moral content.
There are many apothegms that are used in various sectors of our
society. This happens, for example, in the field of politics. In this case,
throughout history, important sentences of this type have emerged and a good
sample is the one established by the former president of Argentina, Juan Domingo
Perón. And it is that he went so far as to say that the Peronists were like
cats, because when it could seem that they were fighting, what they were really
doing was reproducing.
An example of apothegm is the one pronounced by the writer Jorge Luis
Borges about people who belong to the Peronist
movement: "Peronists are neither good nor bad: they are
Within the scope of Literature, we must point out that there are various
works that use the word “apothegmas” in their titles or themes. Among those we
could highlight, for example, "Apothegmas in the desert" that belongs to the
author Mariano Torrent.
In the same way, it is necessary to highlight “Apotegmas on the subject of
Marxism”, an essay on politics published in 1970 and which was written by the
Zamorano thinker Agustín García Calvo.