The folks at Asociaţia Culturală Citatepedia have launched a project to promote Romanian culture online, and one of the first initiatives is a translation of 1,000 Romanian sayings into five languages—English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The sayings come from across the cultural spectrum—poets, playwrights, philosophers, painters, journalists. The first queen of Romania, Carmen Sylva, who was also a writer, is represented with…

There is a goodness that repels and a badness that attracts.

Romania’s national poet, Mihai Eminescu, is featured with an observation that seems especially apt for the tumultuous times we’re currently in…

Contemporaries are the worst historians.

Which brings me to Ion Luca Caragiale, playwright, pamphleteer, poet, and political commentator, who is my favorite among these classic Romanian thinkers and writers…

Honor and grammar: these are the first conditions of a good press.

This world resembles a vast funfair.

Do you want to get to know things? Look at them closely. Do you want to like them? Look at them from afar.

The stupid die; stupidity is undying.

For the soul that is easily shaken, the threat is harder than the blow itself.

Judging by the portraits, these translations seem to focus on 18th, 19th and perhaps some early 20th century authors. For those wanting to hear a contemporary voice, check out a previous post on Valeriu Butulescu

A derailed tram considers itself independent.

You can read the full list of Romanian aphorists in English here at the Intercogito project. In the meantime, with thanks to the Asociaţia Culturală Citatepedia for providing this fascinating glimpse into Romanian aphoristic writing, a selection of some other authors and their aphorisms…

Books show us what our mind alone is not capable of making us fathom.
—Panait Istrati

Beware of banality. Don’t forget, if you must drown, at least don’t drown in a basin—fling yourself into the ocean.
—Octavian Goga

The moments of our life have the same significance as ashes being sifted
—Max Blecher

A teaspoonful of wit is sometimes worth more than a wagonful of strength.
—Liviu Rebreanu

You love your homeland even more when you have lived away from it for a while and when you have listened to what foreigners say and how they judge it.
—Iulia Hasdeu