A book is a mirror; if an ass peers into it you can't expect an apostle to look out. - Lichtenberg
Aphorism (from Greek aphorismus) - is a generalized thorough thought of author. This thought should be expressed laconically with significance and evident suddenness. Such determination gives The Dictionary of Literary Criticism Terms. A brief determination, flight of human's thought, that keeps a wisdom of many generations.
Those thoughts were told by people of different epochs and their substance is more significant than "historical" meaning as long as real wisdom can't grow old and is topical always.
Igor Yanin, a journalist and author of aphorism collection "Encyclopedia of Wisdom Thoughts" gives such example in this book: Roman Emperor Mark Aurelius said: "People lives one for another". It seems to be banal thought on the face of it. But after a number of years one can know an exact sense of this saying. The thought of this aphorism was a truth both in great antiquity and now.
From this it follows that aphorism is one of mankind unity feature. Years and epochs go by; states appear and vanish; state frontiers, languages and cultures change; but common to all mankind cultural wealth consist in aphorisms has imperishable meaning.
Another characteristic feature of aphorism is its laconic brevity and perfection. Apropos of this there is Anton P. Chekhov saying: "Brevity is a sister of talent". Aphorism affects on men's consciousness with the help of original thought formulating. As for this we can cite a quotation, Aristotle's aphorism is "Wittiness is an educated impudence". From this it follows another aphorism feature - authorship. As distinct from proverbs aphorisms have authorship always.
Such feature as multidimensional concept unites proverbs and aphorisms. Sayings and opinions cover all sides of human life, external and internal, physical and mental, moral and philosophical.
Aphorisms teach us to live; to understand and appreciate a surrounding world; aphorisms bring uniting basis common to all mankind.
Quotations rank with aphorisms. Quotations - these are fragments from author works, that confirm thoughts and sayings.