The aim of the article is to show that epimeleia heautou (the care of the self) – one of the key issues of ancient Greek philosophy – can be found in a tradition which is older than the Socratic one. First, the author outlines modern paradigmatic interpretations of the history of philosophy (Platonic and Aristotelian) and tries to offer an alternative interpretation based on Hellenistic tradition influenced by Socrates. Then he explores the texts of archaic lyrics – the elegies of Theognis of Megara. Resulting from the analysis of the problem of Theognis’ seal, and the parallels between Theognis and archaic lawgivers is the author’s conviction, that the Theognidean poetry as a whole represents a coherent socio-political discourse based on the care of the polis. In conclusion the author traces three basic Socratic issues in Theognidean poetry: political action, pedagogy, and love between a men and a boy.