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  Quotations for the Wise "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." Isaac Newton

Therefore it behooves us all to study those giants.



 "Over the past two hundred years the  influence of intellectuals has grown steadily.  Indeed, the rise of the secular intellectual has been a key factor in shaping the modern world... With the decline of clerical power in the eighteenth century, a new kind of mentor emerged to fill the vacuum and capture the ear of society.  The secular intellectual might be deist skeptic or atheist.  But he was just as ready as any pontiff or presbyter to tell mankind how to conduct its affairs.  He proclaimed, from the start, a special devotion to the interests of humanity and an evangelical duty to advance them by his teaching.  He brought to this self-appointed task a far more radical approach than his clerical predecessors.  He felt himself bound by no corpus of revealed religion.  The collective wisdom of the past, the legacy of tradition, the prescriptive codes of ancestral experience existed to be selectively followed or wholly rejected entirely as his own good sense might decide.  For the first time in human history, and with growing confidence and audacity, men arose to assert that they could diagnose the ills of society and cure them with their own unaided intellects:  more, that they could devise formulae whereby not merely the structure of society, but the fundamental habits of human beings could be transformed for the better."  (Paul Johnson, Intellectuals, p. 1) 

Paul Johnson writes of Intellectuals and their attitude that they are the moral arbiters of society.  Much of their moralism is to justify their own behavior.  However, because it is their belief and their behavior, it is superior morally to that of any other. 



I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Homer:             800 BC - 700 BC Greek epic poet; wrote epic poems "Iliad", "Odyssey" Ideal of Excellence


Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another. Homer The Iliad


I too shall lie in the dust when I am dead, but now let me win noble renown. Homer, The Iliad


It is not unseemly for a man to die fighting in defense of his country.   Homer, The Iliad


The single best augury is to fight for one's country. Homer, The Iliad


Young men's minds are always changeable, but when an old man is concerned in a matter, he looks both before and after. Homer, The Iliad


May the gods grant you all things which your heart desires, and may they give you a husband and a home and gracious concord, for there is nothing greater and better than this -when a husband and wife keep a household in oneness of mind, a great woe to their enemies and joy to their friends, and win high renown.

Homer, The Odyssey


The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken. Homer, The Odyssey


There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep. Homer, The Odyssey



Hesiod:                        800 BC Greek didactic poet; wrote poems "Works and Days", "Theogony"

He harms himself who does harm to another, and the evil plan is most harmful to the planner.  Hesiod
Greek didactic poet (~800 BC)

Man's chiefest treasure is a sparing tongue.


In work there is no shame

                                    Shame is in idleness.



Only a fool does a favor for the base;

You’d do as well to sow the gray salt sea.

But put a gentleman once in your debt,

You have a friend for life, he won’t forget.”


Solon:                          638 BC - 559 BC Greek lawgiver & politician in Athens; established Athenian democracy

Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.


Reprove thy friend privately; commend him publicly.


Themistocles: 527 BC - 460 BC Greek general & politician in Athens

I choose the likely man in preference to the rich man; I want a man without money rather than money without a man.

Themistocles, from Plutarch, Lives

Aeschylus:  525 BC - 456 BC Greek tragic dramatist; wrote   plays "Prometheus Bound", "Seven Against Thebes ", "The Persians", "The Suppliants", trilogy "Oresteia" ("Agamemnon", "Choephoroe", "Eumenides"); father of Greek tragedy


In war, truth is the first casualty. Aeschylus

Time as he grows old teaches all things.

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Death is better, a milder fate than tyranny.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Pericles:                      490 BC - 429 BC Greek politician in Athens  

Wait for that wisest of all counselors, Time.

Pericles, from Plutarch, Lives

Trees, though they are cut and lopped, grow up again quickly, but if men are destroyed, it is not easy to get them again.

Pericles, from Plutarch, Lives  

Herodotus:       “The Father of History” 484 BC - 430 BC Greek historian & traveler; wrote "The Persian Wars"            

In peace, children inter their parents; war violates the and causes parents to inter their children.

Herodotus, The Histories of Herodotus                        

This is the bitterest pain among men, to have much knowledge but no power.

Herodotus, The Histories of Herodotus  

Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks.

Herodotus, The Histories of Herodotus  

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Herodotus, Inscription, New York City Post Office, adapted from Herodotus

                                  THE HISTORY OF HERODOTUS, Volume 1 
                                  THE HISTORY OF HERODOTUS, Volume 2                     

Cincinnatus (Lucius Quinctius)  called Cincinnatus because of his curly hair:  consul 460 and 480 BC Cincinnatus was considered a model of Roman virtue. He was a farmer above all, although when called to serve his country he did so without question -- briefly and without ambition. 

According to Livy, Cincinnatus (Quinctius) was past 80 at the time of his second call to be dictator for in a later Roman crisis in the wake of a grain distribution scandal:

"whilst those who knew nothing of the plot asked what disturbance or sudden outbreak of war called for the supreme authority of a dictator or required Quinctius , after reaching his eightieth year, to assume the government of the republic."


Thucydides:                 471 BC - 400 BC Greek historian

We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them. Thucydides, Peloponnesian War

The History of the Peloponnesian War

Sophocles:                   496 BC - 406 BC Greek tragic dramatist

The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.


It is not righteousness to outrage
A brave man dead, not even though you hate him.
Sophocles, Ajax


For God hates utterly
The bray of bragging tongues.
Sophocles, Antigone


I have nothing but contempt for the kind of governor who is afraid, for whatever reason, to follow the course that he knows is best for the State; and as for the man who sets private friendship above the public welfare - I have no use for him either. Sophocles, Antigone


Reason is God's crowning gift to man. Sophocles, Antigone


Show me the man who keeps his house in hand, He's fit for public authority.

Sophocles, Antigone

Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past. Sophocles, Trachiniae



Euripides:                    484 BC - 406 BC

Greek tragic dramatist; wrote plays "Medea", Hippolytus", "Andromache", "Supplices" (also "The Supplicants"), "The Trojan Women", "Orestes", "Iphigenia in Aulis" (also "Iphigenia at Aulis "), "Iphigenia in Tauris"  (The Internet Classics Archive | The Trojan Women by Euripides

Circumstances rule men and not men rule circumstances. Euripides


Short is the joy that guilty pleasure brings. Euripides


Your very silence shows you agree.


A sweet thing, for whatever time,
to revisit in dreams the dear dad we have lost.

Euripides, Alcestis, 438 B.C

Man's best possession is a sympathetic wife.

Euripides, Antigone

Leave no stone unturned.

Euripides, Heraclidae, circa 428 B.C.

Diogenes:                    412 BC - 323 BC

When asked what was the proper time for supper] If you are a rich man, whenever you please; and if you are a poor man, whenever you can. Diogenes the Cynic, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers


Aristophanes:               450 BC - 388 BC            Greek Athenian comic
The Clouds and Lysistrata

This is what extremely grieves us, that a man who never fought
Should contrive our fees to pilfer, on who for his native land
Never to this day had oar, or lance, or blister in his hand.

Aristophanes, Wasps, 422 B.C

Under every stone lurks a politician.

Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae, 410 B.C.


You have all the characteristics of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding, and a vulgar manner. Aristophanes, Knights, 424 B.C.  

Xenophon:  431-354 BC Greek general, historian and essayist
(c. 430 BC - after 357 BC)


Excess of grief for the dead is madness; for it is an injury to the living, and the dead know it not.  

If you consider what are called the virtues in mankind, you will find their growth is assisted by education and cultivation.

Policy goes beyond strength, and contrivance before action; hence it is that direction is left to the commander, and execution to the soldier, who is not to ask Why? but to do what he is commanded.


Socrates:         469 BC - 399 BC  Greek philosopher in Athens ; subject of Plato's Socratic dialogues; founder & eponym of Socratic method; teacher of Plato; executed for corrupting the young   
More on Socrates life and teachings:

                                 “…The unexamined life is not worth living.”

"If a rich man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it."              

"Let him that would move the world, first move himself."


Plato:               427 BC - 347 BC The Republic  

Greek author & philosopher in Athens

        "I declare justice is nothing but the stronger"  Thrasymachus says in                 Plato's Republic 338 c [W.H.D. Rouse translation, Great Plato,                 Mentor             Books, 1956, p. 137.

                         Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil.

The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.


Necessity, who is the mother of invention. Plato, The Republic

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

Plato, The Republic

Only the dead have seen the end of war

Aristotle:           384 BC - 322 BC Greek critic, philosopher,   physicist, & zoologist

A flatterer is a friend who is your inferior, or pretends to be so.


All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.


The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.


We are what we repeatedly do.


Demosthenes:  384 BC - 322 BC  Greek orator & politician in Athens ; suicide                                    

All speech is vain and empty unless it be accompanied by action.


Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.

He who confers a favor should at once forget it, if he is not to show a sordid ungenerous spirit. To remind a man of a kindness conferred and to talk of it, is little different from reproach.


The easiest thing of all is to deceive one's self; for what a man wishes he generally believes to be true.


The fact speak for themselves.                                                                           

The man who has received a benefit ought always to remember it, but he who has granted it ought to forget the fact at once.


Menander:                   342 BC - 292 BC Greek comic dramatist; wrote plays "Epiptrepontes", "Perikeiromene", "Dyskolos"

He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.


Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado.


The character of a man is known from his conversations.


The sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind.


Riches cover a multitude of woes.

Menander, Lady of Andros

The man who runs may fight again.

Menander, Monostikoi (Single Lines)

Whom the gods love dies young.

Menander, The Double Deceiver

Deus ex machina [A god from the machine]

Menander, The Woman Possessed with a Divinity

I call a fig a fig, a spade a spade.

Menander, Unidentified fragment

Epicurus:                      341 BC - 270 BC  Greek Philosopher founder & eponym of Epicureanism; preached pleasure as sole good & goal of morality

Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily.

Epicurus, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.

Epicurus, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully.

Epicurus, 300 B.C.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.


Justice is a contract of expediency, entered upon to prevent men harming or being harmed.


Euclid 300 BC  Greek geometer.  Wrote book on geometry that remained the major textbook until the last century.

                                    A line is length without breadth (Elementa)

                                    The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.

Archimedes, who followed closely upon the first Ptolemy makes mention of Euclid .  They say that Ptolemy once asked him if there were a shorted way to study geometry than the Elements, to which he replied: “There is no royal road to geometry.”

Archimedes:  287 BC - 212 BC  Greek inventor, mathematician, & physicist; discovered principles of buoyancy & the lever; discovered differential calculus; computed pi; killed


Give me where to stand, and I will move the earth. Archimedes, 300 B.C  On the lever in Pappus Synagoge

Any solid lighter than a fluid will, if placed in the fluid, be so far immersed that the weight of the solid will be equal to the weight of the fluid displaced.
On floating bodies I, prop 5.

Eureka , Eureka .
I have found [it].
Vitruvius, De Architectura ix, 215

Noli turbare circulos meos.
Do not disturb my circles!
Last words. Sometimes reported as:
Soldier, stand away from my diagram.


Plautus:  254 BC - 184 BC         Roman comic dramatist; wrote plays "Amphitryon", "Captivi", "Persa", "Miles Gloriosus", "Aulularia", "Trinummus", "Rudens", "Mercator", "Curculio", "Stichus"

Practice yourself what you preach.

Titus Maccius Plautus, Asinaria

No guest is so welcome in a friend's house that he will not become a nuisance after three days.

Titus Maccius Plautus, Miles Gloriosus

What is yours is mine, and all mine is yours.

Titus Maccius Plautus, Trinummus

Polybius:                      205 BC - 118 BC Greek historian

There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.

Polybius, History

Those who know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories.

Polybius, History


Terence:                      185 BC - 159 BC Roman comic dramatist

Nothing is said that has not been said that has not been said before.Terence


So many men so many questions.
(Quot Homines Tot Sententiae)


There is a demand in these days for men who an make wrong appear right. Terence


Charity begins at home.

Terence, Andria

Too much liberty corrupts us all.


Moderation in all things. Terence, Andria


In fact, nothing is said that has not been said before. Terence, Eunuchus



Julius Caesar:  100 BC - 44 BC Roman author, general, & politician; member of 1st Triumvirate; defeated Pompey at battle of Pharsalus 048b

Veni, vidi, vici.
[I came, I saw, I conquered]

Julius Caesar, from Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars

Et tu, Brute.
[You also, Brutus.]

Julius Caesar, from Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars

Alea jacta est.
[The die is cast.}  Plutarch - Caesar
Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon.

It is not these well-fed long-haired men that I fear, but the pale and the hungry-looking. Julius Caesar, from Plutarch, Lives,
Roman author, general, & politician (100 BC - 44 BC)

All Gaul is divided into three parts (De bello Gallico I.1)  

Men willingly believe what they wish. (Ibid. III.18)

I love treason but hate a traitor. (Plutarch - Romulus )

I wished my wife to be not so much as suspected. (Plutarch - Caesar)

For my part, I had rather be the first man among these fellows, than the second man in Rome . (Ibid.)

The die is cast. (Ibid.)

Go on, my friend, and fear nothing; you carry Caesar and his fortune in your boat. (Ibid.)

The Ides of March have come. (Ibid.)

When his friends advised him to have a guard, and several offered their service, he would not hear of it; but said it was better to suffer death once, than always to live in fear of it.

What! art thou, too, one of them? Thou, my son! (aka Et tu, Brutus?) (Ibid.)


Caesar Augustus:         63 BC - 14 AD  Roman politician; member of 2nd Triumvirate; won battle of Philippi 042b; won battle of Actium 031b; 1st Roman emperor 027b-014

I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble. Caesar Augustus, from Suetonius, Augustus

Ovid:  43 BC - c.17 AD

"It is convenient that there be gods, and, as it is convenient, let us believe that there are."

"You will go most safely by the middle way."

"Plenty has made me poor."

"I see the better things, and approve; I follow the worse."

"Time the devourer of everything."

"Far hence, keep far from me, you grim women!"

"Jupiter from on high laughs at lovers' perjuries."

Boadicea:        Between AD 61 and AD 63 Boadicea led her Iceni people to a glorious but bloody war against the Romans

"I rule not over beasts of burden as are the effeminate nations of the East, nor over tradesmen and traffickers, nor like the man-woman Nero, over slaves; but I rule over Britons, little versed in craftiness and diplomacy, it is true, but born and trained to war; men who in the cause of liberty willingly risk their lives, their lands and property. Queen of such a race, I implore your aid for freedom, for victory! Never let a foreigner bear rule over me or my country-men! Never let slavery reign in this island!" A.D. 61

Tacitus”  c.56 - c.177 AD

"They make a wilderness and call it peace."

"It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt."

"Sine ira et studio" (With neither anger nor partiality)

"Elogantiae arbiter" (The arbiter of taste)

"Deos fortioribus adesse." (The gods are on the side of the stronger.) "

Titus Livius (Livy):        (59 BC - 17 AD)
Roman author & historian

Men are only clever at shifting blame from their own shoulders to those of others.

Titus Livius

The populace is like the sea motionless in itself, but stirred by every wind, even the lightest breeze.

Titus Livius

                        Better late than never.

Titus Livius, History

Seneca:           5 BC - 65 AD
Roman dramatist, Stoic philosopher, & politician; suicide

Jesus:  4 BC-29 AD

                        "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me." - JOHN 14:16

                        "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." - MATTHEW 22:37-40

                        Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

                                    Where one's treasure is there also is his heart.


                        Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends

Emperor Vespasian 9 - 79 AD

"Pecunia non olet" (Money has no smell)

When fatally ill:
"Woe is me. I think I am becoming a god

"Festina lente" (Make haste slowly)


Plutarch:          46 AD - 120 AD Greek biographer & moralist  

Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself.


Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly. Plutarch


No beast is more savage than man when possessed with power answerable to his rage. Plutarch


It is certainly desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors. Plutarch, 'Morals,' 100 A.D


Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. Plutarch, Lives


                        When the candles are out all women are fair.

Plutarch, Morals

To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult. Plutarch


Epictetus:         ca. AD 50-ca. 130) was one of the most important teachers of Stoicism. The son of a slave woman and himself a slave for many years, he was given his freedom sometime after the death of the Roman Emperor Nero in AD 68. He exiled by the emperor Domitian to Epirus where he established a school at which he taught logic, physics and ethics. The Discourses are a collection of class notes taken by Flavius Arrianus, one of his students.  (

                        Only the educated are free.

Epictetus, Discourses


The good or ill of a man lies within his own will. Epictetus


Control thy passions, lest they take vengeance on thee. Epictetus


First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak. Epictetus


When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing? Epictetus, Discourses


What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.

Epictetus, Discourses


Pliny the Elder:            23 AD - 79 AD
Roman encyclopedist, naturalist, scholar, & scientist; wrote 37-book "Historia Naturalis"; died in eruption of Mount Vesuvius

In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain.

Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Younger:       62 AD - 114 AD

An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.

Pliny the Younger, Letters

Cicero :  106 BC - 43 AD 

A room without a book is like a body without a soul.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero Roman statesman, scholar, orator

It is a shameful thing to be weary of inquiry when what we search for is excellent.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero

Let the punishment match the offense.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not only not poorer, but is even richer.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief
--Marcus Tullius Cicero


Tiberius:          Roman emperor (42 BC - 37 AD) 014-037 & general         

In a free state there should be freedom of speech and thought.



Marcus Aurelius:  121-180 AD (Stoic) among the “Five Good Emperors.”  Marcus ruled the vast empire from 161 to 180 AD

All is ephemeral,--fame and the famous as well.
-- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180) Roman Emperor

Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.


Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.


When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus


The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue, and reasonable nature. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus


Waste no more time talking about great souls and how they should be. Become one yourself! Marcus Aurelius Antoninus


Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations

You will find rest from vain fancies if you perform every act in life as though it were your last. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations


Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations, 200 A.D.

Tertullian:  160 AD - 230 AD Carthaginian church father

Truth persuades by teaching, but does not teach by persuading. Quintus Septimius Tertullianus, Adversus Valentinianos

Out of the frying pan into the fire.

Quintus Septimius Tertullianus, De Carne Christi


Constantine :  c.288 – 337 The emperor Constantine has rightly been called the most important emperor of Late Antiquity. His victory at the Milvian Bridge counts among the most decisive moments in world history, while his legalization and support of Christianity and his foundation of a 'New Rome' at Byzantium rank among the most momentous decisions ever made by a European ruler

                                    "In hoc signo vinces"
                                    (In this sign shalt thou conquer)


"We call God to witness, the Savior of all men, that in assuming the government we are influenced solely by these two considerations - the uniting of the empire in one faith, and the restoration of peace to a world rent in pieces by the insanity of religious persecution."  Constantine

Donatus, Ars Minor  (fl. 354 A.D.) was the most famous Latin grammarian of late antiquity and his works were widely used throughout the middle ages.

Partes orationis quot sunt? Octo. Quae? Nomen pronomen verbum adverbium participium coniunctio praepositio interiectio.

ST. Thomas Aquinas

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.

It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills.

In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign. Secondly, a just cause. Thirdly, a rightful intention.

The things that we love tell us what we are.

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.

Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

We can't have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves.

Peter Abelard:  French Philosopher, 1079 - 1142 (monk, teacher, and Heloise’s lover)

The key to wisdom is this - constant and frequent questioning... for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.

Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469-1527 Citizen and Secretary of Florence , 1520

The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli

The Art of War, by Niccolo Machiavelli

The Seven Books on the Art of War, by Niccolo Machiavelli,


Giovanni Boccacio  (1313 – 1375) Florentine (Italian) Italian story writer


On the victims of the Black Death:  its victims often "ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors in paradise."

Human it is to have compassion on the unhappy.

People tend to believe the bad rather than the good.

Do as we say, and not as we do.
  [Lat., Faites ce que nous disons, et ne faites pas ce que nous faisons.]
  - Decameron, from the French of Sabatier de Castres "Troisieme Journee", novella VII

His hair stood upright like porcupine quills.
      - Decameron (fifth day, Nov. 8)

Martin Luther:    German priest and scholar whose questioning of certain church practices led to the Protestant Reformation.

  "I am much afraid that the schools and universities will prove to be the great gates to hell unless they diligently labor to explain the Holy Scripture and engrave them upon the hearts of youth. I advise no one to send their child where the scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution that does not unceasingly occupy its students with the word of God must become corrupt."  

“Pray, and let God worry.”

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."

Katherine Zell:  1497-1562  lived in Germany and helped her Anabaptist husband and their Anabaptist faith.

Governments may punish criminals, but they should not force and govern belief, which is a matter for the heart and conscience nor for temporal authorities….When the authorities pursue one, they soon bring forth tears, and towns and villages are emptied.  

René Descartes (1596-1650). A French philosopher and mathematician who was called "The father of modern philosophy."

"Cogito ergo sum."  I think; therefore I am.

Blaise Pascal 1623-1662
           The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
If all men knew what friends said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world.

Baruch Spinoza (1632 - 1677)
Dutch Jewish philosopher
We feel and know that we are eternal.

He alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason.

Louis XIV:  King of France (1643-1715). 1638-1715

 "I could sooner reconcile all Europe than two women.”

“I am the state.”  (“L'etat c'est moi.”)

Every time I fill a vacant office, I make ten malcontents and one ingrate."

"Has God forgotten all I have done for Him."

Laws are the sovereigns of sovereigns."

“Last argument of kings.” (“Ultima ratio regum.”)      - ordered this engraved on cannon, but removed by the National Assembly, Aug. 19, 1790

August 26, 1715  Louis XIV he called his five-year-old great-grandson Louis to his bedside and spoke to him, saying these famous words: "My child, you are going to be a great king. Do not imitate me in my liking for buildings and for wars. On the contrary, do try to have peace with your neighbors. Give to God what you owe him. Always follow good advice. Do try to relieve the suffering of your people, which I am most distressed at not having been able to do."

Louis XV:          1710–74, king of France (1715–74), great-grandson and successor of King Louis XIV, son of Louis titular duke of Burgundy , and Marie Adelaide of Savoy .

"After us will come the deluge (Après nous, le déluge)."

The marquise has a disagreeable day for her journey.
             - while looking at Mme. De Pompadour's Funeral

Cardinal Richelieu:  1585-1642  French adviser to Louis XIV

War is one of the scourges with which it has pleased God to afflict men.

Frederick the Great, 1712-1786 King of Prussia . Brilliant military leader and domestic reformer; rebelled against military discipline as a youth and was court-martialed; in the Seven Years' War of 1756-1763, he held off the armies of Russia, France, and Austria (all larger powers) through adroit maneuvering, timing, and skill.

from Westenhoff quotes book

"Every art has its rules and maxims. One must study them: theory facilitates practice. The lifetime of one man is not long enough to enable him to acquire perfect knowledge and experience."

"It would further human knowledge if, instead of writing new books, we would apply ourselves to making decent extracts from those that are already in existence. Then one would hope to avoid wasting his time by reading."

"The greatest secret of war and the masterpiece of a skillful general is to starve his enemy."

"In order to have rest oneself it is necessary to keep the enemy occupied."

"Petty geniuses attempt to hold everything; wise men hold fast to the key points."

"Skepticism is the mother of security."

"But since the best dispositions become useless if they are not executed, it is essential that the general should be industrious in seeing whether his orders are executed or not."


"Just as serpents close their ears, so do men close their eyes to truth."

Sir Isaac NewtonEnglish Mathematician and Physicist, "father of the modern science", 1642-1727

"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

"This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being."

"If I am anything, which I highly doubt, I have made myself so by hard work."


Johann Goethe:

"Happy is the man who recalls his ancestors with pride, who treasures the story of their greatness, tells the tales of their heroic lives, and with joy too full for speech, realizes that fate has linked him with a race of goodly men."

Andre Gide,

"Everything that needs to be said has already been said, but since no one was listening, everything must be said again."

H.L. Mencken: 

"Democracy is when you have 3

 and 2 sheep deciding on who's for lunch."

George Orwell: 

"If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them."

"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past.

George Santayana: 

        Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it


Copyright 1996  These are my own working genealogy files that I share with you.  The errors are my own.  But, perhaps they will give you a starting point.  All original writing is copyrighted.  Webmaster