Best 367 of Edward Gibbon quotes - MyQuotes

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Edward Gibbon
By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

I darted a contemptuous look at the stately models of superstition.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The pains and pleasures of the body, howsoever important to ourselves, are an indelicate subject of conversation

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

But [the Arabs'] friendship was venal, their faith inconstant, their enmity capricious: it was an easier task to excite than to disarm these roving barbarians; and, in the familiar intercourse of war, they learned to see, and to despise, the splendid weakness both of Rome and of Persia.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

A taste for books, which is still the pleasure and glory of my life.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

But the severe rules of discipline which the prudence of the bishops had instituted were relaxed by the same prudence in favour of an Imperial proselyte, whom it was so important to allure, by every gentle condescension, into the pale of the church; and Constantine was permitted, at least by a tacit dispensation, to enjoy most of the privileges, before he had contracted any of the obligations, of a Christian.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Language is the leading principle which unites or separates the tribes of mankind.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

History, which undertakes to record the transactions of the past, for the instruction of future ages, would ill deserve that honourable office if she condescended to plead the cause of tyrants, or to justify the maxims of persecution.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

In the various states of society, armies are recruited from very different motives. Barbarians are urged by the love of war; the citizens of a free republic may be prompted by a principle of duty; the subjects, or at least the nobles, of a monarchy, are animated by a sentiment of honor; but the timid and luxurious inhabitants of a declining empire must be allured into the service by the hopes of profit, or compelled by the dread of punishment.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

In the purer ages of the commonwealth, the use of arms was reserved for those ranks of citizens who had a country to love, a property to defend, and some share in enacting those laws which it was their interest, as well as duty, to maintain. But in proportion as the public freedom was lost in extent of conquest, war was gradually improved into an art, and degraded into a trade.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

In the field of controversy I always pity the moderate party, who stand on the open middle ground exposed to the fire of both sides.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

As long as the same passions and interests subsist among mankind, the questions of war and peace, of justice and policy, which were debated in the councils of antiquity, will frequently present themselves as the subject of modern deliberation.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

It was no longer esteemed infamous for a Roman to survive his honor and independence.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Philosophy had instructed Julian to compare the advantages of action and retirement; but the elevation of his birth and the accidents of his life never allowed him the freedom of choice. He might perhaps sincerely have preferred the groves of the Academy and the society of Athens; but he was constrained, at first by the will, and afterwards by the injustice of Constantius, to expose his person and fame to the dangers of Imperial greatness; and to make himself accountable to the world and to posterity for the happiness of millions.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

We may therefore acquiesce in the pleasing conclusion, that every age of the world has increased, and still increases, the real wealth, the happiness, the knowledge, and perhaps the virtue, of the human race.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

In the second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilised portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The voice of history is often little more than the organ of hatred or flattery.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The manly pride of the Romans, content with substantial power, had left to the vanity of the East the forms and ceremonies of ostentatious greatness. But when they lost even the semblance of those virtues which were derived from their ancient freedom, the simplicity of Roman manners was insensibly corrupted by the stately affectation of the courts of Asia.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

It is scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. This long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The science of the church is neglected for the study of geometry, and they lose sight of Heaven while they are employed in measuring the earth. Euclid is perpetually in their hands. Aristotle and Theophrastus are the objects of their admiration; and they express an uncommon reverence for the works of Galen. Their errors are derived from the abuse of the arts and sciences of the infidels, and they corrupt the simplicity of the gospel by the refinements of human reason.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon, in his classic work on the fall of the Roman Empire, describes the Roman era's declension as a place where "bizarreness masqueraded as creativity.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

So natural to man is the practice of violence that our indulgence allows the slightest provocation, the most disputable right, as a sufficient ground of national hostility.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Such events may be disbelieved or disregarded; but the charity of a bishop, Acacius of Amida, whose name might have dignified the saintly calendar, shall not be lost in oblivion.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Greek is doubtless the most perfect [language] that has been contrived by the art of man.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Freedom is the first wish of our heart; freedom is the first blessing of nature; and unless we bind ourselves with voluntary chains of interest or passion, we advance in freedom as we advance in years

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

So long as mankind shall continue to lavish more praise upon its destroyers than upon its benefactors war shall remain the chief pursuit of ambitious minds.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Persuasion is the resource of the feeble; and the feeble can seldom persuade . . .

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Fear has been the original parent of superstition, and every new calamity urges trembling mortals to deprecate the wrath of their invisible enemies.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The brutal soldiers satisfied their sensual appetites without consulting either the inclination or the duties of their female captives; and a nice question of casuistry was seriously agitated, Whether those tender victims, who had inflexibly refused their consent to the violation which they sustained, had lost, by their misfortune, the glorious crown of virginity. There were other losses indeed of a more substantial kind and more general concern.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

History, in fact, is no more than a list of the crimes of humanity, human follies and accidents

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

I have somewhere heard or read the frank confession of a Benedictine abbot: "My vow of poverty has given me a hundred thousand crowns a year; my vow of obedience has raised me to the rank of a sovereign prince." - I forget the consequences of his vow of chastity.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the cause of the destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and, as soon as time or accident and removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight. The story of the ruin is simple and obvious: and instead of inquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed we should rather be surprised that it has subsisted for so long.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The primitive Christians perpetually trod on mystic ground, and their minds were exercised by the habits of believing the most extraordinary events

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The barbarians of Germany had felt, and still dreaded, the arms of the young Caesar; his soldiers were the companions of his victory; the grateful provincials enjoyed the blessings of his reign; but the favourites, who had opposed his elevation, were offended by his virtues; and they justly considered the friend of the people as the enemy of the court.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

It was Rome, on the fifteenth of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The active, insatiate principle of self-love can alone supply the arts of life and the wages of industry; and as soon as civil government and exclusive property have been introduced, they become necessary to the existence of the human race.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

A society in which marriage is encouraged and industry prevails soon repairs the accidental losses of pestilence and war.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

[The] emperor of the West, the feeble and dissolute Valentinian, [had] reached his thirty-fifth year without attaining the age of reason or courage.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The communication of ideas requires a similitude of thought and language . . .

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Whenever the offence inspires less horror than the punishment, the rigour of penal law is obliged to give way to the common feelings of mankind.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty, was successfully practised; honours, gifts, and immunities were offered and accepted as the price of an episcopal vote; and the condemnation of the Alexandrian primate was artfully represented as the only measure which could restore the peace and union of the catholic church.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The orator, who may be silent without danger, may praise without difficulty and without reluctance; and posterity will confess that the character of Theodosius might furnish the subject of a sincere and ample panegyric. The wisdom of his laws and the success of his arms rendered his administration respectable in the eyes both of his subjects and of his enemies. He loved and practised the virtues of domestic life, which seldom hold their residence in the palaces of kings.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The valuable library of Alexandria was pillaged or destroyed; and near twenty years afterwards, the appearance of the empty shelves excited the regret and indignation of every spectator whose mind was not totally darkened by religious prejudice. The compositions of ancient genius, so many of which have irretrievably perished, might surely have been excepted from the wreck of idolatry, for the amusement and instruction of succeeding ages.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Edward Gibbon

But this inestimable privilege was soon violated: with the knowledge of truth the emperor imbibed the maxims of persecution; and the sects which dissented from the catholic church were afflicted and oppressed by the triumph of Christianity. Constantine easily believed that the heretics, who presumed to dispute his opinions or to oppose his commands, were guilty of the most absurd and criminal obstinacy; and that a seasonable application of moderate severities might save those unhappy men from the danger of an everlasting condemnation.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

To maintain the harmony of authority and obedience, to chastise the proud, to protect the weak, to reward the deserving, to banish vice and idleness from his dominions, to secure the traveller and merchant, to restrain the depredations of the soldier, to cherish the labors of the husbandman, to encourage industry and learning, and, by an equal and moderate assessment, to increase the revenue, without increasing the taxes, are indeed the duties of a prince . . .

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The desire of perfection became the ruling passion of their soul; and it is well known, that while reason embraces a cold mediocrity, our passions hurry us, with rapid violence, over the space which lies between the most opposite extremes.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The retirement of Athanasius, which ended only with the life of Constantius, was spent, for the most part, in the society of the monks, who faithfully served him as guards, as secretaries, and as messengers; but the importance of maintaining a more intimate connection with the catholic party tempted him, whenever the diligence of the pursuit was abated, to emerge from the desert, to introduce himself into Alexandria, and to trust his person to the discretion of his friends and adherents.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Edward Gibbon

The division of the Roman world between the sons of Theodosius marks the final establishment of the empire of the East, which, from the reign of Arcadius to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, subsisted one thousand and fifty-eight years in a state of premature and perpetual decay.