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Edward Gibbon quotes (showing 1-30 of 104)

“We improve ourselves by victory over our self. There must be contests, and you must win.”
Edward Gibbon
“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.”
Edward Gibbon
“The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“The five marks of the Roman decaying culture:

Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth;

Obsession with sex and perversions of sex;

Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original;

Widening disparity between very rich and very poor;

Increased demand to live off the state.”
Edward Gibbon
“Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.”
Edward Gibbon
“My early and invincible love of reading--I would not exchange for the treasures of India.”
Edward Gibbon
“I make it a point never to argue with people for whose opinion I have no respect.”
Edward Gibbon
“The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference in age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“Books are those faithful mirrors that reflect to our mind the minds of sages and heroes.”
Edward Gibbon
“Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book. ”
Edward Gibbon
“All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.”
Edward Gibbon
“Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.”
Edward Gibbon
“To an active mind, indolence is more painful than labor.”
Edward Gibbon
“War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
tags: war
“The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness”
Edward Gibbon
“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.”
Edward Gibbon
“As long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.”
Edward Gibbon
“The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in a long residence upon Earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings.”
Edward Gibbon
“I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”
Edward Gibbon
“The history of empires is the history of human misery.”
Edward Gibbon
“To a lover of books the shops and sales in London present irresistible temptations.”
Edward Gibbon, Memoirs of My Life
“The army is the only order of men sufficiently united to concur in the same sentiments, and powerful enough to impose them on the rest of their fellow-citizens; but the temper of soldiers, habituated at once to violence and to slavery, renders them very unfit guardians of a legal, or even a civil constitution.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“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.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“The ascent to greatness, however steep and dangerous, may entertain an active spirit with the consciousness and exercise of its own power: but the possession of a throne could never yet afford a lasting satisfaction to an ambitious mind.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“Active valour may often be the present of nature; but such patient diligence can be the fruit only of habit and discipline.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
“Where error is irreparable, repentance is useless.”
Edward Gibbon
“If the empire had been afflicted by any recent calamity, by a plague, a famine, or an unsuccessful war; if the Tiber had, or if the Nile had not, risen beyond its banks; if the earth had shaken, or if the temperate order of the seasons had been interrupted, the superstitious Pagans were convinced that the crimes and the impiety of the Christians, who were spared by the excessive lenity of the government, had at length provoked the divine justice.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
tags: irony
“The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.”
Edward Gibbon

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