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Herodotus quotes (showing 1-30 of 34)

“He asked, 'Croesus, who told you to attack my land and meet me as an enemy instead of a friend?'

The King replied, 'It was caused by your good fate and my bad fate. It was the fault of the Greek gods, who with their arrogance, encouraged me to march onto your lands. Nobody is mad enough to choose war whilst there is peace. During times of peace, the sons bury their fathers, but in war it is the fathers who send their sons to the grave.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“Of all men’s miseries the bitterest is this: to know so much and to have control over nothing.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects.”
Herodotus
“If a man insisted on always being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.”
Herodotus
“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal, while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before”
Herodotus, The Histories
“Men trust their ears less than their eyes.”
Herodotus
“But this I know: if all mankind were to take their troubles to market with the idea of exchanging them, anyone seeing what his neighbor's troubles were like would be glad to go home with his own.”
Herodotus, The Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus
“If anyone, no matter who, were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the set of beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably—after careful considerations of their relative merits—choose that of his own country. Everyone without exception believes his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in, to be the best.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“Such was the number of the barbarians, that when they shot forth their arrows the sun would be darkened by their multitude." Dieneces, not at all frightened at these words, but making light of the Median numbers, answered "Our Trachinian friend brings us excellent tidings. If the Medes darken the sun, we shall have our fight in the shade.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“The most hateful grief of all human griefs is this, to have knowledge of the truth but no power over the event.”
Herodotus
“In peace, children inter their parents; war violates the order of nature and causes parents to inter their children.”
Herodotus
“The saddest aspect of life is that there is no one on earth whose happiness is such that he won't sometimes wish he were dead rather than alive.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“Historia (Inquiry); so that the actions of of people will not fade with time.”
Herodotus
“If an important decision is to be made, they [the Persians] discuss the question when they are drunk, and the following day the master of the house where the discussion was held submits their decision for reconsideration when they are sober. If they still approve it, it is adopted; if not, it is abandoned. Conversely, any decision they make when they are sober, is reconsidered afterwards when they are drunk.”
Herodotus
“The worst pain a man can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing.”
Herodotus
“Force has no place where there is need of skill”
Herodotus, Historiae 1-4
“Great wealth can make a man no happier than moderate means, unless he has the luck to continue in propsperity to the end. Many very rich men have been unfortunate, and many with a modest competence have had good luck. The former are better off than the latter in two respects only, whereas the poor but lucky man has the advantage in many ways; for though the rich have the means to satisfy their appetites and to bear calamities, and the poor have not, the poor, if they are lucky, are more likely to keep clear of trouble, and will have besides the blessings of a sound body, health, freedom from trouble, fine children, and good looks.

Now if a man thus favoured died as he has lived, he will be just the one you are looking for: the only sort of person who deserves to be called happy. But mark this: until he is dead, keep the word “happy” in reserve. Till then, he is not happy, but only lucky.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“When the rich give a party and the meal is finished, a man carries round amongst the guests a wooden image of a corpse in a coffin, carved and painted to look as much like the real thing as possible, and anything from 18 inches to 3 foot long; he shows it to each guest in turn, and says: "Look upon this body as you drink and enjoy yourself; for you will be just like it when you are dead."
[Herodotus ‘Histories’, II 82]”
Herodotus, The Histories
tags: death
“Happiness is not fame or riches or heroic virtues, but a state that will inspire posterity to think in reflecting upon our life, that it was the life they would wish to live.”
Herodotus
“It is the greatest and the tallest of trees that the gods bring low with bolts and thunder. For the gods love to thwart whatever is greater than the rest. They do not suffer pride in anyone but themselves.”
Herodotus
tags: gods
“Now stop your dancing; you wouldn't come out and dance when I played to you.”
Herodotus
“Although extraordinary valor was displayed by the entire corps of Spartans and Thespians, yet bravest of all was declared the Spartan Dienekes. It is said that on the eve of battle, he was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that, their arrows would block out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh, 'Good. Then we will fight in the shade.”
Herodotus
“This is the sort of thing we should say by the fireside in the winter-time, as we lie on soft couches after a good meal, drinking sweet wine and crunching chickpeas: "Of what country are you, and how old are you, good sir? And how old were you when the Mede came?”
Herodotus
“Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks”
Herodotus
“Now if a man thus favoured died as he has lived, he will be just the one you are looking for: the only sort of person who deserves to be called happy. But mark this: until he is dead, keep the word "happy" in reserve. Till then, he is not happy, but only lucky...”
Herodotus
“Now it happened that this Candaules was in love with his own wife; and not only so, but thought her the fairest woman in the whole world. This fancy had strange consequences.”
Herodotus
“The Andrians were the first of the islanders to refuse Themistocles' demand for money. He had put it to them that they would be unable to avoid paying, because the Athenians had the support of two powerful deities, one called Persuasion and the other Compulsion.

The Andrians had replied that Athens was lucky to have two such useful gods, who were obviously responsible for her wealth and greatness; unfortunately, they themselves, in their small & inadequate land, had two utterly useless deities, who refused to leave the island and insisted on staying; and their names were Poverty and Inability.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“Hippocleides doesn't care.”
Herodotus, The Histories
“Denn wenn man an alle Völker der Erde die Aufforderung ergehen liesse, sich unter all den verschiedenen Sitten die vorzüglichsten auszuwählen, so würde jedes, nachdem es alle geprüft, die seinigen allen anderen vorziehen. So sehr ist jedes Volk überzeugt, dass seine Lebensformen die besten sind. Wie kann daher ein Mensch mit gesunden Sinnen über solche Dinge spotten!”
Herodotus, The Histories

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