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Thucydides quotes (showing 1-30 of 49)

“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards.”
Thucydides
“For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war."

[Funeral Oration of Pericles]”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“We Greeks believe that a man who takes no part in public affairs is not merely lazy, but good for nothing”
Thucydides
“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
Thucydides
“Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“You should punish in the same manner those who commit crimes with those who accuse falsely.”
Thucydides
“In practice we always base our preparations against an enemy on the assumption that his plans are good; indeed, it is right to rest our hopes not on a belief in his blunders, but on the soundness of our provisions. Nor ought we to believe that there is much difference between man and man, but to think that the superiority lies with him who is reared in the severest school.”
Thucydides
“In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“Ignorance is bold, and knowledge is reserved”
Thucydides
tags: humor
“Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“When will there be justice in Athens? There will be justice in Athens when those who are not injured are as outraged as those who are.”
Thucydides
“Some legislators only wish to vengeance against a particular enemy. Others only look out for themselves. They devote very little time on the consideration of any public issue. They think that no harm will come from their neglect. They act as if it is always the business of somebody else to look after this or that. When this selfish notion is entertained by all, the commonwealth slowly begins to decay. ”
Thucydides
“Mankind are tolerant of the praises of others as long as each hearer thinks that he can do as well or nearly as well himself, but, when the speaker rises above him, jealousy is aroused and he begins to be incredulous.”
Thucydides
“When one is deprived of ones liberty, one is right in blaming not so much the man who puts the shackles on as the one who had the power to prevent him, but did not use it.”
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War
“They whose minds are least sensitive to calamity, and whose hands are most quick to meet it, are the greatest men and the greatest communities.”
Thucydides
“Men's indignation, it seems, is more exited by legal wrong than by violent wrong; the first looks like being cheated by an equal, the second like being compelled by a superior.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“In general, the men of lower intelligence won out. Afraid of their own shortcomings and of the intelligence of their opponents, so that they would not lose out in reasoned argument or be taken by surprise by their quick-witted opponents, they boldly moved into action. Their enemies,on the contrary, contemptuous and confident in their ability to anticipate, thought there was no need to take by action what they could win by their brains.”
Thucydides
“The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest, but if it is judged worthy by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the understanding of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content.
In fine I have written my work not as an essay with which to win the applause of the moment but as a possession for all time.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“War is a matter not so much of arms as of money.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“a collision at sea will ruin your entire day”
Thucydides
“My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the needs of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“Peace is an armistice in a war that is continuously going on.”
Thucydides
“Think, too, of the great part that is played by the unpredictable in war: think of it now, before you are actually comitted to war. The longer a war lasts, the more things tend to depend on accidents. Neither you nor we can see into them: we have to abide their outcome in the dark. And when people are entering upon a war they do things the wrong way round. Action comes first, and it is only when they have already suffered that they begin to think.”
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
“If it had not been for the pernicious power of envy, men would not so have exalted vengeance above innocence and profit above justice... in these acts of revenge on others, men take it upon themselves to begin the process of repealing those general laws of humanity which are there to give a hope of salvation to all who are in distress.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“It is useless to attack a man who could not be controlled even if conquered, while failure would leave us in an even worse position.”
Thucydides
“It is frequently a misfortune to have very brilliant men in charge of affairs. They expect too much of ordinary men.”
Thucydides
“Three of the greatest failings, want of sense, of courage, or of vigilance.”
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
“...when these matters are discussed by practical people, the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel...”
Thucydides

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