Roman Empire Quotes

Quotes tagged as "roman-empire" (showing 1-29 of 29)
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

Tacitus
“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.”
Tacitus

John  Williams
“Mankind in the aggregate I have found to be brutish, ignorant and unkind, whether those qualities were covered by the coarse tunic of the peasant of the white and purple toga of a senator. And yet in the weakest of men, in moments when they are alone and themselves, I have found veins of strength like gold in decaying rock; in the cruelest of men, flashes of tenderness and compassion; and in the vainest of men, moments of simplicity and grace.”
John Williams, Augustus

Suetonius
“So much for the Emperor; the rest of this history must deal with the Monster.
—IV:22”
Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars

John Boswell
“There is no indication that any church official suggested or supported the emperor's action against gay people. On the contrary, the only persons known by name to have been punished for homosexual acts were prominent bishops.”
John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century

Laird Barron
“That really your kind of crowd? These effete psychos who want to relive the seedier aspects of the Roman empire?

These are the kind of folks who own tropical islands. Hell, some of them run banana republics for fun. They want a spectacle, I can fill the bill.

Ah yes. Dictators, inbred nobility and other megalomaniacs. Swell friends you got there.

It's a living.”
Laird Barron, The Light is the Darkness

Thomas Hobbes
“For, from the time that the Bishop of Rome had gotten to be acknowledged for bishop universal, by pretence of succession to St. Peter, their whole hierarchy, or kingdom of darkness, may be compared not unfitly to the kingdom of fairies; that is, to the old wives' fables in England concerning ghosts and spirits, and the feats they play in the night. And if a man consider the original of this great ecclesiastical dominion, he will easily perceive that the papacy is no other than the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof: for so did the papacy start up on a sudden out of the ruins of that heathen power.”
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

S.F. Chandler
“When you fear nothing, you have nothing to fear”
S.F. Chandler, We The Great Are Misthought

Thomas Henry Huxley
“It is certain that the labors of these early workers in the field of natural knowledge were brought to a standstill by the decay and disruption of the Roman Empire, the consequent disorganisation of society, and the diversion of men's thoughts from sublunary matters to the problems of the supernatural world suggested by Christian dogma in the Middle Ages. And, notwithstanding sporadic attempts to recall men to the investigation of nature, here and there, it was not until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that physical science made a new start, founding itself, at first, altogether upon that which had been done by the Greeks. Indeed, it must be admitted that the men of the Renaissance, though standing on the shoulders of the old philosophers, were a long time before they saw as much as their forerunners had done.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, The Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century

Robert Graves
“The first thing that happened was that Helen became an invalid - we know now that there was nothing wrong with her, but Livilla had given her the choice of taking to her bed as if she were ill or taking to her bed because she was ill.”
Robert Graves, I, Claudius

Susan Cooper
“He sat there all through a history lesson about the Roman Empire, which--having lived in the Roman Empire, for the four hundred years during which it had included the British Isles--he found inaccurate and boring.”
Susan Cooper, The Boggart

“The claim at the heart of this book has been carefully researched by several generations of scholars and is orthodox in academic circles, if not beyond. Christians under the Roman Empire were neither constantly persecuted nor martyred in huge numbers for their faith. They were prosecuted from time to time for alleged sedition, holding illegal meetings or refusing to sacrifice to the emperor. They were, like other convicts, sometimes tortured and executed in horrible ways. They seem to have been regarded by many Romans with distaste as a particularly silly superstition. But Christian stories of thousands of individual and mass martyrdoms over centuries have at best a limited basis in historical fact, and in many cases are sheer fiction.”
Dr. Teresa Morgan

Waheed Ibne Musa
“You know the Romans were fond of bloodshed. North Africa was one of many places where the Roman Empire had its arenas. It was their amphitheatre which, with the passage of time, had enlarged with the vanishing of many rocks. But, thank God, man has changed and, after six hundred years, that bloody sport has ended.”
Waheed Ibne Musa, Johnny Fracture

Karl Marx
“Up till now it has been thought that the growth of the Christian myths during the Roman Empire was possible only because printing was not yet invented. Precisely the contrary. The daily press and the telegraph, which in a moment spreads inventions over the whole earth, fabricate more myths (and the bourgeois cattle believe and enlarge upon them) in one day than could have formerly been done in a century.”
Karl Marx, Marx-Engels-Jahrbuch 2003. Die Deutsche Ideologie: Artikel, Druckvorlagen, Entwurfe, Reinschriftenfragmente Und Notizen Zu "I. Feuerbach" Und "Ii. Sankt Bruno"

Neel Burton
“It is no coincidence that, on all four sides, in all four corners, the borders of the Roman Empire stopped where wine could no longer be made.”
Neel Burton

“I see, I see! From association Messala, in boyhood, was almost a Jew; had he remained here, he might have become a proselyte, so much do we all borrow from the influences that ripen our lives; but the years in Rome have been too much for him. I do not wonder at the change; yet”--her voice fell--“he might have dealt tenderly at least with you. It is a hard, cruel nature which in youth can forget its first loves.”
Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Ruth Downie
“...a little knowledge would unlock the gates to vast and unsuspected gates of ignorance.”
Ruth Downie, Medicus

Ruth Downie
“It was a mystery why the army bothered with a signal communication system when its men were so good at gossip.”
Ruth Downie, Medicus

Christopher Henry Dawson
“But its exclusive character and irreconcileable hostility to the religious cults and ceremonies with which the whole social life of the city-state and the empire were inseparably connected at every turn, brought the Christians into inevitable conflict with the government and with public opinion. To the man in the street, the Christian was an anti-social atheist who would take no part in the public feasts and the games, which played such a large part in city life. To the authorities he was a passive rebel, who would neither take his share of municipal offices nor pay loyal homage to the Emperor. Hence the rise of persecution, and the driving of the Christians into an underground existence, as a proscribed sect. The Church grew under the shadow of the executioner's rods and axes, and every Christian lived in the peril of physical torture and death. The thought of martyrdom coloured the whole outlook of early Christianity. But it was not only a fear, it was also an ideal and a hope. For the martyr was the complete Christian, he was the champion and hero of the new society and its conflict with the old, and even the Christians who failed in the moment of the trial - the lapsi - looked on the martyrs as their saviours and protectors”
Christopher Henry Dawson, Religion and World History: A Selection from the Works of Christopher Dawson

Stephen Baxter
“A citizen of the Roman Empire, for example, would have placed less value on individual liberty in the modern Western sense than on collective responsibility.”
Stephen Baxter, Proxima

Steven Saylor
“There were a great many other such tableaux. As Martial had predicted, bears featured prominently in most of them. A temple thief was made to reenact the role of the robber Laureolus, made famous by the ancient plays of Ennius and Naevius; he was nailed to a cross and then subjected to the attack of the bears. A freedman who had killed his former master was made to put on a Greek chlamys and go walking though a stage forest populated by cavorting satyrs and nymphs, like Orpheus lost in the woods; when one of the satyrs played a shrill tune on his pipes, the trees dispersed and the man was subject to an attack by bears. An arsonist was made to strap on wings in imitation of Daedalus, ascend a high platform, and then leap off; the wings actually carried him aloft for a short distance, a remarkable sight, until he plunged into an enclosure full of bears and was torn to pieces.”
Steven Saylor, Empire: the Novel of Imperial Rome

Steven Saylor
“Bears?” Epaphroditus wrinkled his nose. “Everyone knows Prometheus was tormented by vultures. Every day they tore out his entrails, and every night he was miraculously healed, so that the ordeal was endlessly repeated.”
Martial laughed. “The trainer who can induce vultures to attack on command will be able to name any price! I suspect we’ll see a lot of bears today.”
Steven Saylor, Empire: the Novel of Imperial Rome

“The Rome he has been trained to serve, the Rome of Augustus and Germanicus, was gone. In its place stood Neronopolis, ruled by a megalomaniac brat.”
James Romm, Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero

Ruth Downie
“Britannia's big enough to count, but remote enough not to matter.”
Ruth Downie, Medicus

“No wild beasts are so deadly to humans as most Christians are to each other.”
Ammianus Marcellinus, The Later Roman Empire

M.C. Scott
“A man who had the legions of the east marching at his back could be bred by a donkey on a mule and the senate would have no choice but to accept him.”
M.C. Scott, Rome: The Eagle of the Twelfth

Marguerite Yourcenar
“Every new increase in the vast imperial organism seemed to me an unsound growth, like a cancer or dropsical edema which would eventually cause our death.”
Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian

Joel Levy
“The ancient writer Suetonius tells the story that an inventor around 70 CE displayed to a Roman emperor a machine that could move columns, only to be dismissed with the objection that such labor-saving devices would cause the poor to starve by robbing them of employment.”
Joel Levy, Unsolved Mysteries Bizarre Events That Have Puzzled the Greatest Minds

Edward Gibbon
“Such was the unhappy condition of the Roman emperors, that, whatever might be their conduct, their fate was commonly the same. A life of pleasure or virtue, of severity or mildness, of indolence or glory, alike lead to an untimely grave; and almost every reign is closed by the same disgusting repetition of treason and murder.”
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1: 180-395