I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.— Edward Gibbon
The most relaxing Edward Gibbon quotes that will activate your desire to change
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. The superstition of the people was not embittered theological rancor.
We improve ourselves by victories over ourselves. There must be contest, and we must win.
A nation ignorant of the equal benefits of liberty and law, must be awed by the flashes of arbitrary power: the cruelty of a despot will assume the character of justice; his profusion, of liberality; his obstinacy, of firmness.
Vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave.
I was never less alone than when by myself.
The courage of a soldier is found to be the cheapest and most common quality of human nature.
Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity.
[In] the national and religious conflict of the [Byzantine and Saracen] empires, peace was without confidence, and war without mercy.
Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.
[Whole] generations may be swept away by the madness of kings in the space of a single hour.
Religion is a mere question of geography.
Books are those faithful mirrors that reflect to our mind the minds of sages and heroes.
The incapacity of a weak and distracted government may often assume the appearance and produce the effects of a treasonable correspondence with the public enemy. If Alaric himself had been introduced into the council of Ravenna, he would probably have advised the same measures which were actually pursued by the ministers of Honorius.
Yet the arts of Severus cannot be justified by the most ample privileges of state reason. He promised only to betray; he flattered only to ruin; and however he might occasionally bind himself by oaths and treaties, his conscience, obsequious to his interest, always released him from the inconvenient obligation.
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 led to an untimely grave; and almost every reign is closed by the same disgusting repetition of treason and murder.
A philosopher may deplore the eternal discords of the human race, but he will confess, that the desire of spoil is a more rational provocation than the vanity of conquest.
bizarreness masqueraded as creativity.
It has always been my practice to cast a long paragraph in a single mould, to try it by my ear, to deposit it in my memory, but to suspend the action of the pen till I had given the last polish to my work.
Style is the image of character.
To the University of Oxford I acknowledge no obligation;
and she will as cheerfully renounce me for a son, as I am willing to disclaim her for a mother. I spent fourteen months at Magdalen College: they proved the fourteen months the most idle and unprofitable of my whole life.
The style of an author should be the image of his mind, but the choice and command of language is the fruit of exercise.
The urgent consideration of the public safety may undoubtedly authorize the violation of every positive law. How far that or any other consideration may operate to dissolve the natural obligations of humanity and justice, is a doctrine of which I still desire to remain ignorant.
Constantinople was the principal seat and fortress of Arianism;
and, in a long interval of forty years, the faith of the princes and prelates who reigned in the capital of the East was rejected in the purer schools of Rome and Alexandria.
The laws of probability, so true in general, so fallacious in particular.
History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
A heart to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute.
The law of nature instructs most animals to cherish and educate their infant progeny. The law of reason inculcates to the human species the returns of filial piety.
A nation of slaves is always prepared to applaud the clemency of their master who, in the abuse of absolute power, does not proceed to the last extremes of injustice and oppression.
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.
Antoninus diffused order and tranquility over the greatest part of the earth.
His reign is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for history; which is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved-to write a book.
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.
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
Under a democratical government the citizens exercise the powers of sovereignty;
and those powers will be first abused, and afterwards lost, if they are committed to an unwieldy multitude.
Beauty is an outward gift, which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused.
That country [Carthage] was rapidly sinking into the state of barbarism from whence it had been raised by the Phoenician colonies and Roman laws; and every step of intestine discord was marked by some deplorable victory of savage man over civilized society.
The pathetic almost always consists in the detail of little events.
I am indeed rich, since my income is superior to my expenses, and my expense is equal to my wishes.
It has been sagaciously conjectured, that the artful legislator indulged the stubborn prejudices of his countrymen.
The imprudent Maximus disregarded these salutary considerations: he gratified his resentment and ambition; he saw the bleeding corpse of Valentinian at his feet; and he heard himself saluted Emperor by the unanimous voice of the senate and people. But the day of his inauguration was the last day of his happiness.
Where error is irreparable, repentance is useless.
The authority of Plato and Aristotle, of Zeno and Epicurus, still reigned in the schools; and their systems, transmitted with blind deference from one generation of disciples to another, precluded every generous attempt to exercise the powers, or enlarge the limits, of the human mind.
The love of spectacles was the taste, or rather passion, of the Syrians: the most skilful artists were procured form the adjacent cities; a considerable share of the revenue was devoted to the public amusements; and the magnificence of the games of the theatre and circus was considered as the happiness, and as the glory, of Antioch.
It was among the ruins of the capitol that I first conceived the idea of a work which has amused and exercised nearly twenty years of my life.
The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.
Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.
Both Moscow and [Kiev], the modern and the ancient capitals, were reduced to ashes [by the Tartars]; a temporary ruin, less fatal than the deep, and perhaps indelible, mark, which a servitude of two hundred years has imprinted on the character of the Russians.
But the wisdom and authority of the legislator are seldom victorious in a contest with the vigilant dexterity of private interest.