Greece Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Greece. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Hercules,huh? Percy frowned. "That guy was like the Starbucks of Ancient Greece. Everywhere you turn--there he is.
Rick Riordan (The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3))
The real story of the Fleece: there were these two children of Zeus, Cadmus and Europa, okay? They were about to get offered up as human sacrifices, when they prayed to Zeus to save them. So Zeus sent this magical flying ram with golden wool, which picked them up in Greece and carried them all the way to Colchis in Asia Minor. Well, actually it carried Cadmus. Europa fell off and died along the way, but that's not important." "It was probably important to her.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
…There is the heat of Love, the pulsing rush of Longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible—magic to make the sanest man go mad.
Homer (The Iliad)
Part of the hem floated loose. She spun around again—the fabric tightened like wool on a spindle. She breathed in fear. The boat was farther away. She swung her head around—so was the shore.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Do you know the song Violet Crowned Athens?” he asked. Yellow hair like hers was rare among the Greeks. Though some people say that Helen of Troy . . .
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Why should I fear death? If I am, then death is not. If Death is, then I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not? Long time men lay oppressed with slavish fear. Religious tyranny did domineer. At length the mighty one of Greece Began to assent the liberty of man.
Epicurus
Running out the anchor line, the pirates babbled to one another, and in the tangle of their barbaric language, Aspasia listened for one word—Athens. It lit up the darkness in her mind, like the single glint her eyes fixed on above the distant gray-green hills.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory” was the motto of the King’s Guard in ancient Greece.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us. [Letter to William Short, 31 October 1819]
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
Why so much grief for me? No man will hurl me down to Death, against my fate. And fate? No one alive has ever escaped it, neither brave man nor coward, I tell you - it’s born with us the day that we are born.
Homer (The Iliad)
The water far below was black in the shadow of the ship. A plank creaked. She froze. No noisy jump. It would have to be a dive. Head down into darkness. She’d never dived at night.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Temples are for the gods,” Thucydides said. “No city has the hubris to put her own citizens on a temple.” Phidias promised, “The Athenians will look like gods.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
But  Phidias was better than most men since he made beautiful sculptures. He was even making one of her—well, he called it “Athena,” but anyone could see it looked like her.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Holy mother!" "Hmph. More like holy father. I'd think you'd know the difference." -Hephaetus
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
Greece is like a mirror. It makes you suffer. Then you learn.' To live alone?' To live. With what you are.
John Fowles (The Magus)
It had happened. Thucydides, his archrival, was a general. Glaucon, from his own tribe, was a general. And Pericles was no longer a general. He was just a citizen with one vote. And an idea
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
We’re not here to argue with you about the wisdom of our alliance that has kept the Persians at bay for forty years. An argument requires a measure of equality between those in the dispute and Samos is not the equal of Athens.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Pericles let a moment pass, then another. The Spartans needed time to set in balance the risks of accepting the offer and the joys of being rich. Not as much time as he’d expected, though.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
...like that star of the waning summer who beyond all stars rises bathed in the ocean stream to glitter in brilliance.
Homer (The Iliad)
The softness, warmth and weight of her breast filled his palm. “I’ve imagined this for weeks,” he murmured. Thinking of her out there on the battlefield. In his tent. What more could a woman want? Quite a lot, actually.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
Aspasia had herself fallen into very good fortune. So good that at the age of twenty years, she’d probably used up the whole life’s portion of good luck that Tyche had allotted her. To make good fortune last—for herself and the child in her womb—would be up to her.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
On the Acropolis, he’d thought she’d seen too much sun for a woman but in the courtyard, under the moon, her face, neck, and arms were as pale as the moon goddess. Allowing himself to imagine it was the moon goddess leading him upward was a way of climbing to the second story.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
My Aspasia. With her, he’d discovered the sweetness in life . . . and she might like to know that. He’d tell her sometime. But he knew he’d given this lovely woman what she’d wanted most, their son’s name. He leaned over to the child. “So, you’re Little Pericles.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
We had old architects and were working with what we had on hand. You’ve hired this new, young architect now, and, Pericles, I’m going to build you a statue of Athena—all gold and ivory, think of that, Pericles—and taller than our city walls.” Pericles raised his eyes toward the birds.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
I think: this is what I will miss. I think: I will kill myself rather than miss it. I think: how long do we have?
Madeline Miller (The Song of Achilles)
As Aristocleia raised her cup to toast Xanthippus, her gown slipped from her shoulders, exquisite as Aphrodite’s, and flowed like the water that slid over her naked breasts when she allowed him to watch her bathe. It was wonderful to possess a gem of a woman. It made a man feel beautiful and godlike himself, briefly.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
You will have memories Because of what we did back then When we were new at this, Yes, we did many things, then - all Beautiful...
Sappho (Come Close)
The ancient Oracle said that I was the wisest of all the Greeks. It is because I alone, of all the Greeks, know that I know nothing.
Socrates
You can't swing a cat in Ancient Greece without hitting one of Zeus's ex-girlfriends.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
Your daughter is gay? Where are all these gay people coming from? Gay friends. Gay daughters of friends. Gay sisters-in-law. Gay suspects. I ask one guy for a kiss and suddenly I’m living in Ancient Greece.
Dani Alexander (Shattered Glass (Shattered Glass, #1))
I declare That later on, Even in an age unlike our own, Someone will remember who we are.
Sappho (Come Close)
A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquility. I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquillity of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been discovered more gradually, and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
Ruin, eldest daughter of Zeus, she blinds us all, that fatal madness—she with those delicate feet of hers, never touching the earth, gliding over the heads of men to trap us all. She entangles one man, now another.
Homer (The Iliad)
…but there they lay, sprawled across the field, craved far more by the vultures than by wives.
Homer (The Iliad)
America Is A Gun England is a cup of tea. France, a wheel of ripened brie. Greece, a short, squat olive tree. America is a gun. Brazil is football on the sand. Argentina, Maradona's hand. Germany, an oompah band. America is a gun. Holland is a wooden shoe. Hungary, a goulash stew. Australia, a kangaroo. America is a gun. Japan is a thermal spring. Scotland is a highland fling. Oh, better to be anything than America as a gun.
Brian Bilston
Nothing stands still - everything is being born, growing, dying - the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline - the law of rhythm is in constant operations....
Three Initiates (The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
See how exciting Anthropology is? He’s a leading expert in ancient Greece. Now you should all change your majors so that you can ogle men like him all day long. Or better yet, uncover naked male statues. (Tory) Was that necessary? (Acheron) Hey, I live to recruit students for the department. If I can make you good for something, then by golly I’m going to do it. (Tory)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #14))
A philosopher named Aristippus, who had quite willingly sucked up to Dionysus and won himself a spot at his court, saw Diogenes cooking lentils for a meal. "If you would only learn to compliment Dionysus, you wouldn't have to live on lentils." Diogenes replied, "But if you would only learn to live on lentils, you wouldn't have to flatter Dionysus.
Diogenes of Sinope
I came to the Greeks early, and I found answers in them. Greece's great men let all their acts turn on the immortality of the soul. We don't really act as if we believed in the soul's immortality and that's why we are where we are today.
Edith Hamilton
Gradually the magic of the island [Corfu] settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen.
Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1))
And besides, we lovers fear everything
Ovid (Metamorphoses)
What they forget is that, from Ancient Greece on, the people who returned from battle were either dead on their shields or stronger, despite and because of their scars.
Paulo Coelho (The Witch of Portobello)
Sexual frenzy is our compensation for the tedious moments we must suffer in the passage of life. 'Nothing in excess,' professed the ancient Greeks. Why if I spend half the month in healthy scholarship and pleasant sleep, shouldn't I be allowed the other half to howl at the moon and pillage the groins of Europe's great beauties?
Roman Payne
Come then, put away your sword in its sheath, and let us two go up into my bed so that, lying together in the bed of love, we may then have faith and trust in each other.
Homer (The Odyssey)
You, you insolent brazen bitch—you really dare to shake that monstrous spear in Father’s face?
Homer (The Iliad)
I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day!
Walt Disney Company
You, why are you so afraid of war and slaughter? Even if all the rest of us drop and die around you, grappling for the ships, you’d run no risk of death: you lack the heart to last it out in combat—coward!
Homer (The Iliad)
Above my cradle loomed the bookcase where/ Latin ashes and the dust of Greece/ mingled with novels, history, and verse/ in one dark Babel. I was folio-high/ when I first heard the voices.
Charles Baudelaire
Do you know how marriage was defined in ancient Greece? Noel said in a calmer tone. Its really simple. A virgin goes to mans house with the family gathered as witnesses. The virgin and the man share a fire, a meal, and a bed. If the girl wasn't a virgin in the morning, then the couple was considered married. That's it
Josephine Angelini
Do not make the mistake of supposing that the little world you see around you - the Earth, which is a mere grain of dust in the Universe - is the Universe itself. There are millions upon millions of such worlds, and greater. And there are millions of millions of such Universes in existence within the Infinite Mind of THE ALL
Three Initiates (The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
It was her last breakfast with Bapi, her last morning in Greece. In her frenetic bliss that kept her up till dawn, she’d scripted a whole conversation in Greek for her and Bapi to have as their grand finale of the summer. Now she looked at him contentedly munching on his Rice Krispies, waiting for the right juncture for launchtime. He looked up at her briefly and smiled, and she realized something important. This was how they both liked it. Though most people felt bonded by conversation, Lena and Bapi were two of a kind who didn’t. They bonded by the routine of just eating cereal together. She promptly forgot her script and went back to her cereal. At one point, when she was down to just milk, Bapi reached over and put his hand on hers. ‘You’re my girl,’ he said. And Lena knew she was.
Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1))
If you are a dreamer, come in, If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer... If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!
Shel Silverstein
She felt like parts of her soul were missing, had left her body long ago. It had happened not in Greece three months ago, but long before that. It was in Greece that she'd realized those parts had left her and were not coming back.
Ann Brashares (Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood, #5))
The science, the art, the jurisprudence, the chief political and social theories, of the modern world have grown out of Greece and Rome—not by favour of, but in the teeth of, the fundamental teachings of early Christianity, to which science, art, and any serious occupation with the things of this world were alike despicable.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Agnosticism and Christianity and Other Essays (Great Minds))
Let him submit to me! Only the god of death is so relentless, Death submits to no one—so mortals hate him most of all the gods. Let him bow down to me! I am the greater king, I am the elder-born, I claim—the greater man.
Homer (The Iliad)
. . .in August in Mississippi there’s a few days somewhere about the middle of the month when suddenly there’s a foretaste of fall, it’s cool, there’s a lambence, a soft, a luminous quality to the light, as though it came not from just today but from back in the old classic times. It might have fauns and satyrs and the gods and---from Greece, from Olympus in it somewhere. It lasts just for a day or two, then it’s gone. . .the title reminded me of that time, of a luminosity older than our Christian civilization.
William Faulkner (Light in August)
They came back To widows, To fatherless children, To screams, to sobbing. The men came back As little clay jars Full of sharp cinders.
Aeschylus (The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides)
Listen, are we helpless? Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the Phoenix in an unending sequence of rise and fall? Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, the Empires of Charlemagne and the Turk: Ground to dust and plowed with salt. Spain, France, Britain, America—burned into the oblivion of the centuries. And again and again and again. Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing? This time, it will swing us clean to oblivion.
Walter M. Miller Jr. (A Canticle for Leibowitz (St. Leibowitz, #1))
It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written.
Karl Marx
He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.
Three Initiates (The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
Have any of you taken a look out at Greece in the last, say, hour or so? (Hermes) What? Are they reacting to the fact I cursed the Apollites? (Apollo) I don’t think that bothers them nearly as much as the fact the island of Atlantis is now gone and the Atlantean goddess Apollymi is cutting a swathe through our country, laying waste to everyone and everything she comes into contact with. And in case you’re curious, she’s headed straight for us. I could be really wrong here, but I’m guessing the woman’s extremely pissed. (Hermes)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #14))
Επιθυμίες Σαν σώματα ωραία νεκρών που δεν εγέρασαν και τάκλεισαν, με δάκρυα, σε μαυσωλείο λαμπρό, με ρόδα στο κεφάλι και στα πόδια γιασεμιά -- έτσ' η επιθυμίες μοιάζουν που επέρασαν χωρίς να εκπληρωθούν· χωρίς ν' αξιωθεί καμιά της ηδονής μια νύχτα, ή ένα πρωϊ της φεγγερό." Desires "Like beautiful bodies of the dead who had not grown old and they shut them, with tears, in a brilliant mausoleum, with roses at the head and jasmine at the feet -- this is what desires resemble that have passed without fulfillment; without any of them having achieved a night of sensual delight, or a morning of brightness.
Constantinos P. Cavafy (Before Time Could Change Them: The Complete Poems)
What is democracy? It is what it says, the rule of the people. It is as good as the people are, or as bad.
Mary Renault (The Last of the Wine)
I have often noticed that nationalism is at its strongest at the periphery. Hitler was Austrian, Bonaparte Corsican. In postwar Greece and Turkey the two most prominent ultra-right nationalists had both been born in Cyprus. The most extreme Irish Republicans are in Belfast and Derry (and Boston and New York). Sun Yat Sen, father of Chinese nationalism, was from Hong Kong. The Serbian extremists Milošević and Karadžić were from Montenegro and their most incendiary Croat counterparts in the Ustashe tended to hail from the frontier lands of Western Herzegovina.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
And there they ring the walls, the young, the lithe. The handsome hold the graves they won in Troy; the enemy earth rides over those who conquered.
Aeschylus (Agamemnon (Oresteia, #1))
When the pupil is ready to receive the truth, then will this little book come to him, or her. Such is The Law. ...The Law of Attraction, will bring lips and ear together - pupil and book in company. So mote it be!
Three Initiates (The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
It is a traveler’s fallacy that one should shop for clothing while abroad. Those white linen tunics, so elegant in Greece, emerge from the suitcase as mere hippie rags; the beautiful striped shirts of Rome are confined to the closet; and the delicate hand batiks of Bali are first cruise wear, then curtains, then signs of impending madness.
Andrew Sean Greer (Less)
When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home, Let him combat for that of his neighbours; Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome, And get knocked on the head for his labours. To do good to Mankind is the chivalrous plan, And is always as nobly requited; Then battle fro Freedom wherever you can, And, if not shot or hanged, you'll get knighted.
Lord Byron
Philip had arguably created the first nation-state in Europe, with a population of perhaps a million. He would next create Europe’s first empire.
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist. For many are the obstacles that impede knowledge, both the obscurity of the question and the shortness of human life.
Diogenes Laërtius
he asked if i wouldn't like to live completely without problems, say in greece maybe, nice climate, everything provided? i say: "when we find out what we are actually doing and who we actually are, that is the point of living...it may be only a few seconds...a few seconds of significant actions, out of a lifetime...
William S. Burroughs (My Education: A Book of Dreams)
If a man is guilty of impiety, he is to be tried in the court of the King Archon and made liable to death or confiscation of property. Any citizen who so wishes may bring the prosecution.
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
Everything flows out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right, is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates
Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
And his good wife will tear her cheeks in grief, his sons are orphans and he, soaking the soil red with his own blood, he rots away himself—more birds than women flocking round his body!
Homer (The Iliad)
The lips of Wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.
Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
Like a girl, a baby running after her mother, begging to be picked up, and she tugs on her skirts, holding her back as she tries to hurry off—all tears, fawning up at her, till she takes her in her arms… That’s how you look, Patroclus, streaming live tears.
Homer (The Iliad)
I'm waiting for her to say "Craig, what you need to do is X" and for the Shift to occur. I want there to be a Shift so bad. I want to feel my brain slide back into the slot it was meant to be in, rest there the way it did before the fall of last year, back when I was young, and witty, and my teachers said I had incredible promise, and I had incredible promise, and I spoke up in class because I was excited and smart about the world. I want the Shift so bad. I'm waiting for the phrase that will invoke it. It'll be like a miracle within my life. But is Dr. Minerva a miracle worker? No. She's a thin, tan lady from Greece with red lipstick.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
She is Melusina, the water goddess, and she is found in hidden springs and waterfalls in any forest in Christendom, even in those as far away as Greece. (...) A man may love her if he keeps her secret and lets her alone when she wants to bathe, and she may love him in return until he breaks his word, as men always do, and she sweeps him into the depths with her fishy tail, and turns his faithless blood to water. The tragedy of Melusina, whatever language tells it, whatever tune it sings, is that a man will always promise more than he can do to a woman he cannot understand.
Philippa Gregory
I'd rather have a heart of gold Than all the treasure of the world.
Ana Claudia Antunes (Memoirs of An Amazon)
the differences between different manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, result largely from varying rates of Vibrations......the higher the vibration, the higher the position in the scale.
Three Initiates (The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
Christianity enhanced the notion of political and social accountability by providing a new model: that of servant leadership. In ancient Greece and Rome no one would have dreamed of considering political leaders anyone's servants. The job of the leader was to lead. But Christ invented the notion that the way to lead is by serving the needs of others, especially those who are the most needy.
Dinesh D'Souza (What's So Great About Christianity)
When we came and rented the North Perth home, my father had a little ice chest, and on top of the ice chest was a radio. And we were sitting at our lunch time on Sunday eating dinner after church, and my Mum says, ‘Look where we’ve ended up. We’ve got a table cloth on our table, we’ve got food on our plate, and we’re listening to music.’ That was a big thing for my mother. - Mrs Helen Doropoulos, Greece
Peter Brune (Suffering, Redemption and Triumph: The first wave of post-war Australian immigrants 1945-66)
You are dying. I see in you all the characteristic stigma of decay. I can prove to you that your great wealth and your great poverty, your capitalism and your socialism, your wars and your revolutions, your atheism and your ­pessimism and your cynicism, your immorality, your broken-down marriages, your birth-control, that is bleeding you from the bottom and killing you off at the top in your brains—I can prove to you that those were characteristic marks of the dying ages of ancient States—Alexandria and Greece and neurotic Rome.
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
We have the truth still with us. But it is not found in books, to any given extent. It has been passed along......from lip to ear. When it was written down at all, its meaning was veiled in terms of alchemy and astrology, so that only those possessing the key could read it aright.
Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
Our enemies are Medes and Persians, men who for centuries have lived soft and luxurious lives; we of Macedon for generations past have been trained in the hard school of danger and war. Above all, we are free men, and they are slaves. There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for our foreign troops — Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Agrianes — they are the best and stoutest soldiers in Europe, and they will find as their opponents the slackest and softest of the tribes of Asia. And what, finally, of the two men in supreme command? You have Alexander, they — Darius!
Alexander the Great
America is not going to be destroyed " he shouted passionately. "Never?" prodded the old man softly. "Well..." Nately faltered. The old man laughed indulgently, holding in check a deeper, more explosive delight. His goading remained gentle. "Rome was destroyed, Greece was destroyed, Persia was destroyed, Spain was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? How much longer do you really think your own country will last? Forever? Keep in mind that the earth itself is destined to be destroyed by the sun in twenty-five million years or so." Nately squirmed uncomfortably. "Well, forever is a long time, I guess.
Joseph Heller
Animals walk around in a state of permanent religious intoxication. This is the natural condition of the mind and intellect, the moment-to-moment perception, of man as well. I heard some computer fool say that religion is the 'older virtual reality' experience, to justify his scam industry. No, the denuded state of the spirit and intellect, where you walk around 'demystified' and 'disenchanted' is the virtual reality condition, and a terrible condition at that.
Bronze Age Pervert (Bronze Age Mindset)
An ardent desire to go took possession of me once more. Not because I wanted to leave - I was quite all right on this Cretan coast, and felt happy and free there and I needed nothing - but because I have always been consumed with one desire; to touch and see as much as possible of the earth and the sea before I die.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
For thousands of years humans were oppressed— as some of us still are— by the notion that the universe is a marionette whose strings are pulled by a god or gods, unseen and inscrutable. Then, 2,500 years ago, there was a glorious awakening in Ionia: on Samos and the other nearby Greek colonies that grew up among the islands and inlets of the busy eastern Aegean Sea. Suddenly there were people who believed that everything was made of atoms; that human beings and other animals had sprung from simpler forms; that diseases were not caused by demons or the gods; that the Earth was only a planet going around the Sun. And that the stars were very far away.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
With winter the feeling had deepened. I would see a neighbor running along the sidewalk in front of the house, training, I imagined, for a climb up Kilimanjaro. Or a friend at my book club giving a blow-by-blow of her bungee jump from a bridge in Australia. Or - and this was the worst of all - a TV show about some intrepid woman traveling alone in the blueness of Greece, and I'd be overcome by the little sparks that seemed to run beneath all that, the blood/sap/wine, aliveness, whatever it was. It had made me feel bereft over the immensity of the world, the extraordinary things people did with their lives - though, really, I didn't want to do any of those particular things. I didn't know then what I wanted, but the ache for it was palpable.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Mermaid Chair)
Yet, for my part, I was never usually squeamish; I could sometimes eat a fried rat with a good relish, if it were necessary. I am glad to have drunk water so long, for the same reason that I prefer the natural sky to an opium-eater’s heaven. I would fain keep sober always; and there are infinite degrees of drunkenness. I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor; and think of dashing the hopes of a morning with a cup of warm coffee, or of an evening with a dish of tea! Ah, how low I fail when I am tempted by them! Even music may be intoxicating. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome, and will destroy England and America. Of all ebriosity, who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
The masses of people are carried along, obedient to environment; the wills and desires of others stronger than themselves; heredity; suggestion; and other outward causes moving them about like pawns on the Chessboard of Life. But the Masters, rising to the plane above, dominate their moods, characters, qualities, and powers, as well as the environment surrounding them, and become Movers instead of pawns.
Three Initiates (The Kybalion A Study of The Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
Many questions come to mind. How influenced by contemporary religions were many of the scholars who wrote the texts available today? How many scholars have simply assumed that males have always played the dominant role in leadership and creative invention and projected this assumption into their analysis of ancient cultures? Why do so many people educated in this century think of classical Greece as the first major culture when written language was in use and great cities built at least twenty-five centuries before that time? And perhaps most important, why is it continually inferred that the age of the "pagan" religions, the time of the worship of female deities (if mentioned at all), was dark and chaotic, mysterious and evil, without the light of order and reason that supposedly accompanied the later male religions, when it has been archaeologically confirmed that the earliest law, government, medicine, agriculture, architecture, metallurgy, wheeled vehicles, ceramics, textiles and written language were initially developed in societies that worshiped the Goddess? We may find ourselves wondering about the reasons for the lack of easily available information on societies who, for thousands of years, worshiped the ancient Creatress of the Universe.
Merlin Stone (When God Was a Woman)
All the great groups that stood about the Cross represent in one way or another the great historical truth of the time; that the world could not save itself. Man could do no more. Rome and Jerusalem and Athens and everything else were going down like a sea turned into a slow cataract. Externally indeed the ancient world was still at its strongest; it is always at that moment that the inmost weakness begins. But in order to understand that weakness we must repeat what has been said more than once; that it was not the weakness of a thing originally weak. It was emphatically the strength of the world that was turned to weakness and the wisdom of the world that was turned to folly. In this story of Good Friday it is the best things in the world that are at their worst. That is what really shows us the world at its worst. It was, for instance, the priests of a true monotheism and the soldiers of an international civilisation. Rome, the legend, founded upon fallen Troy and triumphant over fallen Carthage, had stood for a heroism which was the nearest that any pagan ever came to chivalry. Rome had defended the household gods and the human decencies against the ogres of Africa and the hermaphrodite monstrosities of Greece. But in the lightning flash of this incident, we see great Rome, the imperial republic, going downward under her Lucretian doom. Scepticism has eaten away even the confident sanity of the conquerors of the world. He who is enthroned to say what is justice can only ask: ‘What is truth?’ So in that drama which decided the whole fate of antiquity, one of the central figures is fixed in what seems the reverse of his true role. Rome was almost another name for responsibility. Yet he stands for ever as a sort of rocking statue of the irresponsible. Man could do no more. Even the practical had become the impracticable. Standing between the pillars of his own judgement-seat, a Roman had washed his hands of the world.
G.K. Chesterton (The Everlasting Man)
If it were not my purpose to combine barbarian things with things Hellenic, to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower the blessings of the Hellenic justice and peace over every nation, I should not be content to sit quietly in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes. But as things are, forgive me Diogenes, that I imitate Herakles, and emulate Perseus, and follow in the footsteps of Dionysos, the divine author and progenitor of my family, and desire that victorious Hellenes should dance again in India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among the savage mountain tribes beyond the Kaukasos…
Alexander the Great
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens
Is it possible that the Pentateuch could not have been written by uninspired men? that the assistance of God was necessary to produce these books? Is it possible that Galilei ascertained the mechanical principles of 'Virtual Velocity,' the laws of falling bodies and of all motion; that Copernicus ascertained the true position of the earth and accounted for all celestial phenomena; that Kepler discovered his three laws—discoveries of such importance that the 8th of May, 1618, may be called the birth-day of modern science; that Newton gave to the world the Method of Fluxions, the Theory of Universal Gravitation, and the Decomposition of Light; that Euclid, Cavalieri, Descartes, and Leibniz, almost completed the science of mathematics; that all the discoveries in optics, hydrostatics, pneumatics and chemistry, the experiments, discoveries, and inventions of Galvani, Volta, Franklin and Morse, of Trevithick, Watt and Fulton and of all the pioneers of progress—that all this was accomplished by uninspired men, while the writer of the Pentateuch was directed and inspired by an infinite God? Is it possible that the codes of China, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome were made by man, and that the laws recorded in the Pentateuch were alone given by God? Is it possible that Æschylus and Shakespeare, Burns, and Beranger, Goethe and Schiller, and all the poets of the world, and all their wondrous tragedies and songs are but the work of men, while no intelligence except the infinite God could be the author of the Pentateuch? Is it possible that of all the books that crowd the libraries of the world, the books of science, fiction, history and song, that all save only one, have been produced by man? Is it possible that of all these, the bible only is the work of God?
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
It was as easy as breathing to go and have tea near the place where Jane Austen had so wittily scribbled and so painfully died. One of the things that causes some critics to marvel at Miss Austen is the laconic way in which, as a daughter of the epoch that saw the Napoleonic Wars, she contrives like a Greek dramatist to keep it off the stage while she concentrates on the human factor. I think this comes close to affectation on the part of some of her admirers. Captain Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion, for example, is partly of interest to the female sex because of the 'prize' loot he has extracted from his encounters with Bonaparte's navy. Still, as one born after Hiroshima I can testify that a small Hampshire township, however large the number of names of the fallen on its village-green war memorial, is more than a world away from any unpleasantness on the European mainland or the high or narrow seas that lie between. (I used to love the detail that Hampshire's 'New Forest' is so called because it was only planted for the hunt in the late eleventh century.) I remember watching with my father and brother through the fence of Stanstead House, the Sussex mansion of the Earl of Bessborough, one evening in the early 1960s, and seeing an immense golden meadow carpeted entirely by grazing rabbits. I'll never keep that quiet, or be that still, again. This was around the time of countrywide protest against the introduction of a horrible laboratory-confected disease, named 'myxomatosis,' into the warrens of old England to keep down the number of nibbling rodents. Richard Adams's lapine masterpiece Watership Down is the remarkable work that it is, not merely because it evokes the world of hedgerows and chalk-downs and streams and spinneys better than anything since The Wind in the Willows, but because it is only really possible to imagine gassing and massacre and organized cruelty on this ancient and green and gently rounded landscape if it is organized and carried out against herbivores.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
To begin with, we have to be more clear about what we mean by patriotic feelings. For a time when I was in high school, I cheered for the school athletic teams. That's a form of patriotism — group loyalty. It can take pernicious forms, but in itself it can be quite harmless, maybe even positive. At the national level, what "patriotism" means depends on how we view the society. Those with deep totalitarian commitments identify the state with the society, its people, and its culture. Therefore those who criticized the policies of the Kremlin under Stalin were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "hating Russia". For their counterparts in the West, those who criticize the policies of the US government are "anti-American" and "hate America"; those are the standard terms used by intellectual opinion, including left-liberal segments, so deeply committed to their totalitarian instincts that they cannot even recognize them, let alone understand their disgraceful history, tracing to the origins of recorded history in interesting ways. For the totalitarian, "patriotism" means support for the state and its policies, perhaps with twitters of protest on grounds that they might fail or cost us too much. For those whose instincts are democratic rather than totalitarian, "patriotism" means commitment to the welfare and improvement of the society, its people, its culture. That's a natural sentiment and one that can be quite positive. It's one all serious activists share, I presume; otherwise why take the trouble to do what we do? But the kind of "patriotism" fostered by totalitarian societies and military dictatorships, and internalized as second nature by much of intellectual opinion in more free societies, is one of the worst maladies of human history, and will probably do us all in before too long. With regard to the US, I think we find a mix. Every effort is made by power and doctrinal systems to stir up the more dangerous and destructive forms of "patriotism"; every effort is made by people committed to peace and justice to organize and encourage the beneficial kinds. It's a constant struggle. When people are frightened, the more dangerous kinds tend to emerge, and people huddle under the wings of power. Whatever the reasons may be, by comparative standards the US has been a very frightened country for a long time, on many dimensions. Quite commonly in history, such fears have been fanned by unscrupulous leaders, seeking to implement their own agendas. These are commonly harmful to the general population, which has to be disciplined in some manner: the classic device is to stimulate fear of awesome enemies concocted for the purpose, usually with some shreds of realism, required even for the most vulgar forms of propaganda. Germany was the pride of Western civilization 70 years ago, but most Germans were whipped to presumably genuine fear of the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany (is that crazier than the Nicaraguan or Grenadan dagger pointed at the heart of the US, conjured up by the people now playing the same game today?), the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy aimed at destroying the Aryan race and the civilization that Germany had inherited from Greece, etc. That's only the beginning. A lot is at stake.
Noam Chomsky