Greece Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Greece. Here they are! All 200 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)
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.
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)
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) that star of the waning summer who beyond all stars rises bathed in the ocean stream to glitter in brilliance.
Homer (The Iliad)
Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
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)
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.
You can't swing a cat in Ancient Greece without hitting one of Zeus's ex-girlfriends.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
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)
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)
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
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))
…but there they lay, sprawled across the field, craved far more by the vultures than by wives.
Homer (The Iliad)
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
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
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)
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)
I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day!
Walt Disney Company
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
You, you insolent brazen bitch—you really dare to shake that monstrous spear in Father’s face?
Homer (The Iliad)
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
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)
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))
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))
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 would have been a better fuck in Greece, maybe. America was a shitty place to fuck.
Charles Bukowski (Women)
Only trivial annoyances still matter. “If Greece goes bankrupt the bingo prizes will probably get smaller,” was Mrs. Schouten’s analysis of the eurozone crisis.
Hendrik Groen (The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼ Years Old)
. . .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)
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)
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)
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))
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))
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)
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)
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)
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
The road to the Olympics, leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads — in the end — to the best within us.
Jesse Owens
We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their root in Greece
Percy Bysshe Shelley
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)
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))
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)
Do not be alarmed if they look paler than the other maidens of Greece. They are scarcely of this Earth, and seem to be shaking off the sleep of a past life.
Charles Nodier (Smarra & Trilby)
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)
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)
Rome was not simply the thuggish younger sibling of classical Greece, committed to engineering, military efficiency and absolutism, whereas the Greeks preferred intellectual inquiry, theatre and democracy.
Mary Beard (SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome)
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
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)
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)
Life is Not a perpetual climb towards Greatness. For our family, ourselves, and friends, It is but sad Decay, so, Let every girl die after her Hebé (Ἥβη). And every man after his Aristeia(ἀριστεία).
Roman Payne
I believe in Eternity. I can find Greece, Palestine, Italy, Spain, and the Islands, - the Genius and creative Principle of each and of all eras, in my own mind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Cassander had now killed the mother, wife, and son of Alexander the Great.
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
Captive Greece took captive her savage conquerer and brought the arts to rustic Latium
Horatius (Epistles Book II and Epistle to the Pisones (Ars Poetica))
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)
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)
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)
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)
Six thousand Thebans died in battle, and another thirty thousand were sold into slavery. Alexander established his authority over the Greeks by an act of singular violence, and any chance he had in the future of trusting them was destroyed along with Thebes.
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
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)
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)
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)
I'd rather have a heart of gold Than all the treasure of the world.
Ana Claudia Antunes (Memoirs of An Amazon)
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
Otrera led her warriors on tons of successful campaigns across Asia Minor and into Greece. They founded two famous cities on the western coast of Turkey – Smyrna and Ephesus. Why they picked those names, I don’t know. I would’ve gone with Buttkickville and Smackdown City, but that’s just me.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes (Percy Jackson's Greek Myths Book 2))
Greece is internationally famous for three reasons. First it has more islands than people. Second, it used to be a part of Turkey. Third, its national hero, Alexander the Great, was a Yugoslavian.
Fatima Bhutto (Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir)
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)
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)
… the fisherman’s daughter grinding serenity in her coffee grinder.
Yiannis Ritsos (The Fourth Dimension)
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)
If the entire course of evolution were compressed into a single year, the earliest bacteria would appear at the end of March, but we wouldn't see the first human ancestors until 6 a.m. on December 31st. The golden age of Greece, about 500 BCE, would occur just thirty seconds before midnight.
Jerry A. Coyne (Why Evolution Is True)
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)
Il segreto più profondo di Olimpia è racchiuso in quest'unica nota cristallina: lottare è un gioco, vivere è un gioco, morire è un gioco; profitti e perdite non sono che distinzioni passeggere, ma il gioco pretende tutte le nostre forze, e la sorte accetta, come posta, unicamente i nostri cuori.
Marguerite Yourcenar (Pellegrina e straniera)
The Greeks do not think correctly about coming-to-be and passing-away; for no thing comes to be or passes away, but is mixed together and dissociated from the things that are. And thus they would be correct to call coming-to-be mixing-together and passing-away dissociating
TEIRESIAS: Alas, how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that's wise! This I knew well, but had forgotten it, else I would not have come here.
Sophocles (The Complete Greek Tragedies (4-vol. set))
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)
Decker went to Greece a few summers ago and showed me pictures from his trip. "Aren't these awesome?" he had said, pointing out photographs of the ancient ruins. "Awesome" I agreed, but I felt dizzy. The ruins were just a reminder that what had been was no longer. That everything we are will be gone someday. That I will be forgotten.
Megan Miranda (Fracture (Fracture, #1))
The fact is that men who know nothing of decency in their own lives are only too ready to launch foul slanders against their betters and to offer them up as victims to the evil deity of popular envy.
Good fortune will elevate even petty minds, and gives them the appearance of a certain greatness and stateliness, as from their high place they look down upon the world; but the truly noble and resolved spirit raises itself, and becomes more conspicuous in times of disaster and ill fortune...
Plutarch (Plutarch's Lives: Volume II)
Italy was about churches, Greece it's ruins; but Israel was about surviving and about feeling glad.
Martha Gellhorn (Travels With Myself and Another)
Greece is like a mirror. It makes you suffer. Then you learn.
John Fowles (The Magus)
Uncertainty is a temptress. We may try our best to avoid her. But what is certain is that at some point of time, she will find us. The only question that remains is whether like Medusa, she will paralyze you, or whether like one of the nine muses of ancient Greece, she will drive you to greater things.
Richie Singh (Chasing Butterflies)
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)
Concerning the gods I cannot know either that they exist or that they do not exist, or what form they might have, for there is much to prevent one's knowing: the obscurity of the subject and the shortness of man's life.
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)
It is not the bloodletting that calls down power. It is the consenting.
Mary Renault (The King Must Die (Theseus, #1))
On the strength of these successes, Alcibiades at last returned to Athens in 408. The Athenian people had short memories:
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
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)
It is but sorrow to be wise when wisdom profits not.
Sophocles (The Oedipus Tyrannus)
another of Pericles’ associates (a kinsman by marriage), the Athenian musicologist and political theorist Damon of Oa, was ostracized “for seeming to be too much of an intellectual.
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient 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
Everything happens according to Law; that nothing ever "merely happens"; that there is no such thing as Chance; that while there are various planes of Cause and Effect, the higher dominating the lower planes, still nothing ever entirely escapes the Law.
Three Initiates (The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
But now, as it is, sorrows, unending sorrows must surge within your heart as well—for your own son’s death. Never again will you embrace him stiding home. My spirit rebels—I’ve lost the will to live, to take my stand in the world of men—
Homer (The Iliad)
Beauty will not come at the call of a legislature, nor will it repeat in England or America its history in Greece. It will come, as always, unannounced, and spring up between the feet of brave and earnest men.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This was a man who moved like the gods were watching: every gesture he made was upright and correct. There was no one else it could be but Hector
Madeline Miller
Ptolemy II’s far-famed parade, held in Alexandria perhaps in 278, included eighty thousand soldiers; even Adolf Hitler’s fiftieth birthday in 1939 was celebrated by only fifty thousand
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don't just go away, they are only postponed to someone else's advantage. Therefore, they made war with Philip and Antiochus in Greece, in order not to have to fight them in Italy... They never went by that saying which you constantly hear from the wiseacres of our day, that time heals all things. They trusted rather their own character and prudence— knowing perfectly well that time contains the seeds of all things, good as well as bad.
Niccolò Machiavelli
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
When I was girl by Nilus stream I watched the deserts stars arise; My lover, he who dreamed the Sphinx, Learned all his dreaming from eyes. I bore in Greece a burning name, And I have been in Italy Madonna to a painter-lad, And mistress to a Medici. And have you heard (and I have heard) Of puzzled men with decorous mien, Who judged - the wench knew far too much - And burnt her on the Salem green?
Adelaide Crapsey (Verse)
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)
For all their attempts to impose their rule on one another, they succeeded only in losing their ability to rule themselves,” was a late historian’s somber but accurate comment.1 In 338, at the battle of Chaeronea, the Macedonians under Philip II defeated the Greeks and curtailed their cherished freedoms forever.
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
Greek customs such as wine drinking were regarded as worthy of imitation by other cultures. So the ships that carried Greek wine were carrying Greek civilization, distributing it around the Mediterranean and beyond, one amphora at a time. Wine displaced beer to become the most civilized and sophisticated of drinks—a status it has maintained ever since, thanks to its association with the intellectual achievements of Ancient Greece.
Tom Standage (A History of the World in 6 Glasses)
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)
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)
[T]hose who willed the means and wished the ends are not absolved from guilt by the refusal of reality to match their schemes.
Christopher Hitchens (The Trial of Henry Kissinger)
[O]ther thinkers have philosophised since the time of Plato, but that does not destroy the interest and beauty of his philosophy
Frederick Charles Copleston (A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome, From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus)
The rich wanted to be kaloi k’agathoi, the beautiful and the good—so let them use their graces in the service of the democracy
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
Why couldn't Rachel be a little more specific about the type of person she was? Goodness knew; if she were a hippie I'd talk to her about her drug experiences, the zodiac, tarot cards. If she were left-wing I'd look miserable, hate Greece, and eat baked beans straight from the tin. If she were the sporty type I'd play her at... chess and backgammon and things.
Martin Amis (The Rachel Papers)
Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery. The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era.
Milton Friedman
How the hell do you call Russia from Greece? It’s like trying to figure out rela-fucking-tivity. And still, I gave it several shots. Of Ouzo. Seriously, you have no idea how much your situation is affecting me. I’ve been stress-eating my way across Greece.” I frowned. “You don’t stress-eat—” “Cock, Natalie. I was stress-eating cock. There, you made me say it, happy now?” “Opa!
Kresley Cole (The Professional (The Game Maker, #1))
In our own time the whole of Greece has been subject to a low birth rate and a general decrease of the population, owing to which cities have become deserted and the land has ceased to yield fruit, although there have neither been continuous wars nor epidemics...For as men had fallen into such a state of pretentiousness, avarice, and indolence that they did not wish to marry, or if they married to rear the children born to them, or at most as a rule but one or two of them, so as to leave these in affluence and bring them up to waste their substance, the evil rapidly and insensibly grew.
Polybius (The Histories, Vol 6: Bks.XXVIII-XXXIX)
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)
Periclean Greeks employed the term idiotis, without any connotation of stupidity or subnormality, to mean simply 'a person indifferent to public affairs.' Obviously, there is something wanting in the apolitical personality. But we have also come to suspect the idiocy of politicization—of the professional pol and power broker. The two idiocies make a perfect match, with the apathy of the first permitting the depredations of the second.
Christopher Hitchens (Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports)
...Feel no fear before the multitude of men, do not run in panic, but let each man bear his shield straight toward the fore-fighters, regarding his own life as hateful and holding the dark spirits of death as dear as the radiance of the sun.
Tyrtaeus (Spartan Lessons; Or, the Praise of Valour; In the Verses of Tyrtaeus; An Ancient Athenian Poet, ... (Latin Edition))
Remember us, Should any free soul come across this place, In all the countless centuries yet to be, May our voices whisper to you from the ageless stones, Go tell the Spartans, passerby: That here by Spartan law, we lie.
Frank Miller (300)
Socrates is guilty of not acknowledging the gods the city acknowledges, and of introducing other new deities. He is also guilty of subverting the young men of the city. The penalty demanded is death.
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient 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)
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)
I will not be quiet. I cannot believe you’re moving to Greece. That’s… that’s insane.” Now hang on a second! “It’s not insane,” I shot back. “It is! Who moves to Greece? Do you know a single soul who’s moved to Greece?” He didn’t give me a chance to reply before he continued, “No? Me neither. No one moves to Greece. Goes there. Yes. Gets laid. Definitely. Drinks ouzo. Lots of it. Gets a sunburn. Of course! But you don’t move there!
Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick Regret (Rock Chick, #7))
In the past, people around the world heard the buzzing of bees as voices of the departed, a murmured conveyance from the spirit world. This belief traces back to the cultures of Egypt and Greece, among others, where tradition held that a person's soul appeared in bee form when it left the body, briefly visible (and audible) in its journey to the hereafter...Nobody knows the exact sequence of events that led to the beginning of bees, but everyone can agree on at least one thing: we know what it sounded like.
Thor Hanson (Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees)
Life keeps changing without giving a damn about our personal feelings.
Kate Papas (Married or merry?)
When you fear nothing, you have nothing to fear
S.F. Chandler (We the Great Are Misthought (Cleopatra Selene, #1))
The student of Comparative Religions will be able to perceive the influence of the Hermetic Teachings in every religion worthy of the name...
Three Initiates (The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
I did not pretend to be a mortal. I showed my lambent, yellow eyes at every turn. None of it made a difference. I was alone and a woman, that was all that mattered.
Madeline Miller (Circe)
The devotee of myth is in a way a philosopher, for myth is made up of things that cause wonder. (Metaphysics, I, 982b 18–19)
Aristotle (Metaphysics)
Youths of the Pellaians and of the Macedonians and of the Hellenic Amphictiony and of the Lakedaimonians and of the Corinthians… and of all the Hellenic peoples, join your fellow-soldiers and entrust yourselves to me, so that we can move against the barbarians and liberate ourselves from the Persian bondage, for as Greeks we should not be slaves to barbarians.
Alexander the Great
I do not admire the excess of a virtue like courage unless I see at the same time an excess of the opposite virtue, as in Epaminondas, who possessed extreme courage and extreme kindness. Otherwise it is not rising to the heights but falling down. We show greatness, not by being at one extreme, but by touching both at once and occupying all the space in between.
Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
But they could neither of them persuade me, for there is nothing dearer to a man than his own country and his parents, and however splendid a home he may have in a foreign country, if it be far from father or mother, he does not care about it.
Homer (The Odyssey)
...we do not lend the hearth quite the importance that our ancestors did, Greek or otherwise. Yet, even for us, the word stands for something more than just a fireplace. We speak of 'hearth and home'. The word 'hearth' shares its ancestry with 'heart', just as the modern Greek for 'hearth' is kardia, which also means 'heart'. In Ancient Greece the wider concept of hearth and home was expressed by the oikos, which lives on for us today in economics and ecology. The Latin for hearth is focus - with speaks for itself. It is a strange and wonderful thing that out of the words for fireplace we have spun "cardiologist', 'deep focus' and 'eco-warrior'. The essential meaning of centrality that connects them also reveals the great significance of the hearth to the Greeks and Romans, and consequently the importance of Hestia, its presiding deity.
Stephen Fry (Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry's Great Mythology, #1))
TEIRESIAS: You have your eyes but see not where you are in sin, nor where you live, nor whom you live with. Do you know who your parents are? Unknowing you are enemy to kith and kin in death, beneath the earth, and in this life.
Sophocles (The Complete Greek Tragedies (4-vol. set))
I recognized the handwriting, and my heart gave a skip; when I opened it I got a turn, for it began, 'To my beloved Hector,' and I thought, by God she's cheating on me, and has sent me the wrong letter by mistake. But in the second line was a reference to Achilles, and another to Ajax, so I understood she was just addressing me in terms which she accounted fitting for a martial paladin; she knew no better. It was a common custom at that time, in the more romantic females, to see their soldier husbands and sweethearts as Greek heroes, instead of the whore-mongering, drunken clowns most of them were. However, the Greek heroes were probably no better, so it was not far off the mark.
George MacDonald Fraser (Flashman (The Flashman Papers, #1))
…and they limp and halt, they’re all wrinkled, drawn, they squint to the side, can’t look you in the eyes, and always bent on duty, trudging after Ruin, maddening, blinding Ruin. But Ruin is strong and swift—She outstrips them all by far, stealing a march, leaping over the whole wide earth to bring mankind to grief.
Homer (The Iliad)
Y That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? Me with my arms outstretched, feet in first position. The chromosome half of us don't have. Second to last in the alphabet: almost there. Coupled with an L, let's make an adverb. A modest X, legs closed. Y or N? Yes, of course. Upside-down peace sign. Little bird tracks in the sand. Y, a Greet letter, joined the Latin alphabet after the Romans conquered Greece in the first century -- a double agent: consonant and vowel. No one used adverbs before then, and no one was happy.
Marjorie Celona (Y)
Identity was partly heritage, partly upbringing, but mostly the choices you make in life.” Patricia Briggs.
Demetra Angelis Foustanellas (Secrets In A Jewellery Box)
The Infinite Mind of THE ALL is the womb of Universes.
Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
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)
History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up,' Voltaire reportedly said. The observation refers to the argument that fortunes of nations or civilizations or societies rise and fall based on the character of their people, and this character is heavily influenced by the material and moral condition of their society. The idea was a staple of history writing from ancient Greece until it began to decline in popularity after the middle of the twentieth century.
Dan Carlin (The End is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses)
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
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
I had no idea what to say to this. I had been nurtured in the U.S. school system on a steady diet of the Great Men theory of history. History was full of Great Men. I had to take separate Women’s History courses just to learn about what women were doing while all the men were killing each other. It turned out many of them were governing countries and figuring out rather effective methods of birth control that had sweeping ramifications on the makeup of particular states, especially Greece and Rome. Half the world is full of women, but it’s rare to hear a narrative that doesn’t speak of women as the people who have things done to them instead of the people who do things. More often, women are talked about as a man’s daughter. A man’s wife.
Kameron Hurley
Holy shadows of the dead, I am not to blame for your cruel and bitter fate, but the accursed rivalry which brought sister nations and brother people to fight one another. I do not feel happy for this victory of mine. On the contrary, I would be glad, brothers, if I had all of you standing here next to me, since we are united by the same language, the same blood and the same visions. [Addressing the dead Hellenes of the Battle of Chaeronea]
Alexander the Great
Do you know why our poetry today and especially our philosophy are such dead issues? Because they've cut themselves off from life. Now, Greece idealized on life's own level: an artist's life was already a poetic achievement; a philosopher's life was an enactment of his philosophy; and when they were a part of life that way, instead of ignoring each other, philosophy could nourish poetry, poetry express philosophy, and together achieve an admirable persuasiveness. Today beauty no longer acts; and action no longer bothers about being beautiful; and wisdom operates on the sidelines.
André Gide (The Immoralist)
Every cuisine has its characteristic 'flavor principle,' Rozin contends, whether it is tomato-lemon-oregano in Greece; lime-chili in Mexico; onion-lard-paprika in Hungary, or, in Samin's Moroccan dish, cumin-coriander-cinnamon-ginger-onion-fruit. (And in America? Well, we do have Heinz ketchup, a flavor principle in a bottle that kids, or their parents, use to domesticate every imaginable kind of food. We also now have the familiar salty-umami taste of fast food, which I would guess is based on salt, soy oil, and MSG.
Michael Pollan (Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation)
CHORUS: You that live in my ancestral Thebes, behold this Oedipus,- him who knew the famous riddles and was a man most masterful; not a citizen who did not look with envy on his lot- see him now and see the breakers of misfortune swallow him! Look upon that last day always. Count no mortal happy till he has passed the final limit of his life secure from pain.
Sophocles (The Complete Greek Tragedies (4-vol. set))
Egypt is a fertile valley of rich river soil, low-lying, warm, monotonous, a slow-flowing river, and beyond the limitless desert. Greece is a country of sparse fertility and keen, cold winters, all hills and mountains sharp cut in stone, where strong men must work hard to get their bread. And while Egypt submitted and suffered and turned her face toward death, Greece resisted and rejoiced and turned full-face to life. For somewhere among those steep stone mountains, in little sheltered valleys where the great hills were ramparts to defend, and men could have security for peace and happy living, something quite new came into the world: the joy of life found expression. Perhaps it was born there, among the shepherds pasturing their flocks where the wild flowers made a glory on the hillside; among the sailors on a sapphire sea washing enchanted islands purple in a luminous air.
Edith Hamilton (The Greek Way)
Y'know — Babylon once had two million people in it, and all we know about 'em is the names of the kings and some copies of wheat contracts . . . and contracts for the sale of slaves. Yet every night all those families sat down to supper, and the father came home from his work, and the smoke went up the chimney,— same as here. And even in Greece and Rome, all we know about the real life of the people is what we can piece together out of the joking poems and the comedies they wrote for the theatre back then. So I'm going to have a copy of this play put in the cornerstone and the people a thousand years from now'll know a few simple facts about us — more than the Treaty of Versailles and the Lind-bergh flight. See what I mean? So — people a thousand years from now — this is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. — This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying. Said by the Stage Manager
Thornton Wilder (Our Town)
The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern 'knowledge' is that it is wrong. The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. 'If I am the wisest man,' said Socrates, 'it is because I alone know that I know nothing.' The implication was that I was very foolish because I was under the impression I knew a great deal. Alas, none of this was new to me. (There is very little that is new to me; I wish my correspondents would realize this.) This particular theme was addressed to me a quarter of a century ago by John Campbell, who specialized in irritating me. He also told me that all theories are proven wrong in time. My answer to him was, 'John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.
Isaac Asimov (The Relativity of Wrong)
In thanks for their survival, the Rhodians erected a huge bronze statue of Helios—the Sun god, their patron deity—at the entrance to their harbor. With a height of thirty meters (a hundred feet), the Colossus of Rhodes, as it is known, was considered one of the wonders of the world—this was an age that admired gigantism—but it snapped at the knees and fell during an earthquake in 227.
Robin Waterfield (Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece)
I left them to it, the pointing of fingers on maps, the tracing of mountain villages, the tracks and contours on maps of larger scale, and basked for the one evening allowed to me in the casual, happy atmosphere of the taverna where we dined. I enjoyed poking my finger in a pan and choosing my own piece of lamb. I liked the chatter and the laughter from neighbouring tables. The gay intensity of talk - none of which I could understand, naturally - reminded me of left-bank Paris. A man from one table would suddenly rise to his feet and stroll over to another, discussion would follow, argument at heat perhaps swiftly dissolving into laughter. This, I thought to myself, has been happening through the centuries under this same sky, in the warm air with a bite to it, the sap drink pungent as the sap running through the veins of these Greeks, witty and cynical as Aristophanes himself, in the shadow, unmoved, inviolate, of Athene's Parthenon. ("The Chamois")
Daphne du Maurier (Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories)
Men are not born equal in themselves, so I think it beneath a man to postulate that they are. If I thought myself as good as Sokrates I should be a fool; and if, not really believing it, I asked you to make me happy by assuring me of it, you would rightly despise me. So why should I insult my fellow-citizens by treating them as fools and cowards? A man who thinks himself as good as everyone else will be at no pains to grow better. On the other hand, I might think myself as good as Sokrates, and even persuade other fools to agree with me; but under a democracy, Sokrates is there in the Agora to prove me wrong. I want a city where I can find my equals and respect my betters, whoever they are; and where no one can tell me to swallow a lie because it is expedient, or some other man's will.
Mary Renault (The Last of the Wine)
That love, which is the highest joy, which is divine simplicity itself, is not for you moderns, you children of reflection. It works only evil in you. As soon as you wish to be natural, you become common. To you nature seems something hostile; you have made devils out of the smiling gods of Greece, and out of me a demon. You can only exorcise and curse me, or slay yourselves in bacchantic madness before my altar. And if ever one of you has had the courage to kiss my red mouth, he makes a barefoot pilgrimage to Rome in penitential robes and expects flowers to grow from his withered staff, while under my feet roses, violets, and myrtles spring up every hour, but their fragrance does not agree with you. Stay among your northern fogs and Christian incense; let us pagans remain under the debris, beneath the lava; do not disinter us.
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (Venus in Furs)
Ready to have some fun?” She didn’t give him time to answer. Weighed down with the chains, she flashed to a busy street in New York—fingers crossed he would be run over—then to a gay strip club in Italy—fingers crossed he would be groped—then to a zoo in Oklahoma—fingers crossed the elephant shit was ripe. “Enjoy,” she muttered with relish. Anya flashed one final time, back to where she’d begun: his home in Greece. Lucien was still following her trail. Lightning-quick, she hid the chains under the bed and palmed her Taser. When she straightened he was there, just in front of her. Her breath caught. He was still scowling, teeth bared and sharp, Death glowing in his eyes. He had a bleeding cut on his leg and he smelled like shit. Her nose wrinkled. “Step in something?” she asked innocently. “That, I did not mind.” He took a menacing step toward her. “What I did mind was being hit by a cab, then landing on the lap of a naked man. With an erection, Anya. He had an erection.” She grinned. She just couldn’t help herself.
Gena Showalter (The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld, #2))
think, for example, has a higher suicide rate: countries whose citizens declare themselves to be very happy, such as Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Canada? or countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, whose citizens describe themselves as not very happy at all? Answer: the so-called happy countries. It’s the same phenomenon as in the Military Police and the Air Corps. If you are depressed in a place where most people are pretty unhappy, you compare yourself to those around you and you don’t feel all that bad. But can you imagine how difficult it must be to be depressed in a country where everyone else has a big smile on their face?2 Caroline Sacks’s decision to evaluate herself, then, by looking around her organic chemistry classroom was not some strange and irrational behavior. It is what human beings do. We compare ourselves to those in the same situation as ourselves, which means that students in an elite school—except, perhaps,
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
Call no man lucky until he is dead, but there have been moment of rare satisfaction in the often random and fragmented life of the radical freelance scribbler. I have lived to see Ronald Reagan called “a useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda” by his former idolators; to see the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union regarded with fear and suspicion by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (which blacked out an interview with Miloš Forman broadcast live on Moscow TV); to see Mao Zedong relegated like a despot of antiquity. I have also had the extraordinary pleasure of revisiting countries—Greece, Spain, Zimbabwe, and others—that were dictatorships or colonies when first I saw them. Other mini-Reichs have melted like dew, often bringing exiled and imprisoned friends blinking modestly and honorably into the glare. E pur si muove—it still moves, all right.
Christopher Hitchens (Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports)
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)
Degeneracy, lust, and passion, hates and fears, crept into the souls of Greece and Rome, and Black Magic overshadowed Egypt; the light upon the altar grew weaker and weaker. The priests lost the Word, the name of the Flame. Little by little the Flame flickered out, and as the last spark grew cold, a mighty nation died, buried beneath the dead ashes of its own spiritual fire. But the Flame did not die. Like spirit of which it is the essence, it cannot die, because it is life, and life cannot cease to be. In some wilderness of land or sea it rested once again, and there rose a mighty nation around that flame. So history goes on through the ages. As long as a people are true to the Flame, it remains, but when they cease to nourish it with their lives, it goes on to other lands and other worlds.
Manly P. Hall (The Initiates of the Flame (Fully Illustrated))
The man who enjoys keenly, is subject to keen suffering; while he who feels but little pain is capable of feeling but little joy. The pig suffers but little mentally, and enjoys but little — he is compensated. And on the other hand, there are other animals who enjoy keenly, but whose nervous organism and temperament cause them to suffer exquisite degrees of pain. And so it is with Man. There are temperaments which permit of but low degrees of enjoyment, and equally low degrees of suffering; while there are others which permit the most intense enjoyment, but also the most intense suffering. The rule is that the capacity for pain and pleasure, in each individual, are balanced. The Law of Compensation is in full operation here.
Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
These summer nights are short. Going to bed before midnight is unthinkable and talk, wine, moonlight and the warm air are often in league to defer it one, two or three hours more. It seems only a moment after falling asleep out of doors that dawn touches one gently on the shoulder, and, completely refreshed, up one gets, or creeps into the shade or indoors for another luxurious couple of hours. The afternoon is the time for real sleep: into the abyss one goes to emerge when the colours begin to revive and the world to breathe again about five o'clock, ready once more for the rigours and pleasures of late afternoon, the evening, and the night.
Patrick Leigh Fermor (Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese (New York Review Books Classics))
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)
Old men, old men, old men. Medals, medals, medals. Not a brow without a furrow, not a breast without a star. My brother and husband are uniquely-young here. The grouping of young Grand Dukes doesn't count because a grouping is just what they are: a marble bas-relief. Today the whole old-age of Russia seems to have flowed into this place in homage to the eternal youth of Greece. A living lesson of history and philosophy: this is what time does with people, this is what it does--with gods. This is what time does with a man, this is what (a glance at the statues) art does. And, the last lesson: this is what time does with a man; this is what a man does with time. But because of my youth I don't think about that, I feel only a cold shudder. ("The Opening of the Museum")
Marina Tsvetaeva
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
Blindness to larger contexts is a constitutional defect of human thinking imposed by the painful necessity of being able to concentrate on only one thing at a time. We forget as we virtuously concentrate on that one thing that hundreds of other things are going on at the same time and on every side of us, things that are just as important as the object of our study and that are all interconnected in ways that we cannot even guess. Sad to say, our picture of the world to the degree to which it has that neatness, precision, and finality so coveted by scholarship is a false one. I once studied with a famous professor who declared that he deliberately avoided the study of any literature east of Greece lest the new vision destroy the architectonic perfection of his own celebrated construction of the Greek mind. His picture of that mind was immensely impressive but, I strongly suspect, completely misleading.
Hugh Nibley (Of all things!: A Nibley quote book)
Imagine you are a member of a tour visiting Greece. The group goes to the Parthenon. It is a bore. Few people even bother to look — it looked better in the brochure. So people take half a look, mostly take pictures, remark on serious erosion by acid rain. You are puzzled. Why should one of the glories and fonts of Western civilization, viewed under pleasant conditions — good weather, good hotel room, good food, good guide — be a bore? Now imagine under what set of circumstances a viewing of the Parthenon would not be a bore. For example, you are a NATO colonel defending Greece against a Soviet assault. You are in a bunker in downtown Athens, binoculars propped up on sandbags. It is dawn. A medium-range missile attack is under way. Half a million Greeks are dead. Two missiles bracket the Parthenon. The next will surely be a hit. Between columns of smoke, a ray of golden light catches the portico. Are you bored? Can you see the Parthenon? Explain.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
I want to see the Parthenon by moonlight.' I had my way. They floodlight it now, to great advantage I am told, but it was not so then, and since it was late in the year there were few tourists. My companions were all intelligent men, including my own husband, and they had the sense to stay mute. I suppose, being a woman, I confuse beauty with sentiment, but, as I looked on the Parthenon for the first time in my life, I found myself crying. It had never happened to me before. Your sunset weepers I despise. It was not full moon, or anywhere near it. The half circle put me in mind of the labrys, the Cretan double axe, and the pillars were the most ghostly in consequence. What a shock for the modern aesthete, I thought when my crying was done, if he could see the ruddy glow of colour, the painted eyes, the garish lips, the orange-reds and blues that were there once, and Athene herself a giantess on her pedestal touched by the rising sun. Even in those distant times the exigencies of a state religion had brought their own traffic, the buying and selling of doves, of trinkets: to find himself, a man had to go to the woods, to the hills. "Come on," said Stephen. "It's beautiful and stark, if you like, but so is St. Pancras station at 4 A.M. It depends on your association of ideas." We crammed into Burns's small car, and went back to our hotel. ("The Chamois")
Daphne du Maurier (Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories)
You know better than anyone that nothing lasts. Nothing good. Nothing bad. Everything lives. Everything dies. Sometimes cities just fall into the sea. It's not a tragedy, that's just the way it is. People look around them and see the world and say this is how the world is supposed to be. Then they fight to keep it that way. They believe that this is what was intended - whether by design or cosmic accident - and that everything exists in a tenuous balance that must be preserved. But the balance is bullshit. The only thing constant in this world is the speed at which things change. Rain falls, waters rise, shorelines erode. What is one day magnificent seaside property in ancient Greece is the next resting thirty feet below the surface. Islands rise from the sea and continents crack and part ways forever. What was once a verdant forest teeming with life is now resting one thousand feet beneath a sheet of ice in Antarctica; what was once a glorious church now rests at the bottom of a dammed-up lake in Kansas. The job of nature is to march on and keep things going; ours is to look around, appreciate it, and wonder what's next?
C. Robert Cargill (Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows, #1))
The Prince who establishes himself in a Province whose laws and language differ from those of his own people, ought also to make himself the head and protector of his feebler neighbours, and endeavour to weaken the stronger, and must see that by no accident shall any other stranger as powerful as himself find an entrance there. For it will always happen that some such person will be called in by those of the Province who are discontented either through ambition or fear; as we see of old the Romans brought into Greece by the Aetolians, and in every other country that they entered, invited there by its inhabitants. And the usual course of things is that so soon as a formidable stranger enters a Province, all the weaker powers side with him, moved thereto by the ill-will they bear towards him who has hitherto kept them in subjection. So that in respect of these lesser powers, no trouble is needed to gain them over, for at once, together, and of their own accord, they throw in their lot with the government of the stranger. The new Prince, therefore, has only to see that they do not increase too much in strength, and with his own forces, aided by their good will, can easily subdue any who are powerful, so as to remain supreme in the Province. He who does not manage this matter well, will soon lose whatever he has gained, and while he retains it will find in it endless troubles and annoyances.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
HAPPENING APART FROM WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND IT There is a vividness to eleven years of love because it is over. A clarity of Greece now because I live in Manhattan or New England. If what is happening is part of what’s going on around what’s occurring, it is impossible to know what is truly happening. If love is part of the passion, part of the fine food or the villa on the Mediterranean, it is not clear what the love is. When I was walking in the mountains with the Japanese man and began to hear the water, he said, “What is the sound of the waterfall?” “Silence,” he finally told me. The stillness I did not notice until the sound of water falling made apparent the silence I had been hearing long before. I ask myself what is the sound of women? What is the word for that still thing I have hunted inside them for so long? Deep inside the avalanche of joy, the thing deeper in the dark, and deeper still in the bed where we are lost. Deeper, deeper down where a woman’s heart is holding its breath, where something very far away in that body is becoming something we don’t have a name for.
Jack Gilbert (Collected Poems of Jack Gilbert)
These ideas can be made more concrete with a parable, which I borrow from John Fowles’s wonderful novel, The Magus. Conchis, the principle character in the novel, finds himself Mayor of his home town in Greece when the Nazi occupation begins. One day, three Communist partisans who recently killed some German soldiers are caught. The Nazi commandant gives Conchis, as Mayor, a choice — either Conchis will execute the three partisans himself to set an example of loyalty to the new regime, or the Nazis will execute every male in the town. Should Conchis act as a collaborator with the Nazis and take on himself the direct guilt of killing three men? Or should he refuse and, by default, be responsible for the killing of over 300 men? I often use this moral riddle to determine the degree to which people are hypnotized by Ideology. The totally hypnotized, of course, have an answer at once; they know beyond doubt what is correct, because they have memorized the Rule Book. It doesn’t matter whose Rule Book they rely on — Ayn Rand’s or Joan Baez’s or the Pope’s or Lenin’s or Elephant Doody Comix — the hypnosis is indicated by lack of pause for thought, feeling and evaluation. The response is immediate because it is because mechanical. Those who are not totally hypnotized—those who have some awareness of concrete events of sensory space-time, outside their heads— find the problem terrible and terrifying and admit they don’t know any 'correct' answer. I don’t know the 'correct' answer either, and I doubt that there is one. The universe may not contain 'right' and 'wrong' answers to everything just because Ideologists want to have 'right' and 'wrong' answers in all cases, anymore than it provides hot and cold running water before humans start tinkering with it. I feel sure that, for those awakened from hypnosis, every hour of every day presents choices that are just as puzzling (although fortunately not as monstrous) as this parable. That is why it appears a terrible burden to be aware of who you are, where you are, and what is going on around you, and why most people would prefer to retreat into Ideology, abstraction, myth and self-hypnosis. To come out of our heads, then, also means to come to our senses, literally—to live with awareness of the bottle of beer on the table and the bleeding body in the street. Without polemic intent, I think this involves waking from hypnosis in a very literal sense. Only one individual can do it at a time, and nobody else can do it for you. You have to do it all alone.
Robert Anton Wilson (Natural Law: or Don't Put a Rubber on Your Willy)
This preoccupation with the classics was the happiest thing that could have befallen me. It gave me a standard of values. To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education. ... Faulty though my own practice has always been, I learned sound doctrine - the virtue of a clean, bare style, of simplicity, of a hard substance and an austere pattern. Above all the Calvinism of my boyhood was broadened, mellowed, and also confirmed. For if the classics widened my sense of the joy of life they also taught its littleness and transience; if they exalted the dignity of human nature they insisted upon its frailties and the aidos with which the temporal must regard the eternal. I lost then any chance of being a rebel, for I became profoundly conscious of the dominion of unalterable law. ... Indeed, I cannot imagine a more precious viaticum than the classics of Greece and Rome, or a happier fate than that one's youth should be intertwined with their world of clear, mellow lights, gracious images, and fruitful thoughts. They are especially valuable to those who believe that Time enshrines and does not destroy, and who do what I am attempting to do in these pages, and go back upon and interpret the past. No science or philosophy can give that colouring, for such provide a schematic, and not a living, breathing universe. And I do not think that the mastery of other literatures can give it in a like degree, for they do not furnish the same totality of life - a complete world recognisable as such, a humane world, yet one untouchable by decay and death...
John Buchan (Memory Hold-the-Door: The Autobiography of John Buchan)
To the ancients, bears symbolized resurrection. The creature goes to sleep for a long time, its heartbeat decreases to almost nothing. The male often impregnates the female right before hibernation, but miraculously, egg and sperm do not unite right away. They float separately in her uterine broth until much later. Near the end of hibernation, the egg and sperm unite and cell division begins, so that the cubs will be born in the spring when the mother is awakening, just in time to care for and teach her new offspring. Not only by reason of awakening from hibernation as though from death, but much more so because the she-bear awakens with new young, this creature is a profound metaphor for our lives, for return and increase coming from something that seemed deadened. The bear is associated with many huntress Goddesses: Artemis and Diana in Greece and Rome, and Muerte and Hecoteptl, mud women deities in the Latina cultures. These Goddesses bestowed upon women the power of tracking, knowing, 'digging out' the psychic aspects of all things. To the Japanese the bear is the symbol of loyalty, wisdom, and strength. In northern Japan where the Ainu tribe lives, the bear is one who can talk to God directly and bring messages back for humans. The cresent moon bear is considered a sacred being, one who was given the white mark on his throat by the Buddhist Goddess Kwan-Yin, whose emblem is the crescent moon. Kwan-Yin is the Goddess of Deep Compassion and the bear is her emissary. "In the psyche, the bear can be understood as the ability to regulate one's life, especially one's feeling life. Bearish power is the ability to move in cycles, be fully alert, or quiet down into a hibernative sleep that renews one's energy for the next cycle. The bear image teaches that it is possible to maintain a kind of pressure gauge for one's emotional life, and most especially that one can be fierce and generous at the same time. One can be reticent and valuable. One can protect one's territory, make one's boundaries clear, shake the sky if need be, yet be available, accessible, engendering all the same.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves)
Forever, Tom thought. Maybe he’d never go back to the States. It was not so much Europe itself as the evenings he had spent alone, here and in Rome, that made him feel that way. Evenings by himself simply looking at maps, or lying around on sofas thumbing through guidebooks. Evenings looking at his clothes - his clothes and Dickie’s - and feeling Dickie’s rings between his palms, and running his fingers over the antelope suitcase he had bought at Gucci’s. He had polished the suitcase with a special English leather dressing, not that it needed polishing because he took such good care of it, but for its protection. He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn’t that worth something? He existed. Not many people in the world knew how to, even if they had the money. It really didn’t take money, masses of money, it took a certain security. He had been on the road to it, even with Marc Priminger. He had appreciated Marc’s possessions, and they were what had attracted him to the house, but they were not his own, and it had been impossible to make a beginning at acquiring anything of his own on forty dollars a week. It would have taken him the best years of his life, even if he had economised stringently, to buy the things he wanted. Dickie’s money had given him only an added momentum on the road he had been travelling. The money gave him the leisure to see Greece, to collect Etruscan pottery if he wanted (he had recently read an interesting book on that subject by an American living in Rome), to join art societies if he cared to and to donate to their work. It gave him the leisure, for instance, to read his Malraux tonight as late as he pleased, because he did not have to go to a job in the morning. He had just bought a two-volume edition of Malraux’s Psychologic de I’art which he was now reading, with great pleasure, in French with the aid of a dictionary.
Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ripley, #1))
There was no politics in Persia because the great king was the master of slaves, not rulers of citizens. The point is beautifully made by Herodotus, the father of history and our own starting point. The exiled Spartan king, Demaratus, had taken refuge at the court of the great king of Persia, Darius I, in 491 BCE. Darius made him the ruler of Pergamum and some other cities. In 480 Darius's son and successor, Xerxes, took him to see the enormous army he had assembled to avenge his father's humiliation by the Athenians in an earlier attempt to conquer Greece. 'Surely,' he said to Demaratus, "the Greeks will not fight against such odds.' He was displeased when Demaratus assured him that they certainly would. 'How is it possible that a thousand men-- or ten thousand, or fifty thousand should stand up to an army as big as mine, especially if they were not under a single master but all perfectly free to do as they pleased?' He could understand that they might feign courage if they were whipped into battle as his Persian troops would be, but it was absurd to suppose that they would fight against such odds. Not a bit of it, said Demaratus. THey would fight and die to preserve their freedom. He added, 'They are free--yes--but they are not wholly free; for they have a master, and that master is Law, which they fear much more than your subjects fear you. Whatever this master commands they do; and his command never varies: it is never to retreat in battle, however great the odds, but always to remain in formation and to conquer or die.' They were Citizens, not subjects, and free men, not slaves; they were disciplined but self-disciplined. Free men were not whipped into battle.
Alan Ryan (On Politics: A History of Political Thought From Herodotus to the Present)
CHAPTER XXVI.—A new Prince in a City or Province of which he has taken Possession, ought to make Everything new. Whosoever becomes prince of a city or State, more especially if his position be so insecure that he cannot resort to constitutional government either in the form of a republic or a monarchy, will find that the best way to preserve his princedom is to renew the whole institutions of that State; that is to say, to create new magistracies with new names, confer new powers, and employ new men, and like David when he became king, exalt the humble and depress the great, "filling the hungry with good things, and sending the rich empty away." Moreover, he must pull down existing towns and rebuild them, removing their inhabitants from one place to another; and, in short, leave nothing in the country as he found it; so that there shall be neither rank, nor condition, nor honour, nor wealth which its possessor can refer to any but to him. And he must take example from Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander, who by means such as these, from being a petty prince became monarch of all Greece; and of whom it was written that he shifted men from province to province as a shepherd moves his flocks from one pasture to another. These indeed are most cruel expedients, contrary not merely to every Christian, but to every civilized rule of conduct, and such as every man should shun, choosing rather to lead a private life than to be a king on terms so hurtful to mankind. But he who will not keep to the fair path of virtue, must to maintain himself enter this path of evil. Men, however, not knowing how to be wholly good or wholly bad, choose for themselves certain middle ways, which of all others are the most pernicious, as shall be shown by an instance in the following Chapter.
Niccolò Machiavelli (Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius)
Friends, Grecian Heroes, Ministers of Mars! Grievous, and all unlook’d for, is the blow Which Jove hath dealt me; by his promise led I hop’d to raze the strong-built walls of Troy, And home return in safety; but it seems 130 He falsifies his word, and bids me now Return to Argos, frustrate of my hope, Dishonour’d, and with grievous loss of men. Such now appears th’ o’er-ruling sov’reign will Of Saturn’s son; who oft hath sunk the heads 135 Of many a lofty city in the dust, And yet will sink; for mighty is his hand. ’Tis shame indeed that future days should hear How such a force as ours, so great, so brave, Hath thus been baffled, fighting, as we do, 140 ’Gainst numbers far inferior to our own, And see no end of all our warlike toil. For should we choose, on terms of plighted truce, Trojans and Greeks, to number our array; Of Trojans, all that dwell within the town, 145 And we, by tens disposed, to every ten, To crown our cups, one Trojan should assign, Full many a ten no cup-bearer would find: So far the sons of Greece outnumber all That dwell within the town; but to their aid 150 Bold warriors come from all the cities round, Who greatly harass me, and render vain My hope to storm the strong-built walls of Troy. Already now nine weary years have pass’d; The timbers of our ships are all decay’d, 155 The cordage rotted; in our homes the while Our wives and helpless children sit, in vain Expecting our return; and still the work, For which we hither came, remains undone. Hear then my counsel; let us all agree 160 Home to direct our course, since here in vain We strive to take the well-built walls of Troy.” Thus as he spoke, the crowd, that had not heard The secret council, by his words was mov’d; So sway’d and heav’d the multitude, as when 165 O’er the vast billows of th’ Icarian sea Eurus and Notus from the clouds of Heav’n Pour forth their fury; or as some deep field Of wavy corn, when sweeping o’er the plain The ruffling west wind sways the
Homer (The Iliad)
I probably should say that this is what makes you a good traveler in my opinion, but deep down I really think this is just universal, incontrovertible truth. There is the right way to travel, and the wrong way. And if there is one philanthropic deed that can come from this book, maybe it will be that I teach a few more people how to do it right. So, in short, my list of what makes a good traveler, which I recommend you use when interviewing your next potential trip partner: 1. You are open. You say yes to whatever comes your way, whether it’s shots of a putrid-smelling yak-butter tea or an offer for an Albanian toe-licking. (How else are you going to get the volcano dust off?) You say yes because it is the only way to really experience another place, and let it change you. Which, in my opinion, is the mark of a great trip. 2. You venture to the places where the tourists aren’t, in addition to hitting the “must-sees.” If you are exclusively visiting places where busloads of Chinese are following a woman with a flag and a bullhorn, you’re not doing it. 3. You are easygoing about sleeping/eating/comfort issues. You don’t change rooms three times, you’ll take an overnight bus if you must, you can go without meat in India and without vegan soy gluten-free tempeh butter in Bolivia, and you can shut the hell up about it. 4. You are aware of your travel companions, and of not being contrary to their desires/​needs/​schedules more often than necessary. If you find that you want to do things differently than your companions, you happily tell them to go on without you in a way that does not sound like you’re saying, “This is a test.” 5. You can figure it out. How to read a map, how to order when you can’t read the menu, how to find a bathroom, or a train, or a castle. 6. You know what the trip is going to cost, and can afford it. If you can’t afford the trip, you don’t go. Conversely, if your travel companions can’t afford what you can afford, you are willing to slum it in the name of camaraderie. P.S.: Attractive single people almost exclusively stay at dumps. If you’re looking for them, don’t go posh. 7. You are aware of cultural differences, and go out of your way to blend. You don’t wear booty shorts to the Western Wall on Shabbat. You do hike your bathing suit up your booty on the beach in Brazil. Basically, just be aware to show the culturally correct amount of booty. 8. You behave yourself when dealing with local hotel clerks/​train operators/​tour guides etc. Whether it’s for selfish gain, helping the reputation of Americans traveling abroad, or simply the spreading of good vibes, you will make nice even when faced with cultural frustrations and repeated smug “not possible”s. This was an especially important trait for an American traveling during the George W. years, when the world collectively thought we were all either mentally disabled or bent on world destruction. (One anecdote from that dark time: in Greece, I came back to my table at a café to find that Emma had let a nearby [handsome] Greek stranger pick my camera up off our table. He had then stuck it down the front of his pants for a photo. After he snapped it, he handed the camera back to me and said, “Show that to George Bush.” Which was obviously extra funny because of the word bush.) 9. This last rule is the most important to me: you are able to go with the flow in a spontaneous, non-uptight way if you stumble into something amazing that will bump some plan off the day’s schedule. So you missed the freakin’ waterfall—you got invited to a Bahamian family’s post-Christening barbecue where you danced with three generations of locals in a backyard under flower-strewn balconies. You won. Shut the hell up about the waterfall. Sally
Kristin Newman (What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding)