An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.


Woody Allen (1935-, American director, screenwriter, actor, comedian)


An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


It is the true office of history to represent the events themselves, together with the counsels, and to leave the observations and conclusions thereupon to the liberty and faculty of every man's judgment.


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


To give an accurate and exhaustive account of that period would need a far less brilliant pen than mine.


Max Beerbohm (1872-1956, British actor)


Historian. A broad -- gauge gossip.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


The main thing is to make history, not to write it.


Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898, Russian statesman, Prime Minister)


From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, French general, emperor)


History is simply the version of past events that people have decided to agree on.


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, French general, emperor)


People will not look forward to posterity who will not look backward to their ancestors.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


The Thames is liquid history.


John Burns


God cannot alter the past, but historians can.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


And having wisdom with each studious year, in meditation dwelt, with learning wrought, and shaped his weapon with an edge severe, sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


History is the devil's scripture.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


In our wildest aberrations we dream of an equilibrium we have left behind and which we naively expect to find at the end of our errors. Childish presumption which justifies the fact that child-nations, inheriting our follies, are now directing our history.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


History is the distillation of rumor.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Stern accuracy in inquiring, bold imagination in describing, these are the cogs on which history soars or flutters and wobbles.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


The whole past is the procession of the present.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman.


Willa Cather (1876-1947, American author)


For historians ought to be precise, truthful, and quite unprejudiced, and neither interest nor fear, hatred nor affection, should cause them to swerve from the path of truth, whose mother is history, the rival of time, the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instruction of the present, the monitor of the future.


Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet)


History is but a confused heap of facts.


Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield (1694-1773, British statesman, author)


Fable is more historical than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history myself.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history myself.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


The historian's job is to aggrandize, promoting accident to inevitability and innocuous circumstance to portent.


Peter Conrad (1948-, Australian critic, author)


What is all our histories, but God showing himself, shaking and trampling on everything that he has not planted.


Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658, British Parliamentarian General)


While we read history we make history.


George William Curtis (1824-1892, American journalist)


History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.


Clarence Darrow (1857-1938, American lawyer)


The history of the past interests us only in so far as it illuminates the history of the present.


Ernest Dimnet (1866-1954, French clergyman)


History is so indifferently rich, that a case for almost any conclusion from it can be made by a selection of instances.


William J. Durant (1885-1981, American historian, essayist)


One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.


William J. Durant (1885-1981, American historian, essayist)


History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.


Abba Eban (1915-2002, Israeli politician)


Our best history is still poetry.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


If you look at history you'll find that no state has been so plagued by its rulers as when power has fallen into the hands of some dabbler in philosophy or literary addict.


Desiderius Erasmus (c.1466-1536, Dutch humanist)


Might does not make right, it only makes history.


Jim Fiebig


I can see only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize in the development of human destinies the play of the contingent and the unforeseen.


Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher (1865-1940, British writer)


Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.


Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880, French novelist)


History is more or less bunk.


Henry Ford (1863-1947, American industrialist, founder of Ford Motor Company)


The historian must have some conception of how men who are not historians behave. Otherwise he will move in a world of the dead. He can only gain that conception through personal experience, and he can only use his personal experiences when he is a genius.


Edward M. Forster (1879-1970, British novelist, essayist)


History books that contain no lies are extremely dull.


Anatole France (1844-1924, French writer)


The first duty of an historian is to be on guard against his own sympathies.


James A. Froude (1818-1894, British historian)


The pyramids, attached with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.


R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983, American inventor, designer, poet, philosopher)


To believe what has not occurred in history will not occur at all, is to argue disbelief in the dignity of man.


Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948, Indian political, spiritual leader)


History is little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.


Edward Gibbon (1737-1794, British historian)


The history of mankind is his character.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


History repeats itself. Historians repeat each other.


Philip Guedalla (1889-1944, British writer)


Great abilities are not requisite for an Historian; for in historical composition, all the greatest powers of the human mind are quiescent.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.


Friedrich Hegel


A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.


Robert Heinlein (1907-1988, American science fiction writer)


You treat world history as a mathematician does mathematics, in which nothing but laws and formulas exist, no reality, no good and evil, no time, no yesterday, no tomorrow, nothing but an eternal, shallow, mathematical present.


Hermann Hesse (1877-1962, German-born Swiss novelist, poet)


A page of history is worth a pound of logic.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


One cannot be a good historian of the outward, visible world without giving some thought to the hidden, private life of ordinary people; and on the other hand one cannot be a good historian of this inner life without taking into account outward events where these are relevant. They are two orders of fact which reflect each other, which are always linked and which sometimes provoke each other.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


History teaches us that the great revolutions aren't started by people who are utterly down and out, without hope and vision. They take place when people begin to live a little better -- and when they see how much yet remains to be achieved.


Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978, American Vice President)


It does seem so pleasant to talk with an old acquaintance who knows what you know. I see so many new folks nowadays who seem to have neither past nor future. Conversation has got to have some root in the past, or else you have got to explain every remark you make, and it wears a person out.


Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909, American author)


Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.


Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968, American attorney general, senator)


History is a better guide than good intentions.


Jeane Kirkpatrick (1926-, American stateswoman, academic)


Providence conceals itself in the details of human affairs, but becomes unveiled in the generalities of history.


Alphonse De Lamartine (1790-1869, French poet, statesman, historian)


History tells us more than we want to know about what is wrong with man, and we can hardly turn a page in the daily press without learning the specific time, place, and name of evil. But perhaps the most pervasive evil of all rarely appears in the news. This evil, the waste of human potential, is particularly painful to recognize for it strikes our parents and children, our friends and brothers, ourselves.


George Leonard


Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


History, is made up of the bad actions of extraordinary men and woman. All the most noted destroyers and deceivers of our species, all the founders of arbitrary governments and false religions have been extraordinary people; and nine tenths of the calamities that have befallen the human race had no other origin than the union of high intelligence with low desires.


Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859, American essayist and historian)


The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


Historian -- an unsuccessful novelist.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


The men who make history have not time to write it.


Klemens Von Metternich (1773-1859, Austrian statesman)


I love those historians that are either very simple or most excellent. Such as are between both (which is the most common fashion), it is they that spoil all; they will needs chew our meat for us and take upon them a law to judge, and by consequence to square and incline the story according to their fantasy.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


Throughout history the world has been laid waste to ensure the triumph of conceptions that are now as dead as the men that died for them.


Henry de Montherlant


Valuing history beyond a certain point damages and degrades life.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Walk in the valley of our ancestors, learn of the history, and marvel at the beauty.


New Zealander Proverb


To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.


Plutarch (46-120, Greek essayist, biographer)


Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.


African Proverb (Sayings of African origin)


Until lions have their own historians, accounts of the hunt will always celebrate the hunter.


Nigerian Proverb (Sayings of Nigerian origin)


However gradual the course of history, there must always be the day, even an hour and minute, when some significant action is performed for the first or last time.


Peter Quennell


Historians desiring to write the actions of men, ought to set down the simple truth, and not say anything for love or hatred; also to choose such an opportunity for writing as it may be lawful to think what they will, and write what they think, which is a rare happiness of the time.


Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618, British courtier, navigator, writer)


A land without ruins is a land without memories -- a land without memories is a land without history.


Abram Joseph Ryan


History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


Historians are left forever chasing shadows, painfully aware of their inability ever to reconstruct a dead world in its completeness however thorough or revealing their documentation. We are doomed to be forever hailing someone who has just gone around the corner and out of earshot.


Simon Schama


Historians are prophets with their face turned backward.


Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, historian)


There is a history in all men's lives.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


History contains little beyond a list of people who have accommodate themselves with other people's property.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


History is just the portrayal of crimes and misfortunes.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


History is nothing but a pack of tricks that we play upon the dead.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


Ignorance is the first requisite of the historian -- ignorance, which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art.


Lytton Strachey


Study men, not historians.


Harry S. Truman (1884-1972, American President (33rd))


History is strewn thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill, but a lie, well told, is immortal.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Every time history repeats itself the price goes up.


Author Unknown


History is one of the most remarkable things in our lives. The mere fact it occurred makes it remarkable.


Author Unknown


Never forget the importance of history. To know nothing of what happened before you took your place on earth, is to remain a child for ever and ever.


Author Unknown


We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.


George Washington (1732-1799, American President (1st))


Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.


H.G. Wells (1866-1946, British-born American author)


Human history in essence is the history of ideas.


H.G. Wells (1866-1946, British-born American author)


Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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