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Quotations on History

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The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.

~ Unknown

History belongs to the winner.

~ Unknown

History is something that never happened, written by a man who wasn't there.

~ Unknown

We learn nothing from history except that we learn nothing from history.

~ Unknown

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

~ Ambrose Bierce

Mythology: the body of a primitive people's beliefs, concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deitits and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later.

~ Ambrose Bierce

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

~ Voltaire

History is just a portrayal of crimes and misfortunes.

~ Voltaire

To give an accurate description of what never happened is the proper occupation of the historian.

~ Oscar Wilde

Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.

~ Abraham Lincoln

The causes of events are ever more interresting than the events themselves.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.

~ Georg C. Lichtenberg

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

~ George Santayana

The only thing that does not change is that at any and every time it appears that there have been "great changes."

~ Marcel Proust

History is a vast early warning system.

~ Norman Cousins

When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The minority are right.

~ Eugene V. Debs

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it and wiser than the one that comes after it.

~ George Orwell

We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world - or the last.

~ John F. Kennedy

All history is but the lengthened shadow of a great man.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It has been said that although God cannot alter the past, historians can - it is perhaps because they can be useful to Him in this respect that He tolerates their existence.

~ Samuel Butler

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that History has to teach.

~ Aldous Huxley

The world's history is constant, like the laws of nature, and simple, like the souls of men. The same conditions continually produce the same results.

~ Friedrich von Schiller

History books that contain no lies are extremely dull.

~ Anatole France

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.

~ Leo Tolstoy

Throughout history females have picked providers. Males have picked anything.

~ Margaret Mead

The wisdom of hindsight, so useful to historians and indeed to authors of memoirs, is sadly denied to practicing politicians.

~ Margaret Thatcher

How many pens are broken, how many ink bottles consumed, to write about things that have never happened.

~ Talmud

History is the essence of innumerable biographies.

~ Thomas Carlyle

History teaches us that whenever a weak and ignorant people possess a thing which a strong and enlightened people want, it must be yielded up peaceably.

~ Mark Twain

The game of History is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.

~ Eric Hoffer

What is amusing now had to be taken in desperate earnest once.

~ Virginia Woolf

History is more or less bunk.

~ Henry Ford

The greatest inventions were produced in the times of ignorance, as the use of the compass, gunpowder, and printing.

~ Jonathan Swift

It is sometimes very hard to tell the difference between history and the smell of skunk.

~ Rebecca West

A surfeit of the sweetest things
the deepest loathing to the stomach brings.

~ William Shakespeare

- A Midsummer Night's Dream

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

~ William Shakespeare

- The Merchant of Venice

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven.

~ William Shakespeare

- All's Well That Ends Well

True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings.
Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.

~ William Shakespeare

- King Richard III

Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

~ William Shakespeare

- Macbeth

The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
And is not careful what they mean thereby.

~ William Shakespeare

- Titus Andronicus

History is the devil's scripture.

~ Lord Byron

History is a confused heap of facts.

~ Earl of Chesterfield

History knows no resting place and no plateaus.

~ Henry Kissinger

The historian sees backward. In the end he also believes backward.

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Men after death are understood worse than men of the present, but heard better.

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

History repeats itself, and that's one of the things that's wrong with history.

~ Clarence Darrow

What is history but a fable agreed upon?

~ Napoleon Bonaparte

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

~ Edward Gibbon

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

~ H.G. Wells

History is a simple piece of paper covered with print. The main thing is still to make history, not to write it.

~ Otto von Bismarck

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.

~ Henri de Montherlant

We will hereafter believe less history than ever, now that we have seen how it is made.

~ Don Herold

Every historian discloses a new horizon.

~ George Sand

Blood alone moves the wheels of history.

~ Benito Mussolini

Most of us spend too much time on the last twenty-four hours and too little on the last six thousand years.

~ Will Durant

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

~ Will Durant

Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times. People have always been like this.

~ Gustave Flaubert

The past is a work of art, free of irrelevancies and loose ends.

~ Max Beerbohm

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

~ Klemens Metternich

The people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally.

~ Saki

The function of posterity is to look after itself.

~ Dylan Thomas

Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects.

~ Herodotus

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!

~ William Shakespeare

- King Lear

Just as philosophy is the study of other people's misconceptions, so history is the study of other people's mistakes.

~ Philip Guedalla

History repeats itself; historians repeat each other.

~ Philip Guedalla

Geskiedskrywing is 'n manier om die verlede van jou nek af te kry.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

- Maximen und Relexionen

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