"No one in their country ever ploughs a field or touches a plough-handle. They are all without fixed abode, without hearth, or law, or settled mode of life, and keep roaming from place to place, like fugitives, accompanied by the wagons in which they live."

Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, describing the Huns when they first appeared to the Roman world in the 300s CE (Res gestae 31.2.10)


"Every 12 years Jupiter returns to the same position in the sky; every 370 days it disappears in the fire of the Sun in the evening to the west, 30 days later it reappears in the morning to the east . . ."

Gan De, a Chinese astronomer. He was born around 400 BCE.


"The famous mathematician Stanislaw Ulam thought of the following paradox, which is now known as the Ulam Paradox: When President Richard Nixon was appointed to office, on the first day he met his cabinet he said to them: ‘None of you are yes-men, are you?’ And they all said, ‘NO!’"

Raymond Smullyan, A Mixed Bag, 2016


"Men would never be superstitious if they could govern all their circumstances by set rule, or if they were always favored by fortune. But being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being often kept in fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty of fortune's greedily coveted favors, they are consequently, for the most part, very prone to credulity."

Baruch Spinoza, from the Theologico-Political Treatise. His parents were Jewish, and for that were tortured and condemned by the Inquisition in Portugal; they escaped to Amsterdam where Baruch was born. He received Jewish schooling, but became interested in the historical inaccuracies of the Bible, and was excommunicated from the Jewish community in Amsterdam for heresy in 1656. In 1661, Spinoza moved to a small town on the Dutch coast where he wrote the above treatise.

This was just one of many works Spinoza wrote, although it was the most controversial; other notable writings include a demonstration of Descartes’ thinking and a master work on Ethics. He is known today as one of the most influential philosophers of the Enlightenment.


"Fear the goat from the front, the horse from the rear, and the man from all sides."

Russian proverb


"When a lion eats a man, and a man eats an ox, why is the ox more made for the man, than the man for the lion?"

Thomas Hobbes, Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance, 1656


"Fear is stronger than arms."

Aeschylus, circa 467 BCE.

He was a playwrite, known as the “Father of Tragedy.” His plays are the earliest tragedies that we have the text for. Though unfortunately only seven of Aeschylus’ plays survived, of an estimated seventy to ninety plays he wrote.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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