"Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that he [King Richard the Lionheart] retained the same cynicism about churchmen displayed by his mother in her prime. When the preacher Fulk of Neuilly accused him of begetting three shameless daughters, Pride, Avarice and Sensuality, Richard was ready with a retort worthy of William IX: ‘I give my daughter Pride to the Knights Templars, my daughter Avarice to the Cistercians, and my daughter Sensuality to the princes of the Church.’ No story illustrates more vividly how much he was a son after Eleanor’s heart, but, like her, he was no persecutor of clerics."

from Desmond Seward's Eleanor of Aquitaine (1979).


"Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; it is not so; it is so; it is not so."

Benjamin Franklin, who apparently did not think highly of religious disagreements.


"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this greatland, a new folkship, dreamt in freedom, and sworn to the forthput that all men are made evenworthy. Now we are betrothed in a great folk-war, testing whether that folkship, or any folkship so born and so sworn, can long withstand. We are met on a great battle-field of that war."

A re-working of Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," using only words of Germanic origin, to show what English might look like if it expressed new concepts using German-style compounds rather than borrowing from other languages. This fake language is known as "Anglish" and has its own wiki!


"I am here with my children, and my children had children of their own, and they are here, too. Can you see?"

Motke Zeidel, a Holocaust survivor who escaped a camp named Ponar in what is now Lithuania; these were the words he said on his final visit to Ponar. He was part of the “Burning Brigade," a group of prisoners who collected and burned thousands of bodies a week. Despite the horrible conditions, which included living on stew made of ice, dirt, and potatoes, and being chained together, the Burning Brigade managed to dig a 110 foot tunnel into the surrounding forest. The men worked in shifts throughout the night, with saws, files and spoons stolen from the burial pits. Only a dozen survived the attempt. Though some Ponar survivors were documented after the war, the tunnel itself was lost, and thought to perhaps be an invention. It was only rediscovered in 2016.

Zeidel, the brigade’s last living member, died in 2007.


"A ludicrous story is told of a great naval function which took place during the reign of the last Napoleon and the Empress Eugénie. Several American vessels were present, and they were drawn up in line to salute the Empress’s yacht as it passed. The French sailors, of course, manned the yards of their ships, and shouted ‘Vive l’Impératrice!’ The American Admiral knew that it was impossible to teach these words to his men in the time left to him, so he ordered his crew to shout ‘Beef, lemons, and cheese!’ The imperial yacht came on, and as it passed the fleet there was a mighty roar of ‘Beef, lemons, and cheese.’ And the Empress said she had never received such an ovation before."

Current Literature, August 1893


"An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person's main task in life - becoming a better person."

Leo Tolstoy


"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977), an American comedian, actor, and writer.


"They brought me a Yankee soldier's portfolio from the battle-field. One might shed tears over some of the letters. Women, wives and mothers, are the same everywhere."

from the diary of Mary Chestnut after the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861, during the American Civil War. She was a well-connected Confederate woman, and while her writings are understandably partisan, she reflected many wuniversal thoughts and feelings during the war.

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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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