"I have no wish to make a long speech on subjects familiar to you all: so I shall say nothing about the warlike deeds by which we acquired our power or the battles in which we or our fathers gallantly resisted our enemies, Greek or foreign. What I want to do is, in the first place, to discuss the spirit in which we faced our trials and also our constitution and the way of life which has made us great. After that I shall speak of the dead...." (Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, trans. Rex Warner (New York: Penguin Books, 1954; repr. 1984), 145.)
"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
"Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events." Adrienne Rich, b. 1929, U.S. poet, Of Woman Born (1976)
"From their experience or from the recorded experience of others (history), men learn only what their passions and their metaphysical prejudices allow them to learn." Aldous Huxley, 1894-1963
"A man's memory is bound to be a distortion of his past in accordance with his present interests, and the most faithful autobiography is likely to mirror less what a man was than what he has become." Fawn M. Brodie, 1915-1981, U.S. biographer, No Man Knows My History, Chap. 19 (1945)
"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with the pale gleams the passion of the former days. What is the worth of al this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor." Sir Winston Churchill, 1874-1965
"Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the life blood of real civilisation." George M. Trevelyan, 1876-1962, British historian, English Social History (1942)
"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity." Marcus T. Cicero, 106-43 B.C.E.