Ian Mortimer · 319 pages
Rating: (13.4K votes)
“W. H. Auden once suggested that to understand your own country you need to have lived in at least two others. One can say something similar for periods of time: to understand your own century you need to have come to terms with at least two others. The key to learning something about the past might be a ruin or an archive but the means whereby we may understand it is--and always will be--ourselves.”
“Justice is a relative concept in all ages. The fourteenth century is no exception.”
“As you travel around medieval England you will come across a sport described by some contemporaries as 'abominable ... more common, undignified and worthless than any other game, rarely ending but with some loss, accident or disadvantage to the players themselves'. This is football.”
“While the traditional image of knights in armour is accurate and widely accepted, the equally representative image of knights wearing corsets and suspender belts is perhaps less well known.”
“History is not just about the analysis of evidence, unrolling vellum documents or answering exam papers. It is not about judging the dead. It is about understanding the meaning of the past—to realize the whole evolving human story over centuries, not just our own lifetimes.”
“Literature is a means to delight the mind and embolden the spirit.”
“You might be offered oatcakes as well as bread (especially in the north). If these do not tempt you, consider eating "horse-bread." This is made from a sort of flour of ground peas, bran, and beans–if contemporaries look at you strangely, it is because it is not meant for human consumption.”
“You might find it alarming to think that your doctor will not actually need to see you in person but might make a diagnosis based on the position of the stars, the colour and smell of your urine, and the taste of your blood.”
“Guy de Chauliac’s advice to those wishing to avoid infection is as follows: ‘Go quickly, go far, and return slowly.”
“It is commonly said that a good horse should have fifteen properties and conditions, namely: three of a man, three of a woman, three of a fox, three of a hare and three of an ass: like a man, he should be bold, proud and hardy; like a woman, he should be fair breasted, fair of hair and easy to lie upon; like a fox, he should have a fair tail, short ears and go with a good trot; like a hare, he should have a great eye, a dry head and run well; and like an ass, he should have a big chin, a flat leg and a good hoof.”
“W H. Auden once suggested that to understand your own country you need to have lived in at least two others. One can say something similar for periods of time: to understand your own century you need to have come to terms with at least two others. The key to learning something about the past might be a ruin or an archive but the means whereby we may understand it is—and always will be—ourselves.”
“Such planetary alignments are thought to lead to local miasmas: concentrations of fetid air and noxious vapors. These miasmas are then blown on the wind and enter men's and women's bodies through the pores of their skin. once inside they disrupt the balance of the 'humours" (the substances believed to control the body's functions), and people fall sick.”
“Some physical diagnoses require the physician to taste the patient’s blood. You might find it alarming to think that your doctor will not actually need to see you in person but might make a diagnosis based on the position of the stars, the colour and smell of your urine, and the taste of your blood.”
“The simplicity of living astounds me. But it’s the terror of death that devours me.”
“Ich weiß nicht, ob die verdummte Unterhaltung nach und nach dem kollektiven Intellekt unserer Nation geschadet hat oder ob die geistige Faulheit des Publikums zuerst da war und wir sie nur bedient haben.”
“listening to Joe and after the game warden had dispatched the suffering animal. “I could see them sending someone out here to shut up The Earl once and for all. They came, shot him, and hung him from the windmill, and they were on a plane back to O’Hare by the time you found him.” “It may be what happened,” Joe said, “but it’s speculation at best. Marcus Hand sent two of his investigators east, and they may come back with something before the trial is over. But they may not. What I have trouble with in that scenario is how this Chicago hit man would know to frame Missy.” Nate said, “They had an insider.” “And who would that be?” “The same guy who told Laurie Talich where she could find me.” “Bud?” “Bingo,” Nate said. “It took a while for me to figure it out and there are still some loose ends I’d like closed, but it makes sense. Missy knew vaguely where I was living because she talks to her daughter, and last year she tried to hire me to put the fear of God into Bud, remember? She might have let it slip to her ex-husband that if he didn’t stop pining over her, she’d drive to Hole in the Wall Canyon and pick me up. Somehow, Bud found out where I was. And by happenstance, he meets a woman in the bar who has come west for the single purpose of avenging her husband. Bud has contacts with the National Guard who just returned from Afghanistan, and he was able to help her get a rocket launcher. Then he drew her a map. He must have been pretty smug about how it all worked out. He thought he was able to take me out of the picture without getting his own hands dirty.” “Bud—what’s happened to him?” Joe asked, not sure he was convinced of Nate’s theory. “Why has he gone so crazy on us?” “A man can only take so”
“The third dimension is that the rebel is not interested in domination over others. He has no lust for power, because that is the ugliest thing in the world. The lust for power has destroyed humanity and has not allowed it to be more creative, to be more beautiful, to be more healthy, to be more wholesome. And it is this lust for power that ultimately leads to conflicts, competitions, jealousies, and finally to wars. Lust for power is the foundation of all wars. If you look at human history, the whole of it is nothing but a history of wars, man killing man. Reasons have changed, but the killing continues.”
“I asked this question: How can I think about my brain when it’s my brain doing the thinking? So is this brain pretending to be me thinking about it?”
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