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 punch line is that our notion of free will, the ability to change the future by making choices in a way that is not available to us as far as the past is concerned, is only possible because the past has a low entropy and the future has a high entropy. The”
“In the end, this is a difficult story to sum up. The making of the atomic bomb is one of history's most amazing examples of teamwork and genius and poise under pressure. But it's also the story of how humans created a weapon capable of wiping our species off the planet. It's a story with no end in sight.
And, like it or not, you're in it.”
“One thing I've learnt recently is that blowing out someone else's candle doesn't make yours shine any brighter.”
“يقرأ المولودون بكرا عادة عددا من الكتب أكثر مما يقرأه الآخرون، وهذا ما يوفر لهم أفضلية معرفية.”
“Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep.”
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