Edward Gibbon Quotes

This is a compilation of my best Edward Gibbon quotes.

Edward Gibbon was a historian, writer and English Member of Parliament who was born on May 8, 1737 in Putney, London, United Kingdom and died on January 16, 1794 in London, United Kingdom. As a writer and historian, Gibbon was mostly influenced by David Hume, Niccolò Machiavelli, René Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, Montesquieu, Blaise Pascal and many other influential writers of his time.

Gibbon’s most notable work centers around the Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire and his most popular books or writings include The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Memoirs of My Life and Writings, The Christians and the Fall of Rome and others.

Here are some of the best and inspirational Edward Gibbon quotes on freedom, solitude, Christianity, life and so much more:

Best Edward Gibbon Quotes

best Edward Gibbon quotes

1. Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive. -Edward Gibbon

2. Where error is irreparable, repentance is useless. -Edward Gibbon

3. All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance. -Edward Gibbon

4. The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators. -Edward Gibbon

5. I make it a point never to argue with people for whose opinion I have no respect. -Edward Gibbon

6. History is indeed little more than the register of crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. -Edward Gibbon

7. The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous. -Edward Gibbon

8. Active valor may often be the present of nature; but such patient diligence can be the fruit only of habit and discipline. -Edward Gibbon

9. Fear has been the original parent of superstition, every new calamity urges trembling mortals to deprecate the wrath of invisible enemies. -Edward Gibbon

10. I must reluctantly observe that two causes, the abbreviation of time, and the failure of hope, will always tinge with a browner shade the evening of life. -Edward Gibbon

11. To an active mind, indolence is more painful than labor.

Edward Gibbon

12. Books are those faithful mirrors that reflect to our mind the minds of sages and heroes. -Edward Gibbon

13. We improve ourselves by victory over our self. There must be contests, and you must win. -Edward Gibbon

14. The vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave. -Edward Gibbon

15. Every person has two educations, one which he receives from others, and one, more important, which he gives to himself. -Edward Gibbon

16. The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference in age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction. -Edward Gibbon

17. The ascent to greatness, however steep and dangerous, may entertain an active spirit with the consciousness and exercise of its own power: but the possession of a throne could never yet afford a lasting satisfaction to an ambitious mind. -Edward Gibbon

18. The army is the only order of men sufficiently united to concur in the same sentiments, and powerful enough to impose them on the rest of their fellow-citizens; but the temper of soldiers, habituated at once to violence and to slavery, renders them very unfit guardians of a legal, or even a civil constitution. -Edward Gibbon

19. [A historian] will more seriously deplore the loss of the Byzantine libraries, which were destroyed or scattered in the general confusion: one hundred and twenty thousand manuscripts are said to have disappeared; ten volumes might be purchased for a single ducat; and the same ignominious price, too high perhaps for a shelf of theology, included the whole works of Aristotle and Homer, the noblest productions of the sciences and literature of ancient Greece. -Edward Gibbon

20. The value of money has been settled by general consent to express our wants and our property, as letters were invented to express our ideas; and both these institutions, by giving a more active energy to the powers and passions of human nature, have contributed to multiply the objects they were designed to represent. -Edward Gibbon

21. Justice, humanity, or political wisdom, are qualities they are too little acquainted with in themselves, to appreciate them in others. Valor will acquire their esteem, and liberality will purchase their suffrage; but the first of these merits is often lodged in the most savage breasts; the latter can only exert itself at the expense of the public; and both may be turned against the possessor of the throne, by the ambition of a daring rival. -Edward Gibbon

22. The present is a fleeting moment, the past is no more; and our prospect of futurity is dark and doubtful. This day may possibly be my last: but the laws of probability, so true in general, so fallacious in particular, still allow about fifteen years. I shall soon enter into the period which, as the most agreeable of his long life, was selected by the judgement and experience of the sage Fontenelle. His choice is approved by the eloquent historian of nature, who fixes our moral happiness to the mature season in which our passions are supposed to be calmed, our duties fulfilled, our ambition satisfied, our fame and fortune established on a solid basis. In private conversation, that great and amiable man added the weight of his own experience; and this autumnal felicity might be exemplified in the lives of Voltaire, Hume, and many other men of letters. -Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon Quotes On Freedom

Edward Gibbon quotes on freedom

23. Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty. -Edward Gibbon

24. The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive. -Edward Gibbon

25. Their poverty secured their freedom, since our desires and our possessions are the strongest fetters of despotism.

Edward Gibbon

26. War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice. -Edward Gibbon

27. Under a democratical government, the citizens exercise the powers of sovereignty; and those powers will be first abused, and afterwards lost, if they are committed to an unwieldy multitude. -Edward Gibbon

28. Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and the people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedoms. -Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon Quotes On Christianity

Edward Gibbon quotes on Christianity

29. It was much less dangerous for the disciples of Christ to neglect the observance of the moral duties, than to despise the censures and authority of their bishops. -Edward Gibbon

30. During the age of Christ, of his apostles, and of their first disciples, the doctrine which they preached was confirmed by innumerable prodigies. The lame walked, the blind saw, the sick were healed, the dead were raised, demons were expelled, and the laws of Nature were frequently suspended for the benefit of the church. -Edward Gibbon

31. Religious controversy is the offspring of arrogance and folly; that true piety is most laudably expressed by silence and submission; that man, ignorant of his own nature, should not presume to scrutinize the nature of his God; and that it is sufficient for us to know, that power and benevolence are the perfect attributes of the Deity. -Edward Gibbon

32. The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.

Edward Gibbon

33. It is always easy, as well as agreeable, for the the inferior ranks of mankind to claim a merit from the contempt of that pomp and pleasure, which fortune has placed beyond their reach. The virtue of the primitive Christians, like that of the first Romans, was very frequently guarded by poverty and ignorance. -Edward Gibbon

34. The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in a long residence upon Earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings. -Edward Gibbon

35. A generous intercourse of charity united the most distant provinces, and the smaller congregations were cheerfully assisted by the alms of their more opulent brethren. Such an institution, which paid less regard to the merit than to the distress of the object, very materially conduced to the progress of Christianity. The Pagans, who were actuated by a sense of humanity, while they derided the doctrines, acknowledged the benevolence of the new sect. The prospect of immediate relief and of future protection allured into its hospitable bosom many of those unhappy persons whom the neglect of the world would have abandoned to the miseries of want, of sickness, and of old age. There is some reason likewise to believe, that great numbers of infants, who, according to the inhuman practice of the times, had been exposed by their parents, were frequently rescued from death, baptized, educated, and maintained by the piety of the Christians, and at the expense of the public treasure. -Edward Gibbon

36. The names of Seneca, of the Elder and the Younger Pliny, of Tacitus, of Plutarch, of Galen, of the slave Epictetus, and of the emperor Marcus Antoninus, adorn the age in which they flourished, and exalt the dignity of human nature. They filled with glory their respective stations, either in active or contemplative life; their excellent understandings were improved by study; philosophy had purified their minds from the prejudices of the popular superstition; and their days were spent in the pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue. Yet all these sages (it is no less an object of surprise than of concern) overlooked or rejected the perfection of the Christian system. Their language or their silence equally discover their contempt for the growing sect which in their time had diffused itself over the Roman empire. Those among them who condescend to mention the Christians consider them only as obstinate and perverse enthusiasts, who exacted an implicit submission to their mysterious doctrines, without being able to produce a single argument that could engage the attention of men of sense and learning. -Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon Quotes About Solitude

Edward Gibbon quotes about solitude

37. I was never less alone than when by myself. -Edward Gibbon

38. Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.

Edward Gibbon

39. The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness. -Edward Gibbon

40. The elegance of dress, of motion, and of manners gives a lustre to beauty, and inflames the senses through the imagination. Luxurious entertainments, midnight dances, and licentious spectacles, present at once temptation and opportunity to female frailty. From such dangers the unpolished wives of the barbarians were secured by poverty, solitude, and the painful cares of a domestic life. -Edward Gibbon