Quotations Weblog

Archives for 1998

Quotes of the Week: The Suicide of Cleopatra

August 30th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

I used to hate Elizabeth Taylor. Of course I blamed Hollywood, but I still condemned her white skin while playing the part of Cleopatra. That milky white skin and those violet eyes (always looked blue to me anyway) just didn’t belong on the Queen of Egypt. I imagined Cleopatra with dark Nubian skin and a long lean figure. I blamed Hollywood’s infatuation with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for a white Cleopatra. I scoffed at the television every time I surfed past her Egyptian-clad face. Of course, that was all before.

Egypt has a history longer than I can comprehend. I feel pride at the thought that the country I live in has survived for over 200 years. I feel pride that the blood that courses through my veins belonged to the Roman Empire, which lasted well over 600 years. I cannot imagine, however, the thought of a civilization that has survived for over 6000 years. My mind boggles at the idea that Egypt has and always will be a force on Earth.

With a civilization this old, there were many rulers, some of indigenous origin, and others were invading kings. There were the Nubian pharaohs, the Persian princes, and the Greek pharaohs. Cleopatra was a Greek pharaoh, the first to actually become fully Egyptian. She spoke the language as her own, she worshipped their gods as her own and she ruled as only an Egyptian could. Her blood may have been Greek, her skin may have been milky white (probably not considering the sun, but anyway), but her heart was entirely Egyptian.

Considering her power, one would think that many quotations would be recorded. At least her dying words as she lay the asp on her neck. Maybe the words she uttered into Antony’s ear, convincing him to betray the Roman Empire would have been saved. Yet, once again, history has been written by the victors and the words of this woman are unrecorded.

Looking at the film now, Cleopatra could have looked like Elizabeth Taylor (unlikely, but it’s a little more palatable now). Looking at Egypt now, I wonder if history 2000 years from now will look at our era as a time when Egypt was under Muslim rule, after which, the old priests revived the original religion of the gods and returned to the practice of embalming the dead. The pharaohs of Egypt may once again rule all of the known world, and our time was merely a 2000 year footnote listed on the Egyptian tablets.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

“Some report that this aspic [asp] was brought unto her in the basket with figs and that she had commanded them to hide it under the fig leaves, so that when she should think to take out the figs the aspic should bite her before she should see her; howbeit, that when she would have taken away the leaves for the figs she perceived it and said: ‘Art thou here then?’ And so, her arm being naked, she put it to the aspic to be bitten. Others say again that she kept it in a box and that she did prick and thrust it with a spindle of gold, so that the aspic being angered withal, leaped out with great fury, and bit her in the arm. Howbeit, few can tell the truth. For they report also that she had hidden poison in a hollow razor which she carried in the hair of her head. And yet was there no mark seen on her body or any sign discerned that she was poisoned, neither also did they find this serpent in her tomb. But it was reported only that there were seen certain fresh steps or tracks where it had gone, on the tomb side toward the sea, and specially by little pretty bitings in her arm, scant to be discerned, the which it seemed Caesar [Augustus Caesar] himself gave credit unto, because in his triumph he carried Cleopatra’s image with an asp biting her arm. And thus goeth the report of her death.”
Plutarch, “Life of Marcus Antonius”, A.D. 46-120

“Men willingly believe what they wish.”
Julius Caesar, “De Bello Gallico”, III, 18

“Well done is quickly done.”
Augustus Caesar, from SUETONIUS, “Augustus”, sec. 25

“History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero 106-43 B.C., “Pro Publio Sestio”, II, 36

“For just as some women are said to be handsome though without adornment, so this subtle manner of speech, though lacking in artificial graces, delights us.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero 106-43 B.C., “Orator”, 4

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”
Publilius Syrus (first century B.C.), Maxim 358

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.”
Augustus Caesar, from SUETONIUS, “Augustus”, sec. 28
But how did he find Egypt, and in what state was it left?

Featured Books
The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
  • Anthony and Cleopatra Paperback by William Shakespeare – The famous play by Shakespeare (sequel to Julius Caesar). Much of the play was taken directly from Plutarch’s “Life of Marcus Antonius.”
  • Caesar and Cleopatra : A History Paperback by George Bernard Shaw – A history of the epic of the Queen of Egypt by the famous George Bernard Shaw.
  • The Memoirs of Cleopatra : A Novel Paperback by Margaret George – A historical novel that transports you back to the life of the Queen of Egypt. Technically fiction, but researched nearly to the point of fact. This book was rated highly by amazon.com book readers.
  • Cleopatra Paperback by Diane Stanley, Peter Vennema – A history book with a twist. Lots of lavish pictures and the in-depth discussion of why Plutarch might not have been the best source for the facts concerning her life.

For more information about Cleopatra, try these links:
  • Cleopatra: The Last of the Ptolemies – The best site for Cleopatra links, but this comes with a warning. It is a Geocities site, so prepare for the advert. Also, there are a lot of graphics, so prepare for a wait to download. Other than that, this site is great for links page to other Cleopatra pages.

  • Tour Egypt: The Ptolemies – The brief description of Cleopatra’s reign (and the reign of her father) as given by Tour Egypt.
  • Cleopatra VII – Another brief history of Cleopatra’s reign (more about her than her father this time). The author uses a dating system I am unfamiliar with, but everything else looks great.
  • Quotes of the Week: Walden

    August 9th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Literature

    A busy summer is no excuse to ignore Henry David Thoreau. After weeks of silence from me, I’ve finally found a reason to sacrifice some of my valuable time to this endeavor, the 144th anniversary of the publishing of Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walden.

    It was one of those holidays when I received gifts, either Christmas or my birthday. I was in high school and I had asked my parents for a book by Henry David Thoreau. My mother nodded as if she knew that I really didn’t know what I wanted, “Why do you want that?” My only answer was some mumblings about wanting to read the book, when in reality, a teacher of mine had recommended it with a brief description of Thoreau’s philosophy. When I received my present I knew it was a book by its weight, but still said, “I wonder what it is.” My grandfather had a knowing look in his eye and replied, “It’s Walden.” I’m sure he was so positive of my lack of research that he was safe telling me that much, but I had learned the title of the book I wanted, even though I didn’t know why I wanted it. I smiled and eagerly tore the wrapping paper saying, “Alright, Henry David Thoreau!”

    I tried to read the book. It sits on my book shelf beside other unread classics that I have purchased because a library “should” have them. Walden was my first experience with the act of buying a book because “smart” people read books like that. No matter how smart I become, I still find myself doing that. Ironically, my quote collection has tons of Thoreau quotes that I find true and lovely. I think I will rescue my copy of Walden and read it for myself.

    In other news, Quotes of the Week might not be so weekly for the rest of the summer. With that I will leave you with the first Thoreau quote.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

    “Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.”

    “If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.”

    “What people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.”

    “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.”

    “There is no remedy for love but to love more.”
    Journal, July 25, 1839

    “He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate.”
    Journal, February 11, 1840

    “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
    Walden, Conclusion, 1854

    “Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.”
    Walden: Economy, 1854

    “Man is the artificer of his own happiness.”
    Journal, January 21, 1838

    “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
    Walden: Higher Laws, 1854

    “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”

    “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

    “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

    “[Water is] the only drink for a wise man.”

    “Men are born to succeed, not fail.”

    “It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.”
    Walden, 1854

    “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”
    Walden: Reading, 1854

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • Walden Paperback by Henry David Thoreau – Every library should have it and its spine should be well cracked. (I’m going to crack mine as soon as I’m finished here.)
    • Civil Disobedience, Solitude and Life Without Principle Paperback by Henry David Thoreau – The justification for his rebellion (he refused to pay taxes because of the Mexican American War).
    • Henry David Thoreau : Three Complete Books Hardcover by Henry David Thoreau – Get Walden, Cape Cod, and The Maine Woods in a hardbound edition surely to last forever in your bookcase (especially if you don’t read it).
    • The Portable Thoreau Paperback by Henry David Thoreau, Carl Bode – If you are actually planning on reading his works, this is the book to buy. At 698 pages, it hardly seems portable, but you receive a collection of his works to keep you reading for awhile. Enjoy!

    For more information about Henry David Thoreau, try these links:
    • Thoreau World Wide – A good introduction to Henry David Thoreau. Make sure you read Background behind Walden.

  • The Life of Henry David Thoreau – No snazzy pictures, but a good outline of the author’s life.
  • The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau – A great site! You can view a scan of Thoreau’s handwriting (including analysis and translation), a list of related sites, and a frequently asked questions (FAQ) file.
  • Quotes of the Week: Dave Barry

    July 5th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    I should be focusing on an article on Independence Day and how proud I am to be an American, but I received a disturbing email that distracted me. It read: “I loved your page, especially the Dave Barry quotations. I would like to read more of his stuff. Can you help me on this? Is there a book containing his artciles [sic] or a particular magazine? All information gratefully received.”

    It struck me with terror to think that the man who has earned the title “The Funniest Man In America” from The New York Times might be unknown to even one person. Dave Barry has been writing for The Miami Herald since 1983. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1988. What could be more patriotic than showing what American ingenuity can do? So, here is some of the best from Dave Barry.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “Look, in particular, at the people who, like you, are making average incomes for doing average jobs–bank vice presidents, insurance salesman, auditors, secretaries of defense–and you’ll realize they all dress the same way, essentially the way the mannequins in the Sears mens wear department dress. Now look at the real successes, the people who make a lot more money than you–Elton John, Captain Kangaroo, anybody from Saudi Arabia, Big Bird, and so on. They all dress funny–and they all succeed. Are you catching on?”
    Dave Barry, “How to Dress for Real Success”

    “In fact, most home projects are impossible, which is why you should do them yourself. There is no point in paying other people to screw things up when you can easily screw them up yourself for far less money.”
    Dave Barry, “The Taming of the Screw”

    “Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite in a lighting storm and received a serious electrical shock. This proved that lighting was powered by the same force as carpets, but it also damaged Franklin’s brain so severely that he started speaking only in incomprehensible maxims, such as ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ Eventually he had to be given a job running the post office.”
    Dave Barry, “What is Electricity?”

    “I realize that the MX missile is none of our concern. I realize that the whole point of living in a democracy is that we pay professional congresspersons to concern themselves with things like the MX missile so we can be free to concern ourselves with getting hold of the plumber. But from time to time, I feel I must address major public issues such as this, because in a free and open society, where the very future of the world hinges on decisions made by our elected leaders, you never win large cash journalism awards if you stick to the topics I usually write about, such as nose-picking.”
    Dave Barry, “At Last, the Ultimate Deterrent Against Political Fallout”

    “I disapprove of the F-word, not because it’s dirty, but because we use it as a substitute for thoughtful insults, and it frequently leads to violence. What we ought to do, when we anger each other, say, in traffic, is exchange phone numbers, so that later on, when we’ve had time to think of witty and learned insults or look them up in the library, we could call each other up: You: Hello? Bob? Bob: Yes? You: This is Ed. Remember? The person whose parking space you took last Thursday? Outside of Sears? Bob: Oh yes! Sure! How are you, Ed? You: Fine, thanks. Listen, Bob, the reason I’m calling is: ‘Madam, you may be drunk, but I am ugly, and …’ No, wait. I mean: ‘you may be ugly, but I am Winston Churchill and …’ No, wait. (Sound of reference book thudding onto the floor.) S-word. Excuse me. Look, Bob, I’m going to have to get back to you. Bob: Fine.”
    Dave Barry, “$#$##^#!^#&@#@!”

    “I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.”
    Dave Barry

    “Ever since prehistoric times, wise men have tried to understand what, exactly, make people laugh. That’s why they were called ‘wise men.’ All the other pre- historic people were out puncturing each other with spears, and the wise men were back in the cave saying: ‘How about: Would you please take my wife? No. How about: Here is my wife, please take her right now. No How about: Would you like to take something? My wife is available. No. How about …’”
    Dave Barry, “Why Humor is Funny”

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:

    For more information about Dave Barry, try these links:

    • Dave Barry at the Miami Herald – Dave Barry himself. An archive of his articles at the Miami Herald Online.
    • Quotes by Dave Barry – This is not the same collection as we have (it seems to be edited for content more than ours), but you can just sit down and read through the entire thing. This is an activity I don’t recommend. The reason we limit the number of quotations that you can see at one time is because we don’t want you to die laughing.
    • Altered States – My favorite of the Dave Barry articles available at the Miami Herald Archive. Dave Barry attends a Success Seminar. Considering my love for motivational quotes, you would think that I would be offended by this sort of thing. Instead, I laughed all the way through it.
    • Quotes of the Week: Silence

      June 28th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

      Quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

      “Silence is more musical than any song.”
      Christina Rossetti

      “There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.”
      Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

      “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
      Aldous Huxley

      “True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”
      William Penn

      “Silence is a text easy to misread.”
      A. A. Attanasio, “The Eagle and the Sword”

      “Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.”
      Martin Fraquhar Tupper

      “I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”
      Kahlil Gibran

      “Oppression can only survive through silence.”
      Carmen de Monteflores

      “The cruelest lies are often told in silence.”
      Robert Louis Stevenson

      “Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.”
      Thomas Carlyle

      “In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”
      Mahatma Gandhi

      “You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.”
      John, Lord Morley

      “He had occasional flashes of silence, that made his conversation perfectly delightful.”
      Sydney Smith, referring to Macaulay

      “Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.”
      Robert Fripp

      “Nothing is so good for an ignorant man as silence; and if he was sensible of this he would not be ignorant.”

      “Silence is one of the great arts of conversation, as allowed by Cicero himself, who says, ‘there is not only an art, but an eloquence in it.’ A well bred woman may easily and effectually promote the most useful and elegant conversation without speaking a word. The modes of speech are scarcely more variable than the modes of silence.”
      Tom Blair

      “I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right.”

      “The unspoken word never does harm.”

      “It is better wither to be silent, or to say things of more value than silence. Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or useless word; and do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.”

      “My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
      Edith Sitwell

      “Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary.”
      Peter Minard

      Featured Books
      The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:

      For more information about Silence, try these links:

    • Meditation: Path to Silence
    • Silence by Shaun DesJardins
    • Leave In Silence by Sergio Bayarri Gausi and José María López Lagunas
    • Quotes of the Week: Frank Lloyd Wright

      June 7th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

      I think of Howard Roarke when I think of Frank Lloyd Wright. I realize that shouldn’t be the case, but the fictional character of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and the real life architect are one in my mind. A young Frank Lloyd Wright looks like Gary Cooper to me, strong and slightly shy. Yet, after re-reading the introduction to the novel, Ayn mentions nothing of Frank Lloyd Wright. It would seem that this man represent the archetype of architect. In fact, I can’t mention another architect by name.

      Come join me in the world of Frank Lloyd Wright, who had much to say about everything. Read his quotes and browse the sites mentioned.

      Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

      “Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.”
      Quoted in his obituary, April 9, 1959

      “Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall.”

      “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”

      “If it [automation] keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.”
      The New York Times, November 27, 1955
      I guess he couldn’t predict the fitness craze of the 1980′s, but he did predict the couch potato.

      “Television: Chewing gum for the eyes.”

      “An idea is salvation by imagination.”

      “The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.”

      “No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.”
      An Autobiography, 1932

      “The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”

      “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”

      “The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines – so they should go as far as possible from home to build their first buildings.”
      New York Times Magazine, October 4, 1953

      Featured Books
      The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
      • About Wright : An Album of Recollections by Those Who Knew Frank Lloyd Wright Paperback by Edgar, F.A.I.A. Tafel (Editor) – A collection of remembrances from clients, draftsmen, relatives and acquaintances. Includes many previously unpublished photographs.
      • The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright Hardcover by Neil Levine, Frank Lloyd Wright – A beautiful book that uses the architect’s drawings and notes to tell the story of his life. “This book will move your soul and influence your mind, and I strongly recommend its acquisition.”
      • Frank Lloyd Wright : A Biography Paperback by Meryle Secrest – The story of the life of the famous architect. Written with the help of Wright’s letters, drawings and books.
      • Murder in Perspective : An Architectural Mystery Hardcover by Keith Miles – A fictional novel based in 1928. The hero, Merlin Richards, gives up his promising career to work under Frank Lloyd Wright. Snubbed by the architect, he soon finds himself involved with the death of an attractive designer. This amateur detective novel should please Frank Lloyd Wright fans and mystery fans alike.
      • The Fountainhead Paperback by Ayn Rand – Howard Roarke, revolutionary architect, is put on trial for the destruction of one of his own buildings. Did he have the right to blow his own creation to smithereens? You decide.
      • The Fountainhead VHS Video Tape with Gary Cooper as Howard Roarke – See the movie version of Ayn Rand’s book. My favorite scene is where Roarke makes the ghastly changes to his building in mockery of the recommendations of the contractor.

      For more information about Frank Lloyd Wright, try these links:

    • Frank Lloyd Wright Quotes – A small but well organized collection of quotations from Frank Lloyd Wright. There are no attributes, but the site is well designed.
    • The Frank Lloyd Wright Source Page – A simple page with reviews of the links that it highlights. A better guide than Yahoo, and it includes pictures.
    • Frank Lloyd Wright – Designs for an American Landscape, 1922-1932 – exhibit featured at the the Library of Congress.

    • Quotations Weblog is proudly powered by WordPress
      Entries (RSS Feed)