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Top 10 Herodotus Quotes to Enlighten and Inspire You

Discover the wisdom of Herodotus, one of the ancient Greek historians, through his historical quotes. Explore famous quotes about history that will enlighten and inspire.
by The Blinkist Team | Dec 13 2023

Herodotus, often referred to as the “Father of History,” was a Greek historian who lived during the 5th century BCE. His most famous work, “The Histories,” written around 440 BCE, is considered one of the earliest and most important historical texts. In this groundbreaking book, Herodotus chronicles the events of the Greco-Persian Wars and provides valuable insights into ancient civilizations, cultures, and the human condition. His meticulous research and storytelling skills make

The Histories” a relevant and influential work that continues to shape our understanding of the past.
Step back in time and immerse yourself in the wisdom of the ancient world with our collection of the top 10 Herodotus quotes. Herodotus, often hailed as the “Father of History,” was a Greek historian who chronicled the events of his time with unparalleled insight and detail. His words continue to resonate today, offering timeless lessons and inspiration for all who seek enlightenment. From tales of bravery and courage to reflections on the human condition, these quotes will ignite your curiosity and inspire you to embrace the wisdom of the past. Join us as we delve into the mind of Herodotus and uncover the profound truths that still hold relevance in our modern lives.

10 Inspiring Herodotus Quotes to Ignite Your Curiosity

Let there be nothing untried; for nothing happens by itself, but men obtain all things by trying.


This line emphasizes the importance of taking action and being proactive in our pursuits. It reminds us that nothing in life is achieved without effort and that we must be willing to try new things and take risks in order to attain our goals. By actively seeking opportunities and pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones, we can create the circumstances necessary for success. This quote serves as a reminder that we have the power to shape our own destinies through our actions and determination.

Great things are won by great dangers.


This quote emphasizes that great achievements and successes often require taking risks and facing challenges. It suggests that the greatest rewards and accomplishments come from pushing beyond our comfort zones and embracing the unknown. By acknowledging the inherent dangers and uncertainties that come with pursuing greatness, this quote encourages us to be courageous and resilient in the face of adversity. It reminds us that the path to greatness is not always easy, but the rewards are worth the risks.

The most hateful human misfortune is for a wise man to have no influence.


This quote highlights the significance of influence and the potential impact it can have on the world. It suggests that it is a great misfortune for a wise individual to possess knowledge and wisdom but lack the ability to influence others. Without influence, their wisdom may go unnoticed or unheeded, preventing them from making a positive difference in the lives of others or in society as a whole. This quote emphasizes the importance of using wisdom and knowledge to inspire and guide others, ultimately contributing to the betterment of humanity.

All of life is action and passion, and not to be involved in the actions and passions of your time is to risk having not really lived at all.


Herodotus offers a profound insight into the essence of life and the importance of active engagement. This quote emphasizes the significance of being fully present and actively participating in the events and emotions of our time. It suggests that a life devoid of action and passion is a life half-lived, lacking in depth and fulfillment. Herodotus encourages us to embrace the opportunities and challenges that come our way, for it is through our involvement and investment in the world around us that we truly experience the richness of existence.

It is better to be envied than pitied.


This quote reminds us of the contrasting emotions of envy and pity. It suggests that it is preferable to be envied by others rather than pitied. Being envied implies that one possesses qualities or possessions that others desire, which can be seen as a form of admiration. On the other hand, being pitied implies that one is seen as deserving of sympathy or compassion due to unfortunate circumstances. This quote encourages us to strive for success and accomplishments that elicit envy rather than pity, highlighting the importance of self-confidence and achievement.

Circumstances rule men; men do not rule circumstances.


This quote highlights the idea that our circumstances and external factors often have a significant influence on our lives. It suggests that we are not always in control of the situations we find ourselves in, but we do have control over how we respond to them. Instead of trying to control or change our circumstances, this quote encourages us to focus on how we can adapt and navigate through them. It reminds us that while we may not have control over everything that happens to us, we do have control over how we choose to react and shape our own lives.

In peace sons bury fathers, but war violates the order of nature, and fathers bury sons.


Once again, Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, provides a thought-provoking reflection on the devastating impact of war. This quote emphasizes the tragic disruption of the natural order that occurs during times of conflict. In peaceful times, it is expected that children will bury their parents, but war disrupts this natural progression, forcing fathers to bury their own sons. The quote serves as a poignant reminder of the profound loss and heartbreak that war inflicts upon families and communities, highlighting the senselessness and tragedy of armed conflicts.

To think well and to consent to obey someone giving good advice are the same thing.


This quote, from the ancient historian Herodotus, highlights the importance of critical thinking and the willingness to accept wise counsel. It suggests that true wisdom lies not only in the ability to think independently but also in recognizing the value of listening to others and heeding their advice. By equating thinking well with consenting to follow good guidance, Herodotus emphasizes the significance of humility and open-mindedness in the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth. This quote serves as a reminder to embrace the wisdom of others and to be receptive to different perspectives.

When a woman removes her garment, she also removes the respect that is hers.


This line emphasizes the importance of modesty and the value of self-respect. It suggests that when a woman chooses to remove her garment, she is also relinquishing the respect that is rightfully hers. It highlights the idea that our choices and actions have consequences, and that by maintaining modesty and dignity, we can command respect from others. This quote serves as a reminder to uphold our own self-worth and to be mindful of the messages we convey through our appearance and behavior.

Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.


This quote emphasizes the value and significance of friendship in our lives. It suggests that out of all the things we may possess or acquire, a true friend is the most precious and valuable. This quote highlights the importance of genuine connections and relationships, as they bring us joy, support, and companionship. It reminds us to cherish and appreciate the friendships we have, as they enrich our lives in countless ways.

In conclusion, the wisdom and insights of Herodotus continue to captivate and inspire us today. His quotes remind us of the power of knowledge, the importance of understanding our history, and the value of embracing different cultures and perspectives. Through his words, we are reminded of the timeless truths that connect us all as humans, and the enduring lessons that can guide us on our own personal journeys. Let Herodotus be our guide as we navigate the complexities of life, and let his quotes serve as a constant source of inspiration and enlightenment.


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