Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

GURPS Who's Who 1 – Cover

Quotes from the figures in GURPS Who's Who 1

Cyrus the Great

"From soft countries come soft men. It is not possible that from the same land stems a growth of wondrous fruit and men who are good soldiers."
– Cyrus, from The History by Herodotus

Herodotus adds: "So the Persians took this to heart and went away; their judgment had been overcome by that of Cyrus, and they chose to rule, living in a wretched land, rather than to sow the level plains and be slaves to others."
– Herodotus, from The History


"For through wondering human beings now and in the beginning have been led to philosophizing."
– Aristotle. Quote e-mailed from William H. Stoddard.

"If Plato is a fine red wine, then Aristotle is a dry martini."
– Eric Stoltz as Chet in Kicking and Screaming, e-mailed from Hunter Johnson.

"Wit is educated insolence."
"It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims."
"The gods are too fond of a joke."
– Three quotes attributed to Aristotle, from the web page of Gabriel Robins

"It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible."
– Aristotle, from the website [no other info]

"The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit."
– Aristotle, from the website [no other info]

"They [young people] have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things – and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning – all their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything – they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else."
– Aristotle, from the website [no other info]

Julius Caesar

"Veni, vidi, vici." [I came, I saw, I conquered]
– Julius Caesar

Justinian I

"Justice is the constant and perpetual wish to render to everyone his due."
– Justinian, as quoted in Classical and Foreign Quotations, W. Francis H. King, compiler

Sei Shonagon

"A good lover will behave just as elegantly at dawn as at any other time."
– Sei Shonagon

Ibn Battuta

[on the women of Mali]
"Their women are of surpassing beauty, and are shown more respect than the men. These people are Muslims, punctilious in observing the hours of prayer, studying the books of law, and memorizing the Koran. Yet their women show no bashfulness before men and do not veil themselves, though they are assiduous in attending prayers. Any man who wishes to marry one of them may do so, but they do not travel with their husbands, and, even if one desired to do so, her family would not allow her to go. The women have their 'friends' and 'companions' amongst the men outside their own families."
– Battuta, from Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West Africian History, J.F.P. Hopkins and N. Levtzion, eds. and trans.

Geoffrey Chaucer

"One eare it heard, at the other out it went."
– Geoffrey Chaucer, from "Troilus and Creseide," Book iv, line 435; as quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, part of Project Bartleby online.

"Full wise is he that can himselven knowe."
– Geoffrey Chaucer, from "The Monkes Tale," line 1449 of Canterbury Tales; as quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, part of Project Bartleby online.

"But all thing which that shineth as the gold Ne is no gold, as I have herd it told."
– Geoffrey Chaucer, from "The Chanones Yemannes Tale," line 16430 of Canterbury Tales; as quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, part of Project Bartleby online.

Hernán Cortés

"When he reached the New World, Cortés burned his ships. As a result his crew was well-motivated."
– Sean Connery as Captain Ramius in The Hunt for Red October

"I answered, through the interpreters, that they were deceived in expecting any favors from idols, the work of their own hands, formed of unclean things; and that they must learn there was but one God, the universal Lord of all, who had created the heaven s and earth, and all things else, and had made them and us; that He was without beginning and immortal, and they were bound to adore and believe Him, and no other creature or thing."
– Cortés, second letter to Charles V

[The next two are from Letters from Mexico, by Hernán Cortés. Translated by Anthony Pagden; as quoted by Peter Rashkin on]

"These [Aztecs] then came and I told them to observe how they could not triumph, and how each day we did them great harm and killed many of them and we were burning and destroying their city; and that we would not cease until there was nothing left either of it or of them. They replied that they had indeed seen how much they had suffered and how many of them had died, but that they were all determined to perish or have done with us, and that I should look and see how full of people were all those streets and squares and roof tops. Furthermore, they had calculated that if 25,000 of them died for every one of us, they would finish with us first, for they were many and we were but few."
– Cortés

"They no longer had nor could find any arrows, javelins, or stones with which to attack us, and our allies fighting with us were armed with swords and bucklers, and slaughtered so many of them on land and in the water that more than forty thousand were killed or taken that day. So loud was the wailing of the women and children that there was not one man among us whose heart did not bleed at the sound . . . "
– Cortés

Very good overview of Hernán's conquest of Mexico:

Catherine Di Medici

"Ah, sentiments of mercy are in unison with a woman's heart."
– Catherine Di Medici, quoted in The Huguenots in France and America, Vol. I, Ch. 3, by Hannah Farnham Lee

"If things were even worse than they are after all this war they might have laid the lame upon the rule of a woman; but if such persons are honest they should only blame the rule of men who desire to play the part of kings."
– Catherine Di Medici, Letter to Ambassador of Spain (1510), quoted in The New Quotable Woman; Elaine Partnow, editor.

Elizabeth I

"I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England, too."
– Elizabeth I

William Shakespeare

"O! It offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings."
– Shakespeare

Cardinal Richelieu

"If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will find in them something to hang him."
– Richelieu

"Who will be my equal?"
– Richelieu

"War is one of the scourges with which it has pleased God to afflict men."
– Richelieu

"Did you think I was immortal?"
– Richelieu (on his deathbed)

Oliver Cromwell

"Remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it."
– Cromwell, to his portrait painter

Bartolomew Roberts

"In an honest service there is thin rations, low wages, and hard labor; in this [piracy], plenty, satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power; and who would not balance creditor on this side, when all the hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sour look or two at choking? No, a merry life and a short one shall be my motto."
– Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart), from his writings; as quoted in Raiders and Rebels, by Frank Sherry.

Benjamin Franklin

"Well done is better than well said."
– Benjamin Franklin, from the web page of Gabriel Robins

"In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes."
– Benjamin Franklin, e-mailed by William H. Stoddard.

"I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character."
– Benjamin Franklin, e-mailed by William H. Stoddard.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

"God first, then papa."
– W. A. Mozart, an oft-repeated motto, quoted in Hundred Greatest Men, Wallace Wood, editor.

Aaron Burr, Jr.

"The rule of my life is to make business a pleasure, and pleasure my business."
– Aaron Burr, Letter to Pichon, as quoted in The Hume Book of Quotations, by Burton Stevenson.

"There is a maxim, 'Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.' It is a maxim for sluggards. A better reading of it is, 'Never do today what you can as well do tomorrow,' because something may occur to make you regret your premature action."
– Aaron Burr, from Life and Times of Aaron Burr, by Parton [no first name given]. Quote found in book: The Hume Book of Quotations, by Burton Stevenson.

Shaka Zulu

"This is the death I have in mind for you. The slayers will sharpen the projecting upright poles in this cattle-kraal – one for each of you. They will then lead you there, and four of them will pick you up singly and impale you on each of the sharpened poles. There you will stay till you die, and your bodies, or wha twill be left of them by the birds, will stay there as a testimony to all, what punishment awaits those who slander me and my mother."
– Shaka Zulu, condemning those who had tormented him in his youth

"Up! children of Zulu, your day has come. Up! And destroy them all."
– Shaka Zulu, in battle against the Ndwandwes

"I need no bodyguard at all, for even the bravest men who approach me get weak at the knees and their hearts turn to water, whilst their heads become giddy and incapable of thinking as the sweat of fear paralyzes them. They know no other will except that of their King, who is something above, and below, this earth."
– Shaka Zulu, after the death of his mother

Charles Darwin

"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."
– Charles Darwin, as e-mailed by William H. Stoddard.

"The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts."
– Darwin, as e-mailed by Hunter Johnson

Harriet Tubman

"When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything."
– Harriet Tubman, talking about making it out of the South when she first escaped

"I started with this idea in my head, 'There's two things I've got a right to . . . death or liberty.'"
– Harriet Tubman, to her biographer Sarah H. Bradford, c. 1868

"'Twant me, 'twas the Lord. I always told hm 'I trust to you. I don't know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me,' and he always did."
– Harriet Tubman, to her biographer Sarah H. Bradford, c. 1868

Sir Richard Burton

"He noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps his self-made laws."
– Richard Burton

Rudyard Kipling

"Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed, But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need."
– Rudyard Kipling

"Our loves are not given, but only lent, At compound interest of cent per cent."
– Rudyard Kipling

"When your Daemon is in charge, do not try to think consciously. Drift, wait, and obey."
– Rudyard Kipling

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."
– Rudyard Kipling

"Two-Gun" Cohen

"Our shooting was awful. I grabbed a tommy gun from one of the guards and pumped away myself. They came right up the slope of the hill and it looked as if nothing could stop them. Then Yung Heh-ming put in his counter-attack, the whole battalion at once through a breach in the walls just beneath the pagoda. They rushed right past us and I had to stop firing for fear of hitting our own boys."
– Morris "Two-Gun" Cohen, from The Life and Times of General Two-Gun Cohen, by Charles Drage

"The bullet that caught me in the left arm had made me think. Supposing it had been my right arm and I carried my gun that side, I'd not have been able to use it. As soon as we got back to Canton I got me a second gun, another Smith and Wesson revolver, a nd I packed it handy to my left hand. I practiced drawing and soon found that I was pretty well ambidextrous – one gun came out about as quick as the other."
– Morris "Two-Gun" Cohen, from Two-Gun Cohen: A Biography, by Daniel S. Levy

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