In reality, Rome had grown too big for lots of people to handle its vast affairs any longer by committee.
The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.
he forgot that the best of omens is to unsheathe our sword in the defence of our country.
unchecked power corrupts.
but it was reserved for Augustus to relinquish the ambitious design of subduing the whole earth, and to introduce a spirit of moderation into the public councils. Inclined to peace by his temper and situation, it was easy for him to discover that Rome, in her present exalted situation, had much less to hope than to fear from the chance of arms; and that, in the prosecution of remote wars, the undertaking became every day more difficult, the event more doubtful, and the possession more precarious, and less beneficial.
Active valour may often be the present of nature; but such patient diligence can be the fruit only of habit and discipline.
The conquest of the land of Canaan was accompanied with so many wonderful and so many bloody circumstances, that the victorious Jews were left in a state of irreconcilable hostility with all their neighbours.
[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.
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.
The five marks of the Roman decaying culture:
Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth;
Obsession with sex and perversions of sex;
Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original;
Widening disparity between very rich and very poor;
Increased demand to live off the state.