107 Herodotus Quotes from the ‘Father of History’

Herodotus is well-known as as the “Father of History”.

He was born in 5th century BC in Halicarnassus, Ionia. He is celebrated for “The Histories,” his pioneering narrative of the Greco-Persian wars.

His approach to history involved inquiries and narrations of events, as told to him during his travels across the Greek world.


Though his wealthy upbringing is speculated, details about his life are hazy. Notably, he was exiled from Halicarnassus, resided in Samos, Athens and the colony of Thurii, where he might have been buried.

His works, divided into nine books named after muses, depict the growth and vengeance of the Persian Empire under Cyrus and Xerxes.

Despite potential historical inaccuracies, Herodotus’s narratives offer invaluable insights into that era, significantly contributing to archaeological understanding of that period.

Related: Sophocles Quotes from the Famous Greek Writer and Archimedes Quotes from the Greek Mathematician

His historical legacy remains unparalleled.

I have picked some of the greatest quotes by Herodotus in this blog post.

Best Herodotus Quotes


Where wisdom is called for, force is of little use. ~ Herodotus.


I am bound to tell what I am told, but not in every case to believe it. ~ Herodotus.


The gods loves to punish whatever is greater than the rest. ~ Herodotus.


It is better to be envied than pitied. ~ Herodotus.


If you have two loaves of bread, keep one to nourish the body, but sell the other to buy hyacinths for the soul. ~ Herodotus.


Men trust their ears less than their eyes. ~ Herodotus.

In soft regions are born soft men. ~ Herodotus.

A man calumniated is doubly injured – first by him who utters the calumny, and then by him who believes it. ~ Herodotus.


Of all possessions a friend is the most precious. ~ Herodotus.

Call no man happy before he dies. ~ Herodotus.

The ear is a less trustworthy witness than the eye. ~ Herodotus.

We have two useless gods who never leave our island, but like to dwell in it constantly, Poverty and Helplessness. ~ Herodotus.


Good masters generally have bad slaves, and bad slaves have good masters. ~ Herodotus.

The most hateful grief of all human griefs is to have knowledge of a truth, but no power over the event. ~ Herodotus.

These ‘messengers’ will not be hindered from accomplishing at their best speed the distance which they have to go, either by snow, or rain, or heat, or by the darkness of night. ~ Herodotus.

Famous Herodotus Quotes

For as the body grows old, so the wits grow old and become blind towards all things alike. ~ Herodotus.


Men’s fortunes are on a wheel, which in its turning suffers not the same man to prosper for ever. ~ Herodotus.

How can a monarchy be a suitable thing, which allows a man to do as he pleases with none to hold him to account. And even if you were to take the best man on earth, and put him into a monarchy, you put outside him the thoughts that usually guide him. ~ Herodotus.

It is sound planning that invariably earns us the outcome we want; without it, even the gods are unlikely to look with favour on our designs. ~ Herodotus.


Love of honor is a very shady sort of possession. ~ Herodotus.

Of all men’s miseries the bitterest is this: to know so much and to have control over nothing. ~ Herodotus.

So much, then, for the fish. ~ Herodotus.

As the old saw says well: every end does not appear together with its beginning. ~ Herodotus.

Death is a delightful hiding place for weary men. ~ Herodotus.


Remember that with her clothes a woman puts off her modesty. ~ Herodotus.

Civil strife is as much a greater evil than a concerted war effort as war itself is worse than peace. ~ Herodotus.

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.

A woman takes off her claim to respect along with her garments. ~ Herodotus.

Powerful Herodotus Quotes

How brave a thing is freedom of speech, which has made the Athenians so far exceed every other state of Hellas in greatness! ~ Herodotus.


The wooden wall alone should remain unconquered. ~ Herodotus.

What the History is really about lies behind this: man, giant-sized, seen against the background of the entire world, universalized in his conflict with destiny, the gods, and the cosmic order. The medium that is most fertile in showing the true nature of reality is the human mind, remembering, reflective, and fertile most of all when its memory and reflection are put at the service of its dreaming and fantastic side. ~ Herodotus.

Those who are guided by reason are generally successful in their plans; those who are rash and precipitate seldom enjoy the favour of the gods. ~ Herodotus.

Swine are held by the Egyptians to be unclean beasts. ~ Herodotus.

Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects. ~ Herodotus.

I shall therefore discourse equally of both, convinced that human happiness never continues long in one stay. ~ Herodotus.


A multitude of rulers is not a good thing. Let there be one ruler, one king. ~ Herodotus.

Happiness is not fame or riches or heroic virtues, but a state that will inspire posterity to think in reflecting upon our life, that it was the life they would wish to live. ~ Herodotus.

A general curiosity about the unknown sparked by the multicultural milieu in which I spent my formative years. There was a lot of unknown back then, too. I dare say it was easier to be an explorer then. ~ Herodotus.

The Lacedaemonians fought a memorable battle; they made it quite clear that they were the experts, and that they were fighting against amateurs. ~ Herodotus.

Wise Herodotus Quotes


In peace, children inter their parents; war violates the order of nature and causes parents to inter their children. ~ Herodotus.

If someone were to put a proposition before men bidding them choose, after examination, the best customs in the world, each nation would certainly select its own. ~ Herodotus.

The worst pain a man can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing. ~ Herodotus.

Great things are won by great dangers. ~ Herodotus.

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it. ~ Herodotus.


Illness strikes men when they are exposed to change. ~ Herodotus.

After all, no one is stupid enough to prefer war to peace; in peace sons bury their fathers and in war fathers bury their sons. ~ Herodotus.

He is the best man who, when making his plans, fears and reflects on everything that can happen to him, but in the moment of action is bold. ~ Herodotus.

The longer the span of someone’s existence, the more certain he is to see and suffer much that he would rather have been spared. ~ Herodotus.

Many exceedingly rich men are unhappy, but many middling circumstances are fortunate. ~ Herodotus.

Great Herodotus Quotes

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

But this I know: if all mankind were to take their troubles to market with the idea of exchanging them, anyone seeing what his neighbor’s troubles were like would be glad to go home with his own. ~ Herodotus.


Envy is so natural to human kind, that it cannot but arise. ~ Herodotus.

Humans and prosperity never endure side by side for long. ~ Herodotus.

When life is so burdensome death has become a sought after refuge. ~ Herodotus.

Whatever comes from God is impossible for a man to turn back. ~ Herodotus.

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

Where even a falsehood must be told, let it be told. ~ Herodotus.

The Colchians, Ethiopians and Egyptians have thick lips, broad nose, woolly hair and they are burnt of skin. ~ Herodotus.


If one is sufficiently lavish with time, everything possible happens. ~ Herodotus.

The trials of living and the pangs of disease make even the short span of life too long. ~ Herodotus.

The hastening of any undertaking begets error, from which great losses are wont to come. ~ Herodotus.

Top Herodotus Quotes


God does not suffer presumption in anyone but himself. ~ Herodotus.

Unless a variety of opinions are laid before us, we have no opportunity of selection, but are bound of necessity to adopt the particular view which may have been brought forward. ~ Herodotus.

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

Now stop your dancing; you wouldn’t come out and dance when I played to you. ~ Herodotus.


But I like not this great success of yours; for I know how jealous are the gods. ~ Herodotus.

Not snow, no, nor rain, nor heat, nor night keeps them from accomplishing their appointed courses with all speed. ~ Herodotus.

It is the greatest and the tallest of trees that the gods bring low with bolts and thunder. For the gods love to thwart whatever is greater than the rest. They do not suffer pride in anyone but themselves. ~ Herodotus.

Tell Greece that her spring has been taken out of her year. ~ Herodotus.

One should always look to the end of everything, how it will finally come out. For the god has shown blessedness to many only to overturn them utterly in the end. ~ Herodotus.


The worst pain a man can have is to know much and be impotent to act. ~ Herodotus.

Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give luster, and many more people see than weigh. ~ Herodotus.

The secret of success is that it is not the absence of failure, but the absence of envy. ~ Herodotus.

Some give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before. ~ Herodotus.


I know that human happiness never remains long in the same place. ~ Herodotus.

Adversity has the effect of drawing out strength and qualities of a man that would have laid dormant in its absence. ~ Herodotus.

My men have become women, but the women men. ~ Herodotus.

History is marked by alternating movements across the imaginary line that separates East from West in Eurasia. ~ Herodotus.

Before a man dies, hold back and call him not happy but lucky. ~ Herodotus.

But if you know that you are a man too, and that even such are those that rule, learn this first of all: that all human affairs are a wheel which, as it turns, does not allow the same men always to be fortunate. ~ Herodotus.


We are less convinced by what we hear than by what we see. ~ Herodotus.

It is a law of nature that fainthearted men should be the fruit of luxurious countries, for we never find that the same soil produces delicacies and heroes. ~ Herodotus.

As the old saw says well: every end does not appear together with its beginning. It’s impossible for someone who is human to have all good things together, just as there is no single country able to provide all good things for itself. ~ Herodotus.

Haste in every business brings failures. ~ Herodotus.

I never yet feared those men who set a place apart in the middle of their cities where they gather to cheat one another and swear oaths which they break. ~ Herodotus.

Do you see how the god always hurls his bolts at the greatest houses and the tallest trees? For he is wont to thwart whatever is greater than the rest. ~ Herodotus.

Circumstances rule men; men do not rule circumstances. ~ Herodotus.


All men’s gains are the fruit of venturing. ~ Herodotus.

It is clear that not in one thing alone, but in many ways equality and freedom of speech are a good thing. ~ Herodotus.

Soft men tend to be born from soft countries. ~ Herodotus.

They made it plain to everyone, however, and above all to the king himself, that although he had plenty of troops, he did not have many men. ~ Herodotus.

But I like not these great successes of yours; for I know how jealous are the gods. ~ Herodotus.


The sun will not shine on any country that has borders with ours. ~ Herodotus.

It is the work of unjust men, we think, to carry off women at all; but once they have been carried off, to take seriously the avenging of them is the part of fools, as it is the part of sensible men to pay no heed to the matter: clearly, the women would not have been carried off had they no mind to be. ~ Herodotus.

It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen. ~ Herodotus.

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

The man of affluence is not in fact more happy than the possessor of a bare competency, unless, in addition to his wealth, the end of his life be fortunate. We often see misery dwelling in the midst of splendor, whilst real happiness is found in humbler stations. ~ Herodotus.


Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks. ~ Herodotus.

I believe that the women were called by the “Dodonaeans doves” because they were barbarians, and so they seemed to the people of Dodona to talk like birds. ~ Herodotus.

So these were the 107 top Herodotus quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Herbert Hoover quotes and Horace Walpole quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar