Currently viewing the category: "Democritus"


“[I] laugh at the vanities and the fopperies of the time, to see men so empty of virtuous actions, to hunt so far after gold, having no end of ambition; to take such infinite pains for a little glory, and to be favoured of men…. Some to desire to be obeyed in many provinces, and yet themselves will know no obedience. Some to love their wives dearly at first, and after a while to forsake and hate them; begetting children, with much care and cost for their education, yet when they grow to man’s estate, to to despise, neglect, and leave them to the world’s mercy. Do these behaviors not express their intolerable folly? When men live in peace, they covet war, detesting quietness, deposing kings, and advancing others in their stead, murdering some men in order to beget children of their wives. How many strange humours are in men! When they are poor and needy, they seek riches, and when they have them, they do not enjoy them, but hide them underground, or else wastefully spend them… I laugh at such things being done, but much more when no good comes of them, and when they are done to so ill purpose. There is no truth or justice found amongst them, for they daily plead one against another… and all this for riches, whereof after death they cannot be possessors…. Others affect difficult things; if they dwell on firm land they will remove to an island, and thence to land again, being no way constant to their desires… It were enough to make them wise, if they would but consider the mutability of this world, and how it wheels about, nothing being firm and sure.”

Democritus (ca. 460 BCE – ca. 370 BCE) as quoted in Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)

Screen cap from Le Samouraï (1967) by Jean-Pierre Melville