The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [Age of Louis XIV, V. I] - Vol. 22

The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [Age of Louis XIV, V. I] - Vol. 22

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The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [Age of Louis XIV, V. I] - Vol. 22

The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [Age of Louis XIV, V. I] - Vol. 22

Read FREE!

Excerpt

It is not only the life of Louis XIV. that we propose to write; we have a greater object in view. We mean to set before posterity not only the portrait of one man's actions but that of the spirit of mankind in general, in the most enlightened of all ages.

Every age has produced heroes and politicians; all nations have experienced revolutions, and all histories are nearly alike to those who seek only to furnish their memories with facts; but whosoever thinks, or, what is still more rare, whosoever has taste, will find but four ages in the history of the world. These four happy ages are those in which the arts were carried to perfection, and which, by serving as the era of the greatness of the human mind, are examples for posterity.

The first of these ages to which true glory is annexed is that of Philip and Alexander, or that of a Pericles, a Demosthenes, an Aristotle, a Plato, an Apelles, a Phidias, and a Praxiteles; and this honor has been confined within the limits of ancient Greece; the rest of the known world was then in a state of barbarism.

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