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Voltaire: Annals with no mention of any war undertaken at any time


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

Voltaire: Selections on war


Philosophical Dictionary
From Brahmins

Their annals make no mention of any war undertaken by them at any time. The words “arms,” “killing,” “maiming,” are to be found neither in the fragments of the Shastah that have reached us, nor in the Yajurvedah, nor in the Kormovedah. At least, I can affirm that I have not seen them in either of these two latter collections; and it is most singular that the Shastah, which speaks of a conspiracy in heaven, makes no mention of any war in the great peninsula between the Indus and Ganges.

The Hebrews, who were unknown until so late a period, never name the Brahmins; they knew nothing of India till after Alexander’s conquests and their own settling in that Egypt of which they had spoken so ill. The name of India is to be found only in the book of Esther, and in that of Job, who was not a Hebrew. We find a singular contrast between the sacred books of the Hebrews and those of the Indians. The Indian books announce only peace and mildness; they forbid the killing of animals: but the Hebrew books speak of nothing but the slaughter and massacre of men and beasts; all are butchered in the name of the Lord; it is quite another order of things.


General Reflection on Man

It needs twenty years to lead man from the plant state in which he is within his mother ‘s womb, and the pure animal state which is the lot of his early childhood, to the state when the maturity of the reason begins to appear. It has needed thirty centuries to learn a little about his structure. It would need eternity to learn something about his soul. It takes an instant to kill him.


From Marriage

“Let your soldiers marry, and they will no longer desert. Bound to their families, they will be bound to their country. An unmarried soldier is frequently nothing but a vagabond, to whom it matters not whether he serves the king of Naples or the king of Morocco.”

The Roman warriors were married: they fought for their wives and their children; and they made slaves of the wives and the children of other nations.

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