Michel de Montaigne
On the Cannibals


Translated by
Ian Johnston
Vancouver Island University
Nanaimo, British Columbia


For a Rich Text Format version of this text, use the following link: Cannibals [RTF]




The following text is a translation of Chapter 31 in Book 1 of Montaigne’s Essays. The text of Montaigne’s Essays was constantly revised during his life so that there are significant differences between the editions published in 1580, in 1588, and in 1595 (a posthumous edition). On the assumption that the final version best represents Montaigne’s final decisions about the essay, I have based this translation upon the 1595 edition, available at the following website:




Unlike some other translators, I have made no attempt here to indicate the editorial history of various changes, insertions, and deletions in the text of “On Cannibals.” If you want to track the changes in the various editions, the following link should be helpful:




Montaigne, so far as I can tell, does not have paragraph breaks (the only breaks are those provided by quotations), so I (along with other translators) have inserted my own where they seemed appropriate.


In this English text all endnotes have been provided by the translator. Montaigne’s frequent quotations in Latin have been translated into English in the text and his original words have been moved into an endnote (I have retained Montaigne’s spelling in the Latin quotations). The translations have been made by the translator. Montaigne does not indicate the source of the quotations, but I have supplied these in the endnotes.

Student, teachers, and members of the general public may freely download and distribute this translation without permission and without charge. They may also freely edit it to suit their purposes. All commercial use of this work, however, requires the permission of Ian Johnston (johnstoi.ian@gmail.com)


On the Cannibals


When king Pyrrhus moved across into Italy and was scouting out the organization of the army which the Romans sent out against him, he observed, “I do not know what sort of barbarians these are” (for the Greeks used to call all foreign nations by that name) “but the formation of this army I am looking at has nothing barbarous about it.” The Greeks said much the same about the army Flaminius marched through their country, and so did Philip, when he looked down from a hillock on the order and layout of the Roman camp built in his kingdom under the command of Publius Sulpicius Galba.(1) There we see how we must be careful about clinging to common opinions and must judge them, not by popular report, but with the eye of reason.


For a long time I had with me a man who had lived ten or twelve years in that other world which was discovered in our century, in the place where Villegaignon landed, which he called Antarctic France.(2) This discovery of such an enormous country seems to merit serious consideration. I do not know if I can affirm that another similar discovery will not occur in the future, given that so many people more important than us have been wrong about this one. I fear that our eyes are larger than our stomachs, that we have more curiosity than comprehension. We embrace everything, yet we catch nothing but wind.


Plato introduces Solon telling a story he had learned from the priests in the city of Saïs in Egypt. They said that long ago, before the Deluge, there was a huge island called Atlantis, right at the mouth of the Straits of Gibraltar, which had more land than all of Africa and Asia combined and that the kings of this country, who not only possessed this island but also had extended their control so far into the continent that they held lands across the width of Africa as far as Egypt and across Europe as far as Tuscany, were beginning to march over into Asia and subjugate all the nations bordering the Mediterranean up to the Black Sea, and to achieve this had moved across Spain, Gaul, and Italy, to Greece, where the Athenians stopped them. However, sometime later both the Athenians and these people, along with their island, were swallowed by the Flood(3).


It is very probable that this extreme inundation of water brought about strange alterations in the places where the earth was inhabited, the ones in which, so people say, the sea separated Sicily from Italy—


They claim these places once were ripped apart
by an enormously destructive force,
where earlier both lands had been united—


It also split Cyprus from Syria, the island of Euboea from the mainland of Boeotia, and in other places joined lands which had been separated, filling the trenches between them with sand and mud.


. . . long a sterile marsh on which men rowed
now nourishes the neighbouring towns and feels
the ploughshares’ heavy weight.


But it does not seem very likely that this new world we have just discovered was this island of Atlantis, for it almost touched Spain, and the effect of that inundation would have been incredible if it had pushed the island back to where the new world is, a distance of more than twelve hundred leagues. Besides modern navigators have already made it almost certain that the new world is not an island but a mainland, connected on one side with the East Indies and on the other with the lands under the two poles. Or else, if it is divided off from them, what separates it a narrow strait, a distance that does not entitle it to be called an island.


In these large bodies, as in our own, it appears that there are movements, some natural and others feverish. When I consider the way in which our river, the Dordogne, in our own times has eroded the right bank of its descending flow and that in twenty years it has gained so much and washed away the foundations of several buildings, I clearly see that this disturbance is extraordinary. For if it had always worked in this way or were to do so in future, the face of the earth would be utterly transformed. But rivers undergo changes: sometimes they overflow one bank, sometimes the other, and sometimes they flow between them. I am not speaking about sudden floods, whose causes we understand. In Medoc, along the seashore, my brother, the Sieur d’Arsac, watches one of his estates being buried under sand that the sea vomits up in front of it. The tops of some buildings are still visible. His rental properties and his fields have been changed into very poor pasture. The inhabitants state that for some years the sea has been pushing towards them so strongly that they have lost four leagues of ground. These sands are her harbinger: we see huge mounds of moving sand marching half a league in front of her and overpowering the land.


The other testimony from ancient times to which one could link this discovery of a new world is in Aristotle, at least if that little booklet On Unheard-of Marvels is by him. In that work, he tells the story of certain Carthaginians who, after sailing for a long time beyond the Straits of Gibraltar and crossing the Atlantic Ocean, finally discovered a large fertile island, all covered with trees and watered by wide, deep rivers, a very long way from any mainland. Attracted by the goodness and fertility of the soil, they—and others after them—went with their wives and children and started a settlement. However, the rulers of Carthage, noticing that their country was gradually losing its people, expressly prohibited any more from going there, on pain of death, and they drove these new inhabitants out, fearing, so the story goes, that with the passage of time they might multiply to such an extent that they would supplant the Carthaginians themselves and ruin their state. But Aristotle’s story does not accord with our new lands any more than Plato’s does.


The man I had with me was a plain, rough fellow, the sort likely to provide a true account. For intelligent people notice more things and are much more curious, but they provide their own gloss on them, and to strengthen their interpretation and make it persuasive, they cannot help changing their story a little. They never give you a pure picture of things, but bend and disguise them according to the view they have of them, and to lend credit to their judgment and attract you to it, they willingly add to the material, stretching it out and amplifying it. We need either a very honest man or else one so simple that he lacks what it takes to build up inventive falsehoods and make them plausible, a man who is not wedded to anything. My man was like that, and, in addition, at various times he brought some sailors and merchants whom he had known on that voyage to see me. Thus, I am happy about his information, without enquiring into what the cosmographers may say about the matter.


We need topographers who provide us a detailed account of the places they have been. But because they have seen Palestine and have that advantage over us, they wish to enjoy the privilege of telling us news about every inhabitant in the world. I would like everyone to write about what he knows but only as much as he knows, not only on this subject but on all others. For a person can have some specific knowledge of or experience with the nature of a river or a fountain and in other things know only what everyone else does. Yet to publicize his small scrap of knowledge, he will undertake to write about all of physics. From this vice stem several serious difficulties.


Now, to return to my subject, I find, from what I have been told about these people, that there is nothing barbarous and savage about them, except that everyone calls things which he does not practise himself barbaric. For, in fact, we have no test of truth and of reason other than examples and ideas of the opinions and customs in the country where we live. There we always have the perfect religion, the perfect political arrangements, the perfect and most accomplished way of dealing with everything. Those natives are savages in the same way we call “wild” the fruits which nature produces on her own by her usual processes; whereas, the ones we should really call “wild” instead are those we have altered artificially and whose ordinary behaviour we have modified. The former contain vital and vigorous virtues and properties, the most genuinely beneficial and natural qualities which we have bastardized in the latter, by adapting them to gratify our corrupt taste. Nonetheless the flavour and delicacy in various uncultivated fruits from those countries over there are excellent even to our taste—they even rival the fruit we produce. It is unreasonable that art should win the place of honour over our great and powerful mother nature. We have overburdened the beauty and richness of her works with our inventions to such an extent that we have suffocated everything. Yet wherever she shines out in her own purity, her marvels put our vain and frivolous enterprises to shame.


Ivy springs up better on its own
In lonely caves arbutus grows more fair
And birds not taught to sing have sweeter songs.


All our efforts cannot succeed in recreating the nest of even the smallest bird—its texture, its beauty and convenience, let alone the web of the puny spider. All things, Plato states, are produced either by nature or by chance or by art: the greatest and most beautiful by one or other of the first two, the least and most imperfect by the last.


These nations therefore seem to me to be barbarous in the sense that they have received very little moulding from the human mind and are still very close to their original natural condition. Natural laws still govern them, hardly corrupted at all by our own. They live in such purity that sometimes I regret that we did not learn about them earlier, at a time when there were men more capable of judging them than we are. I am sad that Lycurgus and Plato did not know them. For it seems to me that what our experience enables us to see in those nations there surpasses not only all the pictures with which poetry has embellished the Golden Age, as well as all its inventiveness in portraying a happy human condition, but also the conceptions and even the desires of philosophers. They have scarcely imagined such a pure and simple innocence as the one our experience reveals to us, and they could hardly have believed that our society could survive with so little artifice and social bonding among people. It is a nation, I would tell Plato, in which there is no form of commerce, no knowledge of letters, no science of numbers, no name for magistrate or political superiors, no customs of servitude, or riches, or poverty, no contracts, no inheritance, no division of property, no occupations, other than leisure ones, no respect for kin relationships, except for common ties, no clothing, no agriculture, no metal, no use of wine or wheat. The very words which signify lying, treason, dissimulation, avarice, envy, slander, and forgiveness are unknown. How distant from this perfection would Plato find the republic he imagined—“men freshly come from the gods.”


These are the habits nature first ordained.(7)


As for the rest, they live in a very pleasant and temperate country, so that, according to what my witnesses have told me, it is rare to see a sick person there, and I have been assured that in that land one does not notice any of the inhabitants doddering, with rheumy eyes, toothless, or bowed down with old age. They have settled along the sea coast, closed off on the landward side by large, high mountains, with a stretch of land about one hundred leagues wide in between. They have a great abundance of fish and meat that has no resemblances to ours and that they simply cook and eat, without any other preparation. The first man who rode a horse there, although he had had dealings with them on several other voyages, so horrified them by his riding posture, that they killed him with arrows before they could recognize him.


Their buildings are very long, capable of holding two or three hundred souls, and covered with the bark of large trees. The strips of bark are held in the earth at one end and support and lean against one another at the top, in the style of some of our barns, in which the roof comes down to the ground and acts as a wall. They have a wood so hard that they cut with it and use it to make swords and grills to cook their meat. Their beds are woven cotton, suspended from the roof, like those of our sailors. Each person has his own, for the wives sleep separate from the husbands. They rise with the sun and, as soon as they get up, eat to last them all day, for that is the only meal they have. At that time they do not drink, like certain other Eastern peoples Suidas observed who drank only apart from meals. They drink several times a day and a considerable amount. The beverage is made from some root and is the colour of our claret wines. They drink it only lukewarm. It will not keep for more than two or three days. It has a slightly spicy taste, does not go to one’s head, is good for the stomach, and works as a laxative for those not accustomed to it. It is a very pleasant drink for those who are used to it. Instead of bread they use a certain white material, like preserved coriander. I have tried it—the taste is sweet and somewhat flat.


They spend the entire day dancing. Younger men go off to hunt wild animals with bows. Meanwhile, some of the women keep busy warming their drinks, which is their main responsibility. In the morning, before they begin their meal, one of the old men preaches to everyone in the entire barn, walking from one end to the other and repeating the same sentence several times until he has completed his tour of the building, which is easily one hundred paces long. He recommends only two things to them: courage against their enemies and affection for their wives. And these old men never fail to mention this obligation, adding as a refrain that their wives are the ones who keep their drinks warm and seasoned for them.


In several places, including my own home, there are examples of their beds, their ropes, their swords, their wooden bracelets, which they use to cover their wrists in combat, and their large canes hollow at one end, with whose sound they keep time in their dances. They are close shaven all over, and remove the hair much more cleanly than we do, using only wood or stone as a razor. They believe that the soul is immortal and that those who have deserved well of the gods are lodged in that part of the sky where the sun rises and the damned in regions to the west.


They have some sort of priests or prophets who rarely appear in front of the people, for they live in the mountains. When they do arrive, there is a grand celebration and a solemn assembly of several villages (each barn of the sort I have described makes one village, and the villages are about one French league from each other). This prophet speaks to them in public, exhorting them to be virtuous and to do their duty. But their entire ethical knowledge contains only these two articles: courage in war and affection for their wives. He prophesies what is to come and what they can expect from their enterprises; he urges them to war or turns them away from it. But there is a condition: if he fails to prophesy well, if things turn out different from what his predictions have told them, he is cut into a thousand pieces, if they catch him, and condemned as a false prophet. For this reason, the prophet who is wrong once is not seen again.


Divination is a gift of God. For that reason abusing it should be punished as fraud. Among the Scythians, when the divines failed with their predictions, they were chained by their hands and feet, laid out on carts full of kindling and pulled by oxen, and burned there. Those who deal with matters in which the outcome depends on what human beings are capable of can be excused if they only do their best. But surely the others, those who come to us with deluding assurances of an extraordinary faculty beyond our understanding, should be punished for not keeping their promises and for the recklessness of their deceit.


These natives have wars with the nations which live on the other side of their mountains, further inland. They go out against them completely naked with no weapons except bows or wooden swords with a point at one end, like the tips of our spears. What is astonishing is their resolution in combat, which never ends except in slaughter and bloodshed, for they have no idea of terror or flight. Each man brings back as a trophy the head of the enemy he has killed and attaches it to the entry of his dwelling. After treating their prisoners well for quite a long time and giving them every consideration they can possibly think of, each man who has a prisoner summons a grand meeting of his acquaintances. He ties a rope to one of the prisoner’s arms and holds him there, gripping the other end, some paces away for fear the prisoner might hurt him, and he gives his dearest friend the prisoner’s other arm to hold in the same way. Then the two of them, in the presence of the entire assembly, stab him to death with their swords. After that, they roast him, they all eat him together, and they send portions to their absent friends. They do this not, as people think, to nourish themselves, the way the Scythians did in ancient times, but as an act manifesting extreme vengeance.  We see evidence for this from the following: having noticed that the Portuguese, who were allied with their enemies, used a different method of killing them when they took them prisoner—this was to bury them up to the waist, shoot the rest of the body full of arrows, and then hang them—they thought that this people who had come from another world (who had already spread the knowledge of so many vicious practices throughout the neighbouring region and were much greater masters of all sorts of evil than they were) did not select this sort of vengeance for no reason and that therefore this method must be harsher than their own. And so they began to abandon their old practice and to follow this new one.


I am not so much concerned about the fact that we call attention to the barbaric horror of this action as I am about the fact that, in judging their faults correctly, we should be so blind to our own. I believe that there is more savagery in eating a man when he is alive than eating him when he is dead, more in tearing apart by tortures and the rack a body full of feeling, roasting it piece by piece, having it mauled and eaten by dogs and pigs—treatments which I have not only read about but seen done a short time ago, not among ancient enemies but among neighbours and fellow citizens, and, what is worse, under the pretext of piety and religion—than there is in cooking and eating a man once he is dead.


Chrysippus and Zeno, leaders of the Stoic school, thought that there was nothing wrong in using our carcasses for any purpose whatsoever, in case of need, and in using them as a source of food, just as our ancestors did when they were being besieged by Julius Caesar in the town of Alesia and resolved to stave off the hunger of this siege with the bodies of old men, women, and other people useless in combat.(8)


They say the Gascons with such foods as these
Prolonged their lives.


And doctors are not afraid of using a dead body, either internally or externally, for all sorts of purposes in order to preserve our health. But no one has ever come across a point of view so unreasonable that it excuses treason, disloyalty, tyranny, and cruelty, which are common faults of ours.


Thus, we can indeed call these natives barbarians, as far as the laws of reason are concerned, but not in comparison with ourselves, who surpass them in every variety of savagery. Their warfare is entirely noble and generous—as excusable and beautiful as this human malady can possibly be. With them it is based only on one thing, a rivalry in courage. They do not argue about conquering new lands, for they still enjoy that natural fecundity which furnishes them without toil and trouble everything necessary and in such abundance that they have no need to expand their borders. They are still at that fortunate stage where they do not desire anything more than their natural demands prescribe. Everything over and above that is for them superfluous.


Those among them of the same age generally call each other brothers, and those who are younger they call children. The old men are fathers to all the others. These leave the full possession of their goods undivided to their heirs in common, without any other title, except the simple one which nature gives to all her creatures by bringing them into the world. If their neighbours cross the mountains and come to attack them and if they are victorious over them, what the victors acquire is glory and the advantage of having proved themselves more courageous and valiant, for they have no further interest in the possessions of the conquered. Then they return to their own country, where they have no lack of anything they need, just as they do not lack that great benefit of knowing how to enjoy their condition in happiness and how to remain content with it. And the natives we are talking about do the same. They demand no ransom of their prisoners, other than a confession and a recognition that they have been beaten. But in an entire century there has not been one prisoner who did not prefer to die rather than to surrender, either by his expression or by his words, a single bit of the grandeur of his invincible courage. Not one of them has been observed who did not prefer to be killed and eaten than merely to ask that he be spared. They treat the captives very freely so that their lives will be all the more dear to them, commonly making conversational threats about their coming death and the torments they will have to suffer, mentioning the preparations which are being made for this event, the limbs which will be sliced off, and the celebrations which will be held at their expense. They do all this with one purpose in mind, to drag from their prisoner’s mouth some weak or demeaning words or to make them keen to flee, in order to gain the advantage of scaring them and thus triumphing over their resolution. For, in fact, everything considered, that is the only point which makes a victory genuine.


                                                                                  There is no victory
except one which conquers enemies who in their minds confess it.


Long ago the Hungarians, who were very bellicose warriors, did not push their advantage any further once they had made the enemy ask for mercy. For having wrung this confession of his defeat from him, they let him go unharmed and without ransom, except, at most, for exacting his promise that he would not take up arms against them from that point on.


We have a number of advantages over our enemies which are borrowed advantages and not our own. To have sturdier arms and legs is the quality of a porter, not of virtue. Physical agility is a dead, physical skill. It is a stroke of luck which makes our enemy stumble and blinds his eyes with light from the sun. It is a trick of art and technique that one may find in a worthless coward that makes a competent fencer. The courage and value of a man lie in his heart and in his will: there one finds his true honour. Valour is strength, not of legs and arms, but of courage and spirit. It does not consist of the value of our horse or our weapons, but of ourselves: the man who falls still courageous and resolute, who “if his legs fail fights on his knees,”(11) who, whatever the danger of imminent death, does not relax his assertiveness and who still, as he surrenders his soul, looks at his enemy with a firm and scornful eye—he is beaten, not by us but by fortune. He has been killed but not conquered. The most valiant are sometimes the most unfortunate.


Thus, there are defeats which are triumphs, the equal of victories. Even those four sister victories, the most beautiful the eye of the sun has ever gazed upon—Salamis, Plataea, Mycale, and Sicily—would never dare to set all their combined glories up against the glorious defeat of king Leonidas and his men at the pass of Thermopylae. Who ever charged with a more glorious and more ambitious desire to win a battle than captain Ischolas did to lose one? Who has been more ingenious and more careful in ensuring his safety than he was in ensuring his own destruction. He was charged with defending a certain pass in the Peloponnese against the Arcadians. Judging that this was completely impossible, given the nature of the place and the disparity in the number of troops, he decided that all those who confronted the enemy would have to die there. On the other hand, he thought it unworthy of his own virtue and magnanimity and of the Lacedaemonian name not to fail in his responsibilities. So between these two extremes he chose a middle course, as follows: he saved the youngest and most energetic of his force for the defence and service of their county, by sending them back, and with those whose loss was less significant he determined to hold the pass and by their deaths to do as much as he possibly could to make his enemies pay the highest price for their entry through it. And that is what happened. For they were surrounded on all sides by the Arcadians, and, after slaughtering a great many of them, he and his men were all put to the sword. Is there any trophy dedicated to the victors which would not be more deservingly given to the conquered? A genuine victory emerges from battle, not from survival, and the honour of valour lies in fighting, not in conquering.


To return to our story. These prisoners are so far from surrendering, in spite of everything which is done to them that, by contrast, during the two or three months they are held, they look cheerful and urge their masters to hurry up and put them to the test. They defy and insult them. They reproach them with cowardice and the number of battles they have lost fighting against them. I have a song composed by one prisoner which contains a taunting invitation for them all to step up boldly and gather to dine on him, because they will at the same time be eating their fathers and grandfathers who have served to feed and nourish his body. “These muscles,” he says, “this flesh, these veins—these are your own, poor fools that you are. You do not recognize that the substance of your ancestors’ limbs is still contained in them. Savour them well. You will find in them the taste of your own flesh”—an ingenious idea without the slightest flavour of barbarity. Those who describe these people as they die and depict what is going on when they are struck down show the prisoner spitting in the faces of his executioners and curling his lip at them in contempt. In fact, they do not stop challenging and defying their killers with words and gestures right up to their final breath. Truly we have here really savage men in comparison to us. For beyond all doubt that is what they must be—either that or we must be. For there is an amazing distance between their ways and ours.


The men there have several wives and the greater the number, the higher their reputation for valour. In their marriages there is something remarkably beautiful: the same jealousy our wives possess, which deprives us of the friendship and kindness of other women, their wives possess in a completely similar way to obtain these things for them. Since they care more for the honour of their husbands than for anything else, they go to great lengths to seek out and have as many companions as they can, inasmuch as that is a testimony of their husband’s merit.


Our wives will cry out that this is a miracle. It is not. It is a proper marital virtue, but of the highest order. In the Bible, Leah, Rachel, Sarah, and Jacob’s wives gave their beautiful servants to their husbands. And Livia supported the appetites of Augustus, rather than her own interest. And Stratonice, wife of King Deiotarus not only provided her husband a very beautiful young maidservant in her service for her husband’s use, but also carefully brought up her children and supported them as successors to their father’s estates.


And so that people do not think that they do all this out of a simple and servile duty to habit and under pressure from the authority of their ancient customs, without reflection or judgement, and because they have such stupid souls that they cannot choose any other way, I must cite some aspects of their capabilities. In addition to what I have recited from one of their war songs, I have another—a love song which begins like this: “Stay, adder, stay, so that my sister may draw from your painted pattern a design for making a rich ribbon which I may offer my beloved—in this way your beauty and your markings will be honoured above all other serpents evermore.”

This first couplet is the refrain of the song. Now, I have had suffienct dealings with poetry to judge not only that is there nothing barbarous in this imaginative piece, but also that it is perfectly Anacreontic.(12) In addition, their language is soft and has an agreeable sound, with something like Greek endings.

Three of these natives, unaware how much it would one day cost their peace and happiness to learn about our corruptions and not realizing that the interaction would lead to their ruin—since I assume that that is already underway—to their great misfortune let themselves be led astray by their desire for novelty and left the gentleness of their heavens in order to come and see ours. They were in Rouen at the same time as King Charles IX was there [in 1562]. The king talked with them a long time. They were shown our ways, our ceremonies, and the layout of a beautiful city. After that, someone asked them their opinion, in order to learn from them what they had found most admirable. They said there were three things. To my intense annoyance, I have forgotten the third, but I can still remember two of them. They said that, first of all, they found it really strange that so many large men with beards—strong and armed—who surrounded the king (they were probably referring to the Swiss guards) would agree to obey a child rather than choosing one of themselves to be in command. Secondly (since in their way of speaking they call men halves of one another) they said they had noticed that among us some men were overstuffed with all sorts of rich commodities while their halves were begging at their doors, emaciated from hunger and poverty. They found it strange that these halves in such desperate need could put up with such an injustice and did not seize the others by the throat or set fire to their houses.


I talked to one of them for a very long time, but I had an interpreter who followed what I said so badly and whose stupidity prevented him from understanding my ideas so much that I could derive nothing worthwhile from the conversation. When I asked the man what what benefit he received from his superior rank among his own people (for he was a captain, and our sailors used to call him “King”), he told me that it was to march into war at the front. In order to inform me how many men followed him, he showed me a certain space, indicating that the number was as many men as could be placed there—probably four or five thousand men. When I asked him if all his authority came to an end when the war was over, he replied that when he visited the villages dependent on him, he still had the privilege of having the forest pathways through the thickets cleared for him, so that he could easily walk along them.


All that is not too bad, but what of it? They wear no breeches.




(1)  Pyrrhus (319 BC-272 BC), king of the Greek city of Epirus, invaded Italy in 280 BC, ostensibly to help the cities in southern Italy fight against the Romans. Titus Quinctius Flaminius (c. 229 BC – c. 174 BC) was a Roman general charged with fighting against Philip, king of Macdeon. Publius Sulpicius Galba was a Roman general who fought in the same wars against Philip. [Back to Text]

(2)  Villegaignon (1510 – 1571) was a French explorer and soldier who, in 1555, landed in Brazil with a small force of soldiers and colonists. [Back to Text]

(3)  This story is described in Plato’s dialogue Timaeus. [Back to Text]

(4)  Montaigne quotes the Latin: “Haec loca, vi quondam et vasta convulsa ruina,/ Dissiluisse ferunt, cum protinus utraque tellus/ Una foret.” (Virgil, Aeneid, 3.414) [Back to Text]

(5)  Montaigne quotes the Latin: “. . . sterilisque diu palus aptaque remis/ Vicinas urbe alit, et grave sentit aratrum.” (Horace, De Arte Poetica, 65) [Back to Text]

(6)  Montaigne quotes the Latin: “Et veniunt hederae sponte sua melius,/ Surgit et in solis formosior arbutus antris/ Et volucres nulla dulcius arte canunt.” (Propertius, 1.2.10) [Back to Text]

(7)  Montaigne quotes the Latin: “viri a diis recentes” (Seneca, Letters 90) and “Hos natura modos primum dedit.” (Virgil, Georgics, 2.20) [Back to Text]

(8)  The Battle of Alesia, one of the highlights of Julius Caesar’s military career, took place in 52 BC during the Gallic Wars. [Back to Text]

(9)  Montaigne quotes the Latin: Vascones, fama est, alimentis talibus usi/ Produxere animas. (Juvenal, Satires, 15.93) [Back to Text]

(10)          Montaigne quotes the Latin: “victoria nulla est/ Quam quae confessos animo quoque subjugat hostes.” (Claudius, On the Sixth Consulship of Honorius, 248) [Back to Text]

(11)          Montaigne quotes the Latin: “si succiderit, de genu pugnat” (Seneca, On Providence, 2). [Back to Text]

(12)          Anacreon (c. 590 BC) was a celebrated lyric poet in Ancient Greece. [Back to Text]

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