The Ruins of Empires has 90 ratings and 34 reviews. Owlseyes said: I’ve read the book some years ago: an amazing reflection on ancient civilizations. Ruins of Empire. Les Ruines, ou méditations sur les révolutions des empires ( ) by Constantin François Chasseboeuf, comte de Volney () is one . Or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires: Volney’s Answer to Dr. Priestley and a Biographical Notice by Count Daru. Prefaces; The Ruins of Empire.

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Always the victim of the sensation of the moment, it judges not of things by their nature but by the impulse of passion.

Volney’s Ruins: Or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires

Since then it was from his own bosom all the evils or that have vexed the life of man, it was there also he ought to have sought the remedies, where only they are to be found. In sum, the political Left dislikes Volney because Ruins of Empires–which places enlightened self-interest at the center of society–refutes their patron saint Jean-Jacques Rousseau. If a people were powerful, if an empire flourished, it was because the laws of convention were conformable to those of nature; because the government procured to every man respectively the free use of his faculties, the equal security of his person and property.

The people erect a tri-colored flag inscribed with the words “equality, justice, liberty. Shopbop Designer Fashion Rhins. States being at first weak, and having external enemies to fear, it was in reality of importance to the chiefs not to oppress the subject.

The civil govenors said: Has the course of the seasons at all varied?

Such revolutions were rapid and easy, because the policy of tyrants had enfeebled the citizens, razed the fortresses, destroyed the warlike spirit of resistance, and because the oppressed subject was without personal interest, and the mercenary soldier without courage. Here is the monument of its splendid metropolis, Thebes with its hundred palaces fthe progenitor of cities, the memento of human frailty.

Here is my review of the book nonetheless The disorder his imprudence had caused, his wisdom thus remedied. He was at first surnamed Boisgirais after his father’s estate, but afterwards assumed the name of Volney which he had created as a contraction of Voltaire and Ferney.


Volney, The Ruins, Contents

Tombs, what virtues and potency do you exhibit! If he be infinite, what can your homage add to his glory? And the people replied: You shall not be hurt; we are enlightened, and we will commit no violence.

Beside, every man being at once proprietor pf cultivator, he had no inducement to sell himself, and the despot would have been unable to find mercenaries. Yes, these places, now so desert, a living multitude formerly animated, and an active crowd circulated in the streets which at present are so solitary. Investigate the object and tendency of every association; observe what are the rights which every individual brings into it, the powers he cedes for the public good, and the powers which he reserves entire to himself.

In the general order of the universe, his condition is doubtless subjected to inconveniencies, and his existence over-ruled by superior powers; but these powers are neither the decrees of a blind destiny, nor the caprices of fantastic beings. Farther epmires, the coast 3 that you behold limited by the sea on one side, and by a ridge of mountains on the other, was the abode of the Phenician nations; there stood the powerful cities of Tyre, Sidon, Ascalon, Gaza, and Berytus.

What glory is here eclipsed, and how many labours are annihilated!

It is with this view he has endeavoured to give to these truths, hitherto treated as abstract, a form likely to gain them a reception. Let us form a grand league coount the common enemy. Meanwhile, at the cries of the fugitive Tartars, the Mussulman empire was in commotion. What would be runs judgment of his fair and impartial justice respecting the actual mass of mankind?

They extort from men their property; they attack their persons; and when their imprudent avarice has heaped into one mass epires riches of a province, the supreme government, with execrable perfidy, pretending to avenge the oppressed inhabitants, draws to itself their spoil in the spoil of the culprit, and wantonly and vainly expiate in blood the crime of which it was itself the accomplice. Thus, ruuins by their own passions, men, whether in their individual capacity, or as collective bodies, always rapacious and improvident, passing from tyranny to slavery, from pride to abjectness, from presumption to despair, have been themselves the eternal instruments of their misfortunes.


I now reflected with myself that public power was at a stand, that the habitual government of this people was annihilated, and I shuddered at the idea of their falling into the dissolution of anarchy. Should fortune in the infinite variety of her caprices produce them, is it likely that I should live to empirrs that day? Yet again, the want of cultivation led one step farther. When the secret power that animates the universe, formed the globe of the earth, he stamped on the beings which compose it essential properties, that became the rule of their individual action, the tie of their reciprocal connections, and the cause of the harmony of the whole.

It took a bit to get into the s language, but og worth the read.

Will the human species ever improve? And these lessons are mute and forgotten!

And in the present-day USA, volnfy government officials from the President down incessantly intrude their personal religious opinions into all urins affairs, Volney’s book reminds us of the danger this behavior poses to concord and to liberty itself.

Emboldened by these sentiments, I replied: Why have those favours been banished as it were, and transferred for so many ages to other nations and different climes? Because the chief of a family could exercise an absolute authority in his own house, he made his inclinations and affections the sole rule of his conduct; he conferred and withheld the conveniences and enjoyments of life without respect to the law of equality or justice, volneey paternal tyranny laid the foundation of political despotism m.

Ye places that here witnessed the life of man, in so many different ages, aid my recollection while I endeavour to trace the revolutions of his fortune!

And what is doubt, replied he, that it should be regarded as a crime? The first part of the work takes the form of a dialogue, and extended monologues, of cohnt two characters.

Is the earth more fruitful, are the people more happy? He was no longer content with the frugal table, the modest attire, and the simple habitation of his ancestors: