Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great quotes

Quotes by and about Frederick the Great

(Continued from his main entry on the site.)

Frederick: "Practice and experience [are] to be well understood."

Frederick: "Knowledge of [an object] is to be attained ... by careful and studious ... particular and minute examination of it."

Frederick: "In an army, every individual part of it should aim at perfection, to make it appear to be the work of only one man."

Frederick the Great in battle

Frederick: "The strictest care and the most unremitting attention are required ... of my troops. The most exact discipline is ever to be maintained."

Frederick: "Soldiers should not be allowed to wander about. [An officer] should take care that each troop is led to regularity."

Frederick: "No relaxation of discipline is ... to be permitted."

Frederick: "[Moses] could not have been very skillful: he led the Jewish people down a forty-year path, which they very easily could have completed in six weeks."

Frederick the Great and Voltaire

Frederick: "[I am not amongst those who] scorn today what they have admired yesterday, [who are] frivolous in the execution of their duties [and who] change their mistresses, residences, amusements and even their hobbies."

Frederick: "Machiavelli lacks the [understanding] to deal with the [practicalities of] battle."

Frederick: "If you examine [what Machiavelli says] carefully, not one of his proposals is reasonable or right."

Frederick: "[Machiavelli] gives many exciting rationales for his policies, but we look in vain for him to produce arguments that agree with sense impressions of our own."

Frederick: "One should preserve in the history only the names of the good princes, and let those of the others die forever, along with their indolence."

[Visiting Frederick's tomb after having conquered Prussia:]
Napoleon: "Gentlemen, if this man were still alive, I would not be here."

Gerhard Ritter: "He turned away from speculations about the unknowable. He was interested only in those questions that we must answer if we are to master ... practical life."

Frederick the Great in flute concert by Adolph Menzel