Tech Quotes from Civilization IV


This article contains all of the philosophical quotes featured in the computer game Civilization IV. When your civilization discovers a new technology, a relevant quote pops up and is read by Leonard Nimoy.

If you haven't played the game, you really owe it to yourself to do so.

Below are all 86 quotes featured in the game (including the six technologies from the Beyond the Sword expansion pack: Advanced Flight, Aesthetics, Laser, Military Science, Stealth, and Superconductor). Although the player chooses the order in which technology is discovered, I have grouped the technologies by era.

Ancient Era Technologies


"Oh farmers, pray that your summers be wet and your winters clear."

- Virgil

Animal Husbandry

"Blessed be the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep."

- The Bible, Deut. 28:4


"Do not throw the arrow which will return against you."

-Kurdish Proverb

Bronze Working

"It is entirely seemly for a young man killed in battle to lie mangled by the bronze spear. In his death all things appear fair."



"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

- Lao Tzu

Horseback Riding

"If you speak the truth, have a foot in the stirrup."

- Turkish Proverb


"If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both."

- Native American saying


"It is from their foes, not their friends, that cities learn the lesson of building high walls."

- Aristophanes


"Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back."

- The Buddha


"The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."

- Confucius


"I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."

- The Bible, Exodus


"Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God."

- Cicero


"Not at all similar are the race of the immortal gods and the race of men who walk upon the earth."

- Homer


"Hath not the potter power over the clay, to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?"

- The Bible, Romans


"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

- The Bible, Numbers


"You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails."

- Unknown

The Wheel

"Put your shoulder to the wheel."

- Aesop


"True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written, in writing what deserves to be read."

- Pliny the Elder

Classical Era Technologies


"Art for art's sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of truth, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that is the faith I am searching for."

- George Sand


"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world."

- The Buddha


"For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven."

- Ecclesiastes

Code of Laws

"To bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, so that the strong should not harm the weak."

- Hammurabi's Code; Prologue


"The wisest men follow their own direction."

- Euripides


"And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains."

- Percy Bysshe Shelley


"Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."

- Publius Syrius


"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts."

- William Shakespeare

Iron Working

"You should hammer your iron when it is glowing hot."

- Publius Syrus


"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some to be chewed and digested."

- Sir Francis Bacon


"If in other sciences we should arrive at certainty without doubt and truth without error, it behooves us to place the foundations of knowledge in mathematics."

- Roger Bacon

Metal Casting

"And them that take the sword shall perish by the sword."

- The Bible, Matthew


"A multitude of rulers is not a good thing. Let there be one ruler, one king."

- Herodotus

Medieval Era Technologies


"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies."

- Thomas Jefferson

Civil Service

"The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy."

- Unknown

Divine Right

"I am the state."

- Louis XIV


"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupry


"I will to my lord be true and faithful, and love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns."

- Anglo Saxon oath of Fealty


"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public."

- Adam Smith


"A god from the machine."

- Menander


"If music be the food of love, play on."

- William Shakespeare


"One doesn't discover new lands without losing sight of the shore."

- Andre Gide


"I cannot live without books."

- Thomas Jefferson


"I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law."

- Aristotle


"Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self; the heavenly by the love of God."

- St. Augustine

Renaissance Era Technologies


"Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another."

- Plato


"Chemistry means the difference between poverty and starvation and the abundant life."

- Robert Brent


"No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, or in any other way destroyed, except by the lawful judgment of his peers."

- The Magna Carta


"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility."

- Ambrose Bierce


"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

- Winston Churchill


"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe."

- Albert Einstein


"There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance."

- Ali ibn Abi-Talib


"You can get more of what you want with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word."

- Al Capone


"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

- Benjamin Franklin

Military Science

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy."

- John Adams

Military Tradition

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."

- Sun-Tzu


"A man does not have himself killed for a half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him."

- Napoleon Bonaparte

Printing Press

"What gunpowder did for war, the printing press has done for the mind."

- Wendell Phillips

Replaceable Parts

"The whole is more than the sum of its parts."

- Aristotle


"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

- Mao Zedong

Industrial Era Technologies


"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."

- Frederick the Great

Assembly Line

"People can have the Model T in any color - so long as it's black."

- Henry Ford


"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, but the one most responsive to change."

- Charles Darwin


"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."

- E.B. White


"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

- Dom Helder Camara


"We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."

- Thomas Edison


"The great masses of the people... will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one."

- Adolf Hitler


"If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One... I am become Death, the Shatterer of Worlds."

- J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting "The Bhagavad Gita"


"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wage possible."

- Henry Ford


"As to diseases make a habit of two things - to help, or at least, to do no harm."

- Hippocrates


"To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction."

- Isaac Newton


"I fooled you, I fooled you, I got pig iron, I got pig iron, I got all pig iron."

- Lonnie Donegan, "Rock Island Line"

Scientific Method

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

- Galileo Galilei

Steam Power

"You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bon-fire under her deck? I have no time for such nonsense."

- Napoleon, on Robert Fulton's Steamship


"Before that steam drill shall beat me down, I'll die with my hammer in my hand."

- from "John Henry, the Steel-Driving Man"

Modern Era Technologies

Advanced Flight

"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth - Put out my hand and touched the Face of God."

- John Gillespie Magee, Junior


"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

- Aristotle


"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."

- Steve Wozniak


"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

- Native American Song

Fiber Optics

"There is a single light of science and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere."

- Isaac Asimov


"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."

- Leonardo Da Vinci


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

- Arthur C. Clarke

Future Technology

"The future will be better tomorrow."

- Dan Quayle


"Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child which carries the heavy burden of genetic disease."

- Bob Edwards


"Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws."

- Douglas Adams

Mass Media

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

- Oscar Wilde


"I just want to say one word to you. Just one word: plastics."

- Calder Willingham, The Graduate


"Then one fine mornin' she puts on a New York station. You know her life was saved by Rock 'n' Roll."

- The Velvet Underground, "Rock And Roll"


"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are."

- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


"The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do."

- B.F. Skinner


"The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot eternally live in a cradle."

- Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky


"Beep... beep... beep... beep..."

- Sputnik I


"Behind a veil, unseen yet present, I was the forceful soul that moved this mighty body."

- Jean Racine


"What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

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