It is the dead who govern.
Look you, man, how they work their will upon us!
Who have made the laws? The dead!
Who have made the customs that we obey and that form and shape our lives? The dead!
And the titles to our lands? Have not the dead devised them?
If a surveyor runs a line he begins at some corner the dead set up; and if one goes to law upon a question the judge looks backwards through his books until he finds how the dead have settled it - and he follows that.
And all the writers, when they would give weight and authority to their opinions, quote the dead; and the orators who preach and lecture are not their mouths filled with words that the dead have spoken?
Why, man, our lives follow grooves that the dead have run out with their thumbnails!
Felippe Fernandez-Armesto, Millennium, a history of our last thousand years. Bantam Press, 1995 (pagina voor de inhoudsopgave)