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Quotes: Written by the Winners

"The first casualty in war is always the truth."
Attributed to many, likely Aeschylus (perhaps he was the winner)

Eddard Stark: What you suggest is high treason.
Littlefinger: Only if we lose.

"Traitors who prevail are patriots; usurpers who succeed are divine emperors.”
-Gore Vidal, Julian

"He who controls the past, controls the future; he who controls the present, controls the past."
1984

"Half of history is hiding the truth."
Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity

Elphaba, where I'm from, we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it "history."
A man's called a traitor - or liberator
A rich man's a thief - or philanthropist
Is one a crusader - or ruthless invader?
It's all in which label
Is able to persist

There's an ancient Indian saying that something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it. My people have come to trust memory over history. Memory, like fire, is radiant and immutable while history only serves those who seek to control it, those who would douse the flame of memory in order to put out the dangerous fire of truth. Beware these men, for they are dangerous themselves ... and unwise. Their false history is written in the blood of those who might remember it and of those who seek the truth.
Albert Hosteen, The X-Files episode "The Blessing Way"

"Historians in England will say I am a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes."
Robert the Bruce, Braveheart

"Our history is nothing more than what the losers settle for!"
The Death Eaters in A Very Potter Sequel

"It is easy to rewrite history when the few who know the truth are unable to make themselves heard."
Phantom, Last Scenario

Perhaps you will be proven correct. Perhaps not. Ultimately, the claim goes to the strongest, does it not? In the final sort of things, I mean. He who remains alive, remains alive to write the histories in a light favorable to him and his cause. Surely as worldly as you are, you know well the histories of the world, Master Wingham. Surely you recognize that armies carrying banners are almost always thieves-until they win.
Jarlaxle, Road of the Patriarch by R.A. Salvatore.

And so it is true that we can manipulate our own reality. We can persuade, even deceive. We can make others view us in dishonest ways. We can hide selfishness with charity, make a craving for acceptance into magnanimity, and amplify our smile to coerce a hesitant lover. The world is illusion, and often delusion, as victors write the histories and the children who die quietly under the stamp of a triumphant army never really existed. The robber baron becomes philanthropist in the final analysis, by bequeathing only that for which he had no more use. The king who sends young men and women to die becomes beneficent with the kiss of a baby. Every problem becomes a problem of perception to those who understand that reality, in reality, is what you make reality to be.
Drizzt, Road of the Patriarch by R.A. Salvatore.

"I'm talking ideals. ...Forget it, we've both heard enough speeches about higher causes by now. History will decide who is right. End of story."
Samuel 'Jetstream' Rodrigues to Raiden before Jetstream's Boss Battle, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

"And he who controls the battlefield, controls history."

"The legends paint the Antarans as ruthless, xenophobic killers, but we all know that history is written by the victors."
Ectron Victor, Master of Orion

Commander:"You cheated. Even the knights of the North will not shake your hand."
Dunedain:"Of course they won’t, since they will be kneeling before the new King of Gondor! I beat you in an honest fight, one on one – so it shall be written in all the history books. As for you, they won’t even remember your name, I’ll make sure of that. Actually, we can make it even more interesting: let you be killed by a midget, some tiny little dwarf with hairy paws. Or by a broad… yes, that’s how we’ll do it."
Aragorn in' The Last Ringbearer

"History is a procession of victories by the strong over the weak. It is not that the weak never win, but only that, in winning, they become the strong. In winning they control the writing of history. So, they were always strong. History is strength."
Trevor Goodchild, the Herodotus File(Æon Flux)

Dakh'thoulan Aegis: History is written by the strong and influential.
Player Character: What does that mean?
Dakh'thoulan Aegis: It means we cannot always believe what we are told to believe. You would do well to remember that.

"This is for the record. History is written by the victor. History is filled with liars. If he lives and we die, his truth becomes written - and ours is lost. Shepherd will be a hero. 'Cause all you need to change the world is one good lie and a river of blood. He's about to complete the greatest trick a liar ever played on history. His truth will be the truth. But only if he lives, and we die."
Captain Price, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Chrom: That was Arvis... the villain in every Jugdrali saga I've ever heard. ...So why does he come across as so pleasant?
Robin: History decides heroes and villains on a different basis than reality. Perhaps the stories got Arvis wrong. He did lose out in the end, after all...
— Intro dialogue for Lost Bloodlines 2, Fire Emblem Awakening

“I love how the so-called ‘good’ guys get to revise events to make stuff more convenient for them.”
Skitter, Worm Colony 15.6

“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.”
African proverb

"History does not pray about the weakest." ("Dos fracos não reza a história")
Portuguese proverb

"Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
Sir John Harrington

"Of course history will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."
Winston Churchill (Newsflash: he did. Literally.)

"History would be something extraordinary, if only it were true.”

"It is not truth that matters, but victory."

"...in Samuel Eliot Morison's history of Columbus—you know, big Harvard historian—he talks about what a great man Columbus was, terrific person and so on, and then he has this little line saying, of course Columbus did set off a program of what he calls 'complete genocide', and he was a major mass-murder himself, but that was only a minor flaw, he was really a terrific seaman, this and that and the other thing."
Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power

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