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Bourges

Our questions barely turn on geography; but let us be permitted to mark in two words our astonishment about the town of Bourges. The "Dictionnaire de Trévoux" claims that "it is one of the most ancient towns of Europe, that it was the seat of the empire of the Gauls, and gave kings to the Celts."

I do not wish to combat the ancientness of any town or any family. But was there ever an empire of the Gauls? Did the Celts have kings? This mania for antiquity is a malady from which one will not be healed so soon. The Gauls, Germany, Scandinavia have nothing that is antique save the land, the trees and the animals. If you want antiquities, go toward Asia, and even then it is very small beer. Man is ancient and monuments new, that is what we have in view in more than one article.

If it were a real benefit to be born in a stone or wooden enclosure more ancient than another, it would be very reasonable to make the foundation of one's town date back to the time of the war of the giants; but since there is not the least advantage in this vanity, one must break away from it. That is all I had to say about Bourges.


Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire