Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary
The Philosophical Dictionary
Selected and Translated by H.I. Woolf
New York: Knopf, 1924

Scanned by the Hanover College Department of History in 1995.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.


FRIENDSHIP is the marriage of the soul; and this marriage is subject to divorce. It is a tacit contract between two sensitive and virtuous persons. I say "sensitive," because a monk, a recluse can be not wicked and live without knowing what friendship is. I say "virtuous," because the wicked have only accomplices; voluptuaries have companions in debauch, self-seekers have partners, politicians get partisans; the generality of idle men have attachments; princes have courtiers; virtuous men alone have friends. Cethegus was the accomplice of Catilina, and Maecenas the courtier of Octavius; but Cicero was the friend of Atticus.

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