Charts & Graphs

Forbidden Knowledge

From the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books (1515–1966).

  • Of Monarchy by Dante Alighieri, 1599
    “The Church is the source neither of acting power nor of authority in the empire.”
  • Essays by Michel de Montaigne, 1676
    “There is no hostility that excels Christian hostility. Our zeal does wonders when it is seconding our leaning toward hatred, cruelty, ambition, avarice, detraction, rebellion.”
  • Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, 1783
    “Many a sober Christian would rather admit that a wafer is God than that God is a cruel and capricious tyrant.”
  • Zoonomia by Erasmus Darwin, 1817
    “Would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament?”
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal, 1828
    “My word, if I meet the God of the Christians, I am lost. He is a despot, and like all despots, full of ideas of vengeance.”
  • Story of My Life by Giacomo Casanova, 1834
    “I performed a great many ablutions on every part of her body, making her assume all sorts of positions, for she was perfectly docile, but as I was afraid of betraying myself, I felt more suffering than enjoyment.”
  • All works by Honoré de Balzac, 1841
    “No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman.”