Henryk Sienkiewicz
Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz (ˈxɛnrɨk ˈadam alɛˈksandɛr ˈpʲus ɕɛnˈkʲevʲit̠͡ʂ; also known as "Litwos" [ˈlitfɔs]; May 5, 1846 – November 15, 1916) was a Polish journalist and Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

-winning novelist. A Polish szlachcic (noble) of the Oszyk coat of arms
Oszyk coat of arms
Oszyk - is a Polish Coat of Arms. It was used by several szlachta families in the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.-Notable bearers:Notable bearers of this Coat of Arms include:* Henryk Sienkiewicz* Józef Sienkiewicz-See also:...

, he was one of the most popular Polish writers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 in 1905 for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer."

Born into an impoverished noble family in the Podlasie village of Wola Okrzejska
Wola Okrzejska
Wola Okrzejska is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Krzywda, within Łuków County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It lies approximately south-west of Krzywda, south-west of Łuków, and north-west of the regional capital Lublin....

, in Russian-ruled Poland
Congress Poland
The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

, Sienkiewicz wrote historical novel
Historical novel
According to Encyclopædia Britannica, a historical novel is-Development:An early example of historical prose fiction is Luó Guànzhōng's 14th century Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which covers one of the most important periods of Chinese history and left a lasting impact on Chinese culture.The...

s set during the Rzeczpospolita
Rzeczpospolita is a traditional name of the Polish State, usually referred to as Rzeczpospolita Polska . It comes from the words: "rzecz" and "pospolita" , literally, a "common thing". It comes from latin word "respublica", meaning simply "republic"...

(Polish Republic, or Commonwealth).

Life deserves laughter, hence people laugh at it.

Petronius, in Ch. 2

Riches, glory, power are mere smoke, vanity! The rich man will find a richer than himself; the greater glory of another will eclipse a man who is famous; a strong man will be conquered by a stronger. But can Cæsar himself, can any god even, experience greater delight or be happier than a simple mortal at the moment when at his breast there is breathing another dear breast, or when he kisses beloved lips? Hence love makes us equal to the gods, O Lygia.

Marcus Vinicius to Lygia, in Ch. 2

Not Nero, but God, rules the world.

Lygia to Marcus Vinicius, in Ch. 2

I consider that in dialectics I am the equal of Socrates. As to women, I agree that each has three or four souls, but none of them a reasoning one.

Petronius to Marcus Vinicius, in Ch. 3

Whoso loves beauty is unable for that very reason to love deformity. One may not believe in our gods, but it is possible to love them...

Petronius, Ch. 72

No God has promised me immortality; hence no surprise meets me. At the same time thou art mistaken, Vinicius, in asserting that only thy God teaches man to die calmly. No. Our world knew, before thou wert born, that when the last cup was drained, it was time to go, — time to rest, — and it knows yet how to do that with calmness. Plato declares that virtue is music, that the life of a sage is harmony. If that be true, I shall die as I have lived, — virtuously.

Petronius, Ch. 72

A man who leaves memoirs, whether well or badly written, provided they be sincere, renders a service to future psychologists and writers, giving them not only a faithful picture, but likewise human documents that may be relied upon.

Leon Ploszowski in his first entry in his diary, "Rome, 9 January"