XIV.4 The cause of the immutability of religion, of behavior, manners, and laws in Oriental countries

If, to this weak­ness of organs that makes Oriental peo­ples receive the most power­ful impres­sions in the world, you add a cer­tain indo­lence of mind, natu­rally lin­ked to that of the body, which makes that mind inca­pa­ble of any act, effort, or conten­tion, you will unders­tand that the mind which has once recei­ved impres­sions can no lon­ger change them. That is why their laws, their ways,1 and their man­ners, even those that appear indif­fe­rent, such as their way of dres­sing, are today in the Orient what they were a thou­sand years ago.

We see from a fragment by Nicolas of Damascus in the compendium of Constantine Porphyrogenitus that the custom was ancient in the Orient to have a governor strangled who did not please ; it dated from the time of the Medes.