François-Marie Arouet (fʁɑ̃.swa ma.ʁi aʁ.wɛ; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 Voltaire (vɔl.tɛːʁ), was a French Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 writer, historian and philosopher
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 famous for his wit
Wit is a form of intellectual humour, and a wit is someone skilled in making witty remarks. Forms of wit include the quip and repartee.-Forms of wit:...

 and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

, free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 and separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

. Voltaire was a prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poetry, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works.

C'est un poids bien pesant qu'un nom trop tôt fameux.

Quite a heavy weight, a name too quickly famous.

L'homme est libre au moment qu'il veut l'être.

Man is free at the instant he wants to be.

Les mortels sont égaux; ce n'est pas la naissance,C'est la seule vertu qui fait la différence.

All men are equal; it is not their birth,But virtue itself that makes the difference.

Les anciens Romains élevaient des prodiges d'architecture pour faire combattre des bêtes.

The ancient Romans built their greatest masterpieces of architecture for wild beasts to fight in.

Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous.

What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.

Où est l'amitié est la patrie.

Where there is friendship, there is our natural soil.

Le paradis terrestre est où je suis.

Paradise is where I am.

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur.

Love truth, but pardon error.