|1. Cicero, On Divination, 1.8, 1.10-1.11, 1.13, 1.17-1.22, 1.25, 1.33, 1.36, 1.106, 2.28-2.74, 2.87-2.99, 2.150 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE) Tagged with subjects: •de divinatione (cicero), overlap between cicero and marcus in Found in books: Green (2014), Carthage in Virgil's Aeneid: Staging the Enemy under Augustus, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80
| 1.8. Quibus de rebus et alias saepe et paulo accuratius nuper, cum essem cum Q. fratre in Tusculano, disputatum est. Nam cum ambulandi causa in Lyceum venissemus (id enim superiori gymnasio nomen est), Perlegi, ille inquit, tuum paulo ante tertium de natura deorum, in quo disputatio Cottae quamquam labefactavit sententiam meam, non funditus tamen sustulit. Optime vero, inquam; etenim ipse Cotta sic disputat, ut Stoicorum magis argumenta confutet quam hominum deleat religionem. Tum Quintus: Dicitur quidem istuc, inquit, a Cotta, et vero saepius, credo, ne communia iura migrare videatur; sed studio contra Stoicos disserendi deos mihi videtur funditus tollere. 1.10. Arcem tu quidem Stoicorum, inquam, Quinte, defendis, siquidem ista sic reciprocantur, ut et, si divinatio sit, di sint et, si di sint, sit divinatio. Quorum neutrum tam facile, quam tu arbitraris, conceditur. Nam et natura significari futura sine deo possunt et, ut sint di, potest fieri, ut nulla ab iis divinatio generi humano tributa sit. Atque ille: Mihi vero, inquit, satis est argumenti et esse deos et eos consulere rebus humanis, quod esse clara et perspicua divinationis genera iudico. De quibus quid ipse sentiam, si placet, exponam, ita tamen, si vacas animo neque habes aliquid, quod huic sermoni praevertendum putes. 1.11. Ego vero, inquam, philosophiae, Quinte, semper vaco; hoc autem tempore, cum sit nihil aliud, quod lubenter agere possim, multo magis aveo audire, de divinatione quid sentias. Nihil, inquit, equidem novi, nec quod praeter ceteros ipse sentiam; nam cum antiquissimam sententiam, tum omnium populorum et gentium consensu conprobatam sequor. Duo sunt enim dividi genera, quorum alterum artis est, alterum naturae. 1.13. Mirari licet, quae sint animadversa a medicis herbarum genera, quae radicum ad morsus bestiarum, ad oculorum morbos, ad vulnera, quorum vim atque naturam ratio numquam explicavit, utilitate et ars est et inventor probatus. Age ea, quae quamquam ex alio genere sunt, tamen divinationi sunt similiora, videamus: Atque etiam ventos praemonstrat saepe futuros Inflatum mare, cum subito penitusque tumescit, Saxaque cana salis niveo spumata liquore Tristificas certant Neptuno reddere voces, Aut densus stridor cum celso e vertice montis Ortus adaugescit scopulorum saepe repulsus. Atque his rerum praesensionibus Prognostica tua referta sunt. Quis igitur elicere causas praesensionum potest? etsi video Boe+thum Stoicum esse conatum, qui hactenus aliquid egit, ut earum rationem rerum explicaret, quae in mari caelove fierent. 1.17. Sed quo potius utar aut auctore aut teste quam te? cuius edidici etiam versus, et lubenter quidem, quos in secundo de consulatu Urania Musa pronuntiat: Principio aetherio flammatus Iuppiter igni Vertitur et totum conlustrat lumine mundum Menteque divina caelum terrasque petessit, Quae penitus sensus hominum vitasque retentat Aetheris aeterni saepta atque inclusa cavernis. Et, si stellarum motus cursusque vagantis Nosse velis, quae sint signorum in sede locatae, Quae verbo et falsis Graiorum vocibus erant, Re vera certo lapsu spatioque feruntur, Omnia iam cernes divina mente notata. 1.18. Nam primum astrorum volucris te consule motus Concursusque gravis stellarum ardore micantis Tu quoque, cum tumulos Albano in monte nivalis Lustrasti et laeto mactasti lacte Latinas, Vidisti et claro tremulos ardore cometas, Multaque misceri nocturna strage putasti, Quod ferme dirum in tempus cecidere Latinae, Cum claram speciem concreto lumine luna Abdidit et subito stellanti nocte perempta est. Quid vero Phoebi fax, tristis nuntia belli, Quae magnum ad columen flammato ardore volabat, Praecipitis caeli partis obitusque petessens? Aut cum terribili perculsus fulmine civis Luce sereti vitalia lumina liquit? Aut cum se gravido tremefecit corpore tellus? Iam vero variae nocturno tempore visae Terribiles formae bellum motusque monebant, Multaque per terras vates oracla furenti Pectore fundebant tristis minitantia casus, 1.19. Atque ea, quae lapsu tandem cecidere vetusto, Haec fore perpetuis signis clarisque frequentans Ipse deum genitor caelo terrisque canebat. Nunc ea, Torquato quae quondam et consule Cotta Lydius ediderat Tyrrhenae gentis haruspex, Omnia fixa tuus glomerans determinat annus. Nam pater altitos stellanti nixus Olympo Ipse suos quondam tumulos ac templa petivit Et Capitolinis iniecit sedibus ignis. Tum species ex aere vetus venerataque Nattae Concidit, elapsaeque vetusto numine leges, Et divom simulacra peremit fulminis ardor. 1.20. Hic silvestris erat Romani nominis altrix, Martia, quae parvos Mavortis semine natos Uberibus gravidis vitali rore rigabat; Quae tum cum pueris flammato fulminis ictu Concidit atque avolsa pedum vestigia liquit. Tum quis non artis scripta ac monumenta volutans Voces tristificas chartis promebat Etruscis? Omnes civilem generosa a stirpe profectam Vitare ingentem cladem pestemque monebant Vel legum exitium constanti voce ferebant Templa deumque adeo flammis urbemque iubebant Eripere et stragem horribilem caedemque vereri; Atque haec fixa gravi fato ac fundata teneri, Ni prius excelsum ad columen formata decore Sancta Iovis species claros spectaret in ortus. Tum fore ut occultos populus sanctusque senatus Cernere conatus posset, si solis ad ortum Conversa inde patrum sedes populique videret. 1.21. Haec tardata diu species multumque morata Consule te tandem celsa est in sede locata, Atque una fixi ac signati temporis hora Iuppiter excelsa clarabat sceptra columna, Et clades patriae flamma ferroque parata Vocibus Allobrogum patribus populoque patebat. Rite igitur veteres, quorum monumenta tenetis, Qui populos urbisque modo ac virtute regebant, Rite etiam vestri, quorum pietasque fidesque Praestitit et longe vicit sapientia cunctos, Praecipue coluere vigenti numine divos. Haec adeo penitus cura videre sagaci, Otia qui studiis laeti tenuere decoris, 1.22. Inque Academia umbrifera nitidoque Lyceo Fuderunt claras fecundi pectoris artis. E quibus ereptum primo iam a flore iuventae Te patria in media virtutum mole locavit. Tu tamen anxiferas curas requiete relaxans, Quod patriae vacat, id studiis nobisque sacrasti. Tu igitur animum poteris inducere contra ea, quae a me disputantur de divinatione, dicere, qui et gesseris ea, quae gessisti, et ea, quae pronuntiavi, accuratissume scripseris? 1.25. Ea fallit fortasse non numquam, sed tamen ad veritatem saepissime derigit; est enim ab omni aeternitate repetita, in qua cum paene innumerabiliter res eodem modo evenirent isdem signis antegressis, ars est effecta eadem saepe animadvertendo ac notando. Auspicia vero vestra quam constant! quae quidem nunc a Romanis auguribus ignorantur (bona hoc tua venia dixerim), a Cilicibus, Pamphyliis, Pisidis, Lyciis tenentur. 1.33. Cotem autem illam et novaculam defossam in comitio supraque inpositum puteal accepimus. Negemus omnia, comburamus annales, ficta haec esse dicamus, quidvis denique potius quam deos res humanas curare fateamur; quid? quod scriptum apud te est de Ti. Graccho, nonne et augurum et haruspicum conprobat disciplinam? qui cum tabernaculum vitio cepisset inprudens, quod inauspicato pomerium transgressus esset, comitia consulibus rogandis habuit. Nota res est et a te ipso mandata monumentis. Sed et ipse augur Ti. Gracchus auspiciorum auctoritatem confessione errati sui conprobavit, et haruspicum disciplinae magna accessit auctoritas, qui recentibus comitiis in senatum introducti negaverunt iustum comitiorum rogatorem fuisse. 1.36. Quid? qui inridetur, partus hic mulae nonne, quia fetus extitit in sterilitate naturae, praedictus est ab haruspicibus incredibilis partus malorum? Quid? Ti. Gracchus P. F., qui bis consul et censor fuit, idemque et summus augur et vir sapiens civisque praestans, nonne, ut C. Gracchus, filius eius, scriptum reliquit, duobus anguibus domi conprehensis haruspices convocavit? qui cum respondissent, si marem emisisset, uxori brevi tempore esse moriendum, si feminam, ipsi, aequius esse censuit se maturam oppetere mortem quam P. Africani filiam adulescentem; feminam emisit, ipse paucis post diebus est mortuus. Inrideamus haruspices, vanos, futtiles esse dicamus, quorumque disciplinam et sapientissimus vir et eventus ac res conprobavit, contemnamus, condemnemus etiam Babylonem et eos, qui e Caucaso caeli signa servantes numeris et modis stellarum cursus persequuntur, condemnemus, inquam, hos aut stultitiae aut vanitatis aut inpudentiae, qui quadringenta septuaginta milia annorum, ut ipsi dicunt, monumentis conprehensa continent, et mentiri iudicemus nec, saeculorum reliquorum iudicium quod de ipsis futurum sit, pertimescere. 1.106. Quid est illo auspicio divinius, quod apud te in Mario est? ut utar potissumum auctore te: Hic Iovis altisoni subito pinnata satelles Arboris e trunco serpentis saucia morsu Subrigit ipsa feris transfigens unguibus anguem Semianimum et varia graviter cervice micantem Quem se intorquentem lanians rostroque cruentans Iam satiata animos, iam duros ulta dolores Abicit ecflantem et laceratum adfligit in unda Seque obitu a solis nitidos convertit ad ortus. Hanc ubi praepetibus pinnis lapsuque volantem Conspexit Marius, divini numinis augur, Faustaque signa suae laudis reditusque notavit, Partibus intonuit caeli pater ipse sinistris. Sic aquilae clarum firmavit Iuppiter omen. 2.28. Ut ordiar ab haruspicina, quam ego rei publicae causa communisque religionis colendam censeo. Sed soli sumus; licet verum exquirere sine invidia, mihi praesertim de plerisque dubitanti. Inspiciamus, si placet, exta primum. Persuaderi igitur cuiquam potest ea, quae significari dicuntur extis, cognita esse ab haruspicibus observatione diuturna? Quam diuturna ista fuit? aut quam longinquo tempore observari potuit? aut quo modo est conlatum inter ipsos, quae pars inimica, quae pars familiaris esset, quod fissum periculum, quod commodum aliquod ostenderet? An haec inter se haruspices Etrusci, Elii, Aegyptii, Poeni contulerunt? At id, praeterquam quod fieri non potuit, ne fingi quidem potest; alios enim alio more videmus exta interpretari, nec esse unam omnium disciplinam. 2.29. Et certe, si est in extis aliqua vis, quae declaret futura, necesse est eam aut cum rerum natura esse coniunctam aut conformari quodam modo numine deorum vique divina. Cum rerum natura tanta tamque praeclara in omnes partes motusque diffusa quid habere potest commune non dicam gallinaceum fel (sunt enim, qui vel argutissima haec exta esse dicant), sed tauri opimi iecur aut cor aut pulmo quid habet naturale, quod declarare possit, quid futurum sit? 2.30. Democritus tamen non inscite nugatur, ut physicus, quo genere nihil adrogantius: Quód est ante pedes, némo spectat, caéli scrutantúr plagas. Verum is tamen habitu extorum et colore declarari censet haec dumtaxat: pabuli genus et earum rerum, quas terra procreet, vel ubertatem vel tenuitatem; salubritatem etiam aut pestilentiam extis significari putat. O mortalem beatum! cui certo scio ludum numquam defuisse; huncine hominem tantis delectatum esse nugis, ut non videret tum futurum id veri simile, si omnium pecudum exta eodem tempore in eundem habitum se coloremque converterent? Sed si eadem hora aliae pecudis iecur nitidum atque plenum est, aliae horridum et exile, quid est, quod declarari possit habitu extorum et colore? 2.31. an hoc eiusdem modi est, quale Pherecydeum illud, quod est a te dictum? qui cum aquam ex puteo vidisset haustam, terrae motum dixit futurum. Parum, credo, inpudenter, quod, cum factus est motus, dicere audent, quae vis id effecerit; etiamne futurum esse aquae iugis colore praesentiunt? Multa istius modi dicuntur in scholis, sed credere omnia vide ne non sit necesse. 2.32. Verum sint sane ista Democritea vera; quando ea nos extis exquirimus? aut quando aliquid eius modi ab haruspice inspectis extis audivimus? Ab aqua aut ab igni pericula monent; tum hereditates, tum damna denuntiant; fissum familiare et vitale tractant; caput iecoris ex omni parte diligentissime considerant; si vero id non est inventum, nihil putant accidere potuisse tristius. 2.33. Haec observari certe non potuerunt, ut supra docui. Sunt igitur artis inventa, non vetustatis, si est ars ulla rerum incognitarum; cum rerum autem natura quam cognationem habent? quae ut uno consensu iuncta sit et continens, quod video placuisse physicis, eisque maxume, qui omne, quod esset, unum esse dixerunt, quid habere mundus potest cum thesauri inventione coniunctum? Si enim extis pecuniae mihi amplificatio ostenditur idque fit natura, primum exta sunt coniuncta mundo, deinde meum lucrum natura rerum continetur. Nonne pudet physicos haec dicere? Ut enim iam sit aliqua in natura rerum contagio, quam esse concedo (multa enim Stoici colligunt; nam et musculorum iecuscula bruma dicuntur augeri, et puleium aridum florescere brumali ipso die, et inflatas rumpi vesiculas, et semina malorum, quae in iis mediis inclusa sint, in contrarias partis se vertere, iam nervos in fidibus aliis pulsis resonare alios, ostreisque et conchyliis omnibus contingere, ut cum luna pariter crescant pariterque decrescant, arboresque ut hiemali tempore cum luna simul senescente, quia tum exsiccatae sint, tempestive caedi putentur. 2.34. Quid de fretis aut de marinis aestibus plura dicam? quorum accessus et recessus lunae motu gubertur. Sescenta licet eiusdem modi proferri, ut distantium rerum cognatio naturalis appareat)—demus hoc; nihil enim huic disputationi adversatur; num etiam, si fissum cuiusdam modi fuerit in iecore, lucrum ostenditur? qua ex coniunctione naturae et quasi concentu atque consensu, quam sumpa/qeian Graeci appellant, convenire potest aut fissum iecoris cum lucello meo aut meus quaesticulus cum caelo, terra rerumque natura? Concedam hoc ipsum, si vis, etsi magnam iacturam causae fecero, si ullam esse convenientiam naturae cum extis concessero; 2.35. sed tamen eo concesso qui evenit, ut is, qui impetrire velit, convenientem hostiam rebus suis immolet? Hoc erat, quod ego non rebar posse dissolvi. At quam festive dissolvitur! pudet me non tui quidem, cuius etiam memoriam admiror, sed Chrysippi, Antipatri, Posidonii, qui idem istuc quidem dicunt, quod est dictum a te, ad hostiam deligendam ducem esse vim quandam sentientem atque divinam, quae toto confusa mundo sit. Illud vero multo etiam melius, quod et a te usurpatum est et dicitur ab illis: cum immolare quispiam velit, tum fieri extorum mutationem, ut aut absit aliquid aut supersit; 2.36. deorum enim numini parere omnia. Haec iam, mihi crede, ne aniculae quidem existimant. An censes, eundem vitulum si alius delegerit, sine capite iecur inventurum; si alius, cum capite? Haec decessio capitis aut accessio subitone fieri potest, ut se exta ad immolatoris fortunam accommodent? non perspicitis aleam quandam esse in hostiis deligendis, praesertim cum res ipsa doceat? Cum enim tristissuma exta sine capite fuerunt, quibus nihil videtur esse dirius, proxuma hostia litatur saepe pulcherrime. Ubi igitur illae minae superiorum extorum? aut quae tam subito facta est deorum tanta placatio? Sed adfers in tauri opimi extis immolante Caesare cor non fuisse; id quia non potuerit accidere, ut sine corde victuma illa viveret, iudicandum esse tum interisse cor, cum immolaretur. 2.37. Qui fit, ut alterum intellegas, sine corde non potuisse bovem vivere, alterum non videas, cor subito non potuisse nescio quo avolare? Ego enim possum vel nescire, quae vis sit cordis ad vivendum, vel suspicari contractum aliquo morbo bovis exile et exiguum et vietum cor et dissimile cordis fuisse; tu vero quid habes, quare putes, si paulo ante cor fuerit in tauro opimo, subito id in ipsa immolatione interisse? an quod aspexit vestitu purpureo excordem Caesarem, ipse corde privatus est? Urbem philosophiae, mihi crede, proditis, dum castella defenditis; nam, dum haruspicinam veram esse vultis, physiologiam totam pervertitis. Caput est in iecore, cor in extis; iam abscedet, simul ac molam et vinum insperseris; deus id eripiet, vis aliqua conficiet aut exedet. Non ergo omnium ortus atque obitus natura conficiet, et erit aliquid, quod aut ex nihilo oriatur aut in nihilum subito occidat. Quis hoc physicus dixit umquam? haruspices dicunt; his igitur quam physicis credendum potius existumas? 2.38. Quid? cum pluribus deis immolatur, qui tandem evenit, ut litetur aliis, aliis non litetur? quae autem inconstantia deorum est, ut primis minentur extis, bene promittant secundis? aut tanta inter eos dissensio, saepe etiam inter proxumos, ut Apollinis exta bona sint, Dianae non bona? Quid est tam perspicuum quam, cum fortuito hostiae adducantur, talia cuique exta esse, qualis cuique obtigerit hostia? At enim id ipsum habet aliquid divini, quae cuique hostia obtingat, tamquam in sortibus, quae cui ducatur. Mox de sortibus; quamquam tu quidem non hostiarum causam confirmas sortium similitudine, sed infirmas sortis conlatione hostiarum. 2.39. An, cum in Aequimaelium misimus, qui adferat agnum, quem immolemus, is mihi agnus adfertur, qui habet exta rebus accommodata, et ad eum agnum non casu, sed duce deo servus deducitur? Nam si casum in eo quoque dicis esse quasi sortem quandam cum deorum voluntate coniunctam, doleo tantam Stoicos nostros Epicureis inridendi sui facultatem dedisse; non enim ignoras, quam ista derideant. 2.40. Et quidem illi facilius facere possunt; deos enim ipsos iocandi causa induxit Epicurus perlucidos et perflabilis et habitantis tamquam inter duos lucos sic inter duos mundos propter metum ruinarum, eosque habere putat eadem membra, quae nos, nec usum ullum habere membrorum. Ergo hic circumitione quadam deos tollens recte non dubitat divinationem tollere; sed non, ut hic sibi constat, item Stoici. Illius enim deus nihil habens nec sui nec alieni negotii non potest hominibus divinationem inpertire; vester autem deus potest non inpertire, ut nihilo minus mundum regat et hominibus consulat. 2.41. Cur igitur vos induitis in eas captiones, quas numquam explicetis? Ita enim, cum magis properant, concludere solent: Si di sunt, est divinatio; sunt autem di; est ergo divinatio. Multo est probabilius: non est autem divinatio; non sunt ergo di. Vide, quam temere committant, ut, si nulla sit divinatio, nulli sint di. Divinatio enim perspicue tollitur, deos esse retinendum est. 2.42. Atque hac extispicum divinatione sublata omnis haruspicina sublata est. Ostenta enim sequuntur et fulgura. Valet autem in fulguribus observatio diuturna, in ostentis ratio plerumque coniecturaque adhibetur. Quid est igitur, quod observatum sit in fulgure? Caelum in sedecim partis diviserunt Etrusci. Facile id quidem fuit, quattuor, quas nos habemus, duplicare, post idem iterum facere, ut ex eo dicerent, fulmen qua ex parte venisset. Primum id quid interest? deinde quid significat? Nonne perspicuum est ex prima admiratione hominum, quod tonitrua iactusque fulminum extimuissent, credidisse ea efficere rerum omnium praepotentem Iovem? Itaque in nostris commentariis scriptum habemus: Iove tote, fulgurante comitia populi habere nefas. 2.43. Hoc fortasse rei publicae causa constitutum est; comitiorum enim non habendorum causas esse voluerunt. Itaque comitiorum solum vitium est fulmen, quod idem omnibus rebus optumum auspicium habemus, si sinistrum fuit. Sed de auspiciis alio loco, nunc de fulgoribus. Quid igitur minus a physicis dici debet quam quicquam certi significari rebus incertis? Non enim te puto esse eum, qui Iovi fulmen fabricatos esse Cyclopas in Aetna putes; 2.44. nam esset mirabile, quo modo id Iuppiter totiens iaceret, cum unum haberet; nec vero fulminibus homines, quid aut faciendum esset aut cavendum, moneret. Placet enim Stoicis eos anhelitus terrae, qui frigidi sint, cum fluere coeperint, ventos esse; cum autem se in nubem induerint eiusque tenuissimam quamque partem coeperint dividere atque disrumpere idque crebrius facere et vehementius, tum et fulgores et tonitrua existere; si autem nubium conflictu ardor expressus se emiserit, id esse fulmen. Quod igitur vi naturae, nulla constantia, nullo rato tempore videmus effici, ex eo significationem rerum consequentium quaerimus? Scilicet, si ista Iuppiter significaret, tam multa frustra fulmina emitteret! Quid enim proficit, cum in medium mare fulmen iecit? 2.45. quid, cum in altissimos montis, quod plerumque fit? quid, cum in desertas solitudines? quid, cum in earum gentium oras, in quibus haec ne observantur quidem? At inventum est caput in Tiberi. Quasi ego artem aliquam istorum esse negem! divinationem nego. Caeli enim distributio, quam ante dixi, et certarum rerum notatio docet, unde fulmen venerit, quo concesserit; quid significet autem, nulla ratio docet. Sed urges me meis versibus: Nam pater altitos stellanti nixus Olympo Ipse suos quondam tumulos ac templa petivit Et Capitolinis iniecit sedibus ignis. Tum statua Nattae, tum simulacra deorum Romulusque et Remus cum altrice belua vi fulminis icti conciderunt, deque his rebus haruspicum extiterunt responsa verissuma. 2.46. Mirabile autem illud, quod eo ipso tempore, quo fieret indicium coniurationis in senatu, signum Iovis biennio post, quam erat locatum, in Capitolio conlocabatur.—Tu igitur animum induces (sic enim mecum agebas) causam istam et contra facta tua et contra scripta defendere?—Frater es; eo vereor. Verum quid tibi hic tandem nocet? resne, quae talis est, an ego, qui verum explicari volo? Itaque nihil contra dico, a te rationem totius haruspicinae peto. Sed te mirificam in latebram coniecisti; quod enim intellegeres fore ut premerere, cum ex te causas unius cuiusque divinationis exquirerem, multa verba fecisti te, cum res videres, rationem causamque non quaerere; quid fieret, non cur fieret, ad rem pertinere. Quasi ego aut fieri concederem aut esset philosophi causam, 2.47. cur quidque fieret, non quaerere! Et eo quidem loco et Prognostica nostra pronuntiabas et genera herbarum, scammoniam aristolochiamque radicem, quarum causam ignorares, vim et effectum videres. Dissimile totum; nam et prognosticorum causas persecuti sunt et Boëthus Stoicus, qui est a te nominatus, et noster etiam Posidonius, et, si causae non reperiantur istarum rerum, res tamen ipsae observari animadvertique potuerunt. Nattae vero statua aut aera legum de caelo tacta quid habent observatum ac vetustum? Pinarii Nattae nobiles; a nobilitate igitur periculum. Hoc tam callide Iuppiter ex cogitavit! Romulus lactens fulmine ictus; urbi igitur periculum ostenditur, ei quam ille condidit. Quam scite per notas nos certiores facit Iuppiter! At eodem tempore signum Iovis conlocabatur, quo coniuratio indicabatur. Et tu scilicet mavis numine deorum id factum quam casu arbitrari, et redemptor, qui columnam illam de Cotta et de Torquato conduxerat faciendam, non inertia aut inopia tardior fuit, sed a deis inmortalibus ad istam horam reservatus est. 2.48. Non equidem plane despero ista esse vera, sed nescio et discere a te volo. Nam cum mihi quaedam casu viderentur sic evenire, ut praedicta essent a divitibus, dixisti multa de casu, ut Venerium iaci posse casu quattuor talis iactis, sed quadringentis centum Venerios non posse casu consistere. Primum nescio, cur non possint, sed non pugno; abundas enim similibus. Habes et respersionem pigmentorum et rostrum suis et alia permulta. Idem Carneadem fingere dicis de capite Panisci; quasi non potuerit id evenire casu et non in omni marmore necesse sit inesse vel Praxitelia capita! Illa enim ipsa efficiuntur detractione, neque quicquam illuc adfertur a Praxitele; sed cum multa sunt detracta et ad liniamenta oris perventum est, tum intellegas illud, quod iam expolitum sit, intus fuisse. 2.49. Potest igitur tale aliquid etiam sua sponte in lapicidinis Chiorum extitisse. Sed sit hoc fictum; quid? in nubibus numquam animadvertisti leonis formam aut hippocentauri? Potest igitur, quod modo negabas, veritatem casus imitari. Sed quoniam de extis et de fulgoribus satis est disputatum, ostenta restant, ut tota haruspicina sit pertractata. Mulae partus prolatus est a te. Res mirabilis, propterea quia non saepe fit; sed si fieri non potuisset, facta non esset. Atque hoc contra omnia ostenta valeat, numquam, quod fieri non potuerit, esse factum; sin potuerit, non esse mirandum. Causarum enim ignoratio in re nova mirationem facit; eadem ignoratio si in rebus usitatis est, non miramur. Nam qui mulam peperisse miratur, is, quo modo equa pariat, aut omnino quae natura partum animantis faciat, ignorat. Sed quod crebro videt, non miratur, etiamsi, cur fiat, nescit; quod ante non vidit, id si evenit, ostentum esse censet. Utrum igitur cum concepit mula an cum peperit, ostentum est? 2.50. conceptio contra naturam fortasse, sed partus prope necessarius. Sed quid plura? ortum videamus haruspicinae; sic facillume, quid habeat auctoritatis, iudicabimus. Tages quidam dicitur in agro Tarquiniensi, cum terra araretur et sulcus altius esset impressus, extitisse repente et eum adfatus esse, qui arabat. Is autem Tages, ut in libris est Etruscorum, puerili specie dicitur visus, sed senili fuisse prudentia. Eius adspectu cum obstipuisset bubulcus clamoremque maiorem cum admiratione edidisset, concursum esse factum, totamque brevi tempore in eum locum Etruriam convenisse; tum illum plura locutum multis audientibus, qui omnia verba eius exceperint litterisque mandarint; omnem autem orationem fuisse eam, qua haruspicinae disciplina contineretur; eam postea crevisse rebus novis cognoscendis et ad eadem illa principia referendis. Haec accepimus ab ipsis, haec scripta conservant, hunc fontem habent disciplinae. 2.51. Num ergo opus est ad haec refellenda Carneade? num Epicuro? estne quisquam ita desipiens, qui credat exaratum esse, deum dicam an hominem? Si deum, cur se contra naturam in terram abdiderat, ut patefactus aratro lucem aspiceret? quid? idem nonne poterat deus hominibus disciplinam superiore e loco tradere? Si autem homo ille Tages fuit, quonam modo potuit terra oppressus vivere? unde porro illa potuit, quae docebat alios, ipse didicisse? Sed ego insipientior quam illi ipsi, qui ista credunt, qui quidem contra eos tam diu disputem. Vetus autem illud Catonis admodum scitum est, qui mirari se aiebat, quod non rideret haruspex, haruspicem cum vidisset. 2.52. Quota enim quaeque res evenit praedicta ab istis? aut, si evenit quippiam, quid adferri potest, cur non casu id evenerit? Rex Prusias, cum Hannibali apud eum exsulanti depugnari placeret, negabat se audere, quod exta prohiberent. Ain tu? inquit, carunculae vitulinae mavis quam imperatori veteri credere? Quid? ipse Caesar cum a summo haruspice moneretur, ne in Africam ante brumam transmitteret, nonne transmisit? quod ni fecisset, uno in loco omnes adversariorum copiae convenissent. Quid ego haruspicum responsa commemorem (possum equidem innumerabilia), quae aut nullos habuerint exitus aut contrarios? 2.53. Hoc civili bello, di inmortales! quam multa luserunt! quae nobis in Graeciam Roma responsa haruspicum missa sunt! quae dicta Pompeio! etenim ille admodum extis et ostentis movebatur. Non lubet commemorare, nec vero necesse est, tibi praesertim, qui interfuisti; vides tamen omnia fere contra, ac dicta sint, evenisse. Sed haec hactenus; nunc ad ostenta veniamus. 2.54. Multa me consule a me ipso scripta recitasti, multa ante Marsicum bellum a Sisenna collecta attulisti, multa ante Lacedaemoniorum malam pugnam in Leuctricis a Callisthene commemorata dixisti; de quibus dicam equidem singulis, quoad videbitur; sed dicendum etiam est de universis. Quae est enim ista a deis profecta significatio et quasi denuntiatio calamitatum? quid autem volunt di inmortales primum ea significantes, quae sine interpretibus non possimus intellegere, deinde ea, quae cavere nequeamus? At hoc ne homines quidem probi faciunt, ut amicis inpendentis calamitates praedicant, quas illi effugere nullo modo possint, ut medici, quamquam intellegunt saepe, tamen numquam aegris dicunt illo morbo eos esse morituros; omnis enim praedictio mali tum probatur, cum ad praedictionem cautio adiungitur. 2.55. Quid igitur aut ostenta aut eorum interpretes vel Lacedaemonios olim vel nuper nostros adiuverunt? quae si signa deorum putanda sunt, cur tam obscura fuerunt? si enim, ut intellegeremus, quid esset eventurum, aperte declarari oportebat, aut ne occulte quidem, si ea sciri nolebant. Iam vero coniectura omnis, in qua nititur divinatio, ingeniis hominum in multas aut diversas aut etiam contrarias partis saepe diducitur. Ut enim in causis iudicialibus alia coniectura est accusatoris, alia defensoris et tamen utriusque credibilis, sic in omnibus iis rebus, quae coniectura investigari videntur, anceps reperitur oratio. Quas autem res tum natura, tum casus adfert, non numquam etiam errorem creat similitudo, magna stultitia est earum rerum deos facere effectores, causas rerum non quaerere. 2.56. Tu vates Boeotios credis Lebadiae vidisse ex gallorum gallinaceorum cantu victoriam esse Thebanorum, quia galli victi silere solerent, canere victores. Hoc igitur per gallinas Iuppiter tantae civitati signum dabat? An illae aves, nisi cum vicerunt, canere non solent? At tum canebant nec vicerant. Id enim est, inquies, ostentum. Magnum vero! quasi pisces, non galli cecinerint! Quod autem est tempus, quo illi non cantent, vel nocturnum vel diurnum? Quodsi victores alacritate et quasi laetitia ad canendum excitantur, potuit accidisse alia quoque laetitia, qua ad cantum moverentur. 2.57. Democritus quidem optumis verbis causam explicat, cur ante lucem galli cat; depulso enim de pectore et in omne corpus diviso et mitificato cibo cantus edere quiete satiatos; qui quidem silentio noctis, ut ait Ennius, favent faucíbus russis Cantú plausuque premúnt alas. Cum igitur hoc animal tam sit canorum sua sponte, quid in mentem venit Callistheni dicere deos gallis signum dedisse cantandi, cum id vel natura vel casus efficere potuisset? 2.58. Sanguine pluisse senatui nuntiatum est, Atratum etiam fluvium fluxisse sanguine, deorum sudasse simulacra. Num censes his nuntiis Thalen aut Anaxagoran aut quemquam physicum crediturum fuisse? nec enim sanguis nec sudor nisi e corpore. Sed et decoloratio quaedam ex aliqua contagione terrena maxume potest sanguini similis esse, et umor adlapsus extrinsecus, ut in tectoriis videmus austro, sudorem videtur imitari. Atque haec in bello plura et maiora videntur timentibus, eadem non tam animadvertuntur in pace; accedit illud etiam, quod in metu et periculo cum creduntur facilius, tum finguntur inpunius. 2.59. Nos autem ita leves atque inconsiderati sumus, ut, si mures corroserint aliquid, quorum est opus hoc unum, monstrum putemus? Ante vero Marsicum bellum quod clipeos Lanuvii, ut a te dictum est, mures rosissent, maxumum id portentum haruspices esse dixerunt; quasi vero quicquam intersit, mures diem noctem aliquid rodentes scuta an cribra corroserint! Nam si ista sequimur, quod Platonis Politian nuper apud me mures corroserunt, de re publica debui pertimescere, aut, si Epicuri de voluptate liber rosus esset, putarem annonam in macello cariorem fore. 2.60. An vero illa nos terrent, si quando aliqua portentosa aut ex pecude aut ex homine nata dicuntur? quorum omnium, ne sim longior, una ratio est. Quicquid enim oritur, qualecumque est, causam habeat a natura necesse est, ut, etiamsi praeter consuetudinem extiterit, praeter naturam tamen non possit existere. Causam igitur investigato in re nova atque admirabili, si poteris; si nullam reperies, illud tamen exploratum habeto, nihil fieri potuisse sine causa, eumque terrorem, quem tibi rei novitas attulerit, naturae ratione depellito. Ita te nec terrae fremitus nec caeli discessus nec lapideus aut sanguineus imber nec traiectio stellae nec faces visae terrebunt. 2.61. Quorum omnium causas si a Chrysippo quaeram, ipse ille divinationis auctor numquam illa dicet facta fortuito naturalemque rationem omnium reddet; nihil enim fieri sine causa potest; nec quicquam fit, quod fieri non potest; nec, si id factum est, quod potuit fieri, portentum debet videri; nulla igitur portenta sunt. Nam si, quod raro fit, id portentum putandum est, sapientem esse portentum est; saepius enim mulam peperisse arbitror quam sapientem fuisse. Illa igitur ratio concluditur: nec id, quod non potuerit fieri, factum umquam esse, nec, quod potuerit, id portentum esse; 2.62. ita omnino nullum esse portentum. Quod etiam coniector quidam et interpres portentorum non inscite respondisse dicitur ei, qui quondam ad eum rettulisset quasi ostentum, quod anguis domi vectem circumiectus fuisset: Tum esset, inquit, ostentum, si anguem vectis circumplicavisset. Hoc ille responso satis aperte declaravit nihil habendum esse, quod fieri posset, ostentum. C. Gracchus ad M. Pomponium scripsit duobus anguibus domi conprehensis haruspices a patre convocatos. Qui magis anguibus quam lacertis, quam muribus? Quia sunt haec cotidiana, angues non item; quasi vero referat, quod fieri potest, quam id saepe fiat. Ego tamen miror, si emissio feminae anguis mortem adferebat Ti. Graccho, emissio autem maris anguis erat mortifera Corneliae, cur alteram utram emiserit; nihil enim scribit respondisse haruspices, si neuter anguis emissus esset, quid esset futurum. At mors insecuta Gracchum est. Causa quidem, credo, aliqua morbi gravioris, non emissione serpentis; neque enim tanta est infelicitas haruspicum, ut ne casu quidem umquam fiat, quod futurum illi esse dixerint. 2.63. Nam illud mirarer, si crederem, quod apud Homerum Calchantem dixisti ex passerum numero belli Troiani annos auguratum; de cuius coniectura sic apud Homerum, ut nos otiosi convertimus, loquitur Agamemnon: Ferte, viri, et duros animo tolerate labores, Auguris ut nostri Calchantis fata queamus Scire ratosne habeant an vanos pectoris orsus. Namque omnes memori portentum mente retentant, Qui non funestis liquerunt lumina fatis. Argolicis primum ut vestita est classibus Aulis, Quae Priamo cladem et Troiae pestemque ferebant, Nos circum latices gelidos fumantibus aris Aurigeris divom placantes numina tauris Sub platano umbrifera, fons unde emanat aquai+, Vidimus inmani specie tortuque draconem Terribilem, Iovis ut pulsu penetraret ab ara; Qui platani in ramo foliorum tegmine saeptos Corripuit pullos; quos cum consumeret octo, Nona super tremulo genetrix clangore volabat; Cui ferus inmani laniavit viscera morsu. 2.64. Hunc, ubi tam teneros volucris matremque peremit, Qui luci ediderat, genitor Saturnius idem Abdidit et duro formavit tegmine saxi. Nos autem timidi stantes mirabile monstrum Vidimus in mediis divom versarier aris. Tum Calchas haec est fidenti voce locutus: Quidnam torpentes subito obstipuistis, Achivi? Nobis haec portenta deum dedit ipse creator Tarda et sera nimis, sed fama ac laude perenni. Nam quot avis taetro mactatas dente videtis, Tot nos ad Troiam belli exanclabimus annos; Quae decumo cadet et poena satiabit Achivos. Edidit haec Calchas; quae iam matura videtis. Quae tandem ista auguratio est ex passeribus annorum potius quam aut mensuum aut dierum? 2.65. Cur autem de passerculis coniecturam facit, in quibus nullum erat monstrum, de dracone silet, qui, id quod fieri non potuit, lapideus dicitur factus? postremo quid simile habet passer annis? Nam de angue illo, qui Sullae apparuit immolanti, utrumque memini, et Sullam, cum in expeditionem educturus esset, immolavisse, et anguem ab ara extitisse, eoque die rem praeclare esse gestam non haruspicis consilio, sed imperatoris. 2.66. Atque haec ostentorum genera mirabile nihil habent; quae cum facta sunt, tum ad coniecturam aliqua interpretatione revocantur, ut illa tritici grana in os pueri Midae congesta aut apes, quas dixisti in labris Platonis consedisse pueri, non tam mirabilia sint quam coniecta belle; quae tamen vel ipsa falsa esse vel ea, quae praedicta sunt, fortuito cecidisse potuerunt. De ipso Roscio potest illud quidem esse falsum, ut circumligatus fuerit angui, sed ut in cunis fuerit anguis, non tam est mirum, in Solonio praesertim, ubi ad focum angues nundinari solent. Nam quod haruspices responderint nihil illo clarius, nihil nobilius fore, miror deos immortales histrioni futuro claritatem ostendisse, nullam ostendisse Africano. 2.67. Atque etiam a te Flaminiana ostenta collecta sunt: quod ipse et equus eius repente conciderit; non sane mirabile hoc quidem! quod evelli primi hastati signum non potuerit; timide fortasse signifer evellebat, quod fidenter infixerat. Nam Dionysii equus quid attulit admirationis, quod emersit e flumine quodque habuit apes in iuba? Sed quia brevi tempore regnare coepit, quod acciderat casu, vim habuit ostenti. At Lacedaemoniis in Herculis fano arma sonuerunt, eiusdemque dei Thebis valvae clausae subito se aperuerunt, eaque scuta, quae fuerant sublime fixa, sunt humi inventa. Horum cum fieri nihil potuerit sine aliquo motu, quid est, cur divinitus ea potius quam casu facta esse dicamus? 2.68. At in Lysandri statuae capite Delphis extitit corona ex asperis herbis, et quidem subita. Itane? censes ante coronam herbae extitisse, quam conceptum esse semen? herbam autem asperam credo avium congestu, non humano satu; iam, quicquid in capite est, id coronae simile videri potest. Nam quod eodem tempore stellas aureas Castoris et Pollucis Delphis positas decidisse, neque eas usquam repertas esse dixisti, furum id magis factum quam deorum videtur. 2.69. Simiae vero Dodonaeae improbitatem historiis Graecis mandatam esse demiror. Quid minus mirum quam illam monstruosissumam bestiam urnam evertisse, sortes dissupavisse? Et negant historici Lacedaemoniis ullum ostentum hoc tristius accidisse! Nam illa praedicta Veientium, si lacus Albanus redundasset isque in mare fluxisset, Romam perituram; si repressus esset, Veios ita aqua Albana deducta ad utilitatem agri suburbani, non ad arcem urbemque retinendam. At paulo post audita vox est monentis, ut providerent, ne a Gallis Roma caperetur; ex eo Aio Loquenti aram in nova via consecratam. Quid ergo? Aius iste Loquens, cum eum nemo norat, et aiebat et loquebatur et ex eo nomen invenit; posteaquam et sedem et aram et nomen invenit, obmutuit? Quod idem dici de Moneta potest; a qua praeterquam de sue plena quid umquam moniti sumus? 2.70. Satis multa de ostentis; auspicia restant et sortes eae, quae ducuntur, non illae, quae vaticinatione funduntur, quae oracla verius dicimus; de quibus tum dicemus, cum ad naturalem divinationem venerimus. Restat etiam de Chaldaeis; sed primum auspicia videamus. Difficilis auguri locus ad contra dicendum. Marso fortasse, sed Romano facillumus. Non enim sumus ii nos augures, qui avium reliquorumve signorum observatione futura dicamus. Et tamen credo Romulum, qui urbem auspicato condidit, habuisse opinionem esse in providendis rebus augurandi scientiam (errabat enim multis in rebus antiquitas), quam vel usu iam vel doctrina vel vetustate immutatam videmus; retinetur autem et ad opinionem vulgi et ad magnas utilitates rei publicae mos, religio, disciplina, ius augurium, collegii auctoritas. 2.71. Nec vero non omni supplicio digni P. Claudius L. Iunius consules, qui contra auspicia navigaverunt; parendum enim religioni fuit nec patrius mos tam contumaciter repudiandus. Iure igitur alter populi iudicio damnatus est, alter mortem sibi ipse conscivit. Flaminius non paruit auspiciis, itaque periit cum exercitu. At anno post Paulus paruit; num minus cecidit in Cannensi pugna cum exercitu? Etenim, ut sint auspicia, quae nulla sunt, haec certe, quibus utimur, sive tripudio sive de caelo, simulacra sunt auspiciorum, auspicia nullo modo. Q. Fabi, te mihi in auspicio esse volo ; respondet: audivi . Hic apud maiores nostros adhibebatur peritus, nunc quilubet. Peritum autem esse necesse est eum, qui, silentium quid sit, intellegat; id enim silentium dicimus in auspiciis, quod omni vitio caret. 2.72. Hoc intellegere perfecti auguris est; illi autem, qui in auspicium adhibetur, cum ita imperavit is, qui auspicatur: dicito, si silentium esse videbitur, nec suspicit nec circumspicit; statim respondet silentium esse videri. Tum ille: dicito, si pascentur .— Pascuntur .— Quae aves? aut ubi? Attulit, inquit, in cavea pullos is, qui ex eo ipso nominatur pullarius. Haec sunt igitur aves internuntiae Iovis! quae pascantur necne, quid refert? Nihil ad auspicia; sed quia, cum pascuntur, necesse est aliquid ex ore cadere et terram pavire (terripavium primo, post terripudium dictum est; hoc quidem iam tripudium dicitur)—cum igitur offa cecidit ex ore pulli, tum auspicanti tripudium solistimum nuntiatur. 2.73. Ergo hoc auspicium divini quicquam habere potest, quod tam sit coactum et expressum? Quo antiquissumos augures non esse usos argumento est, quod decretum collegii vetus habemus omnem avem tripudium facere posse. Tum igitur esset auspicium (si modo esset ei liberum) se ostendisse; tum avis illa videri posset interpres et satelles Iovis; nunc vero inclusa in cavea et fame enecta si in offam pultis invadit, et si aliquid ex eius ore cecidit, hoc tu auspicium aut hoc modo Romulum auspicari solitum putas? 2.74. Iam de caelo servare non ipsos censes solitos, qui auspicabantur? Nunc imperant pullario; ille renuntiat. Fulmen sinistrum auspicium optumum habemus ad omnis res praeterquam ad comitia; quod quidem institutum rei publicae causa est, ut comitiorum vel in iudiciis populi vel in iure legum vel in creandis magistratibus principes civitatis essent interpretes. At Ti. Gracchi litteris Scipio et Figulus consules, cum augures iudicassent eos vitio creatos esse, magistratu se abdicaverunt. Quis negat augurum disciplinam esse? divinationem nego. At haruspices divini; quos cum Ti. Gracchus propter mortem repentinam eius, qui in praerogativa referenda subito concidisset, in senatum introduxisset, non iustum rogatorem fuisse dixerunt. 2.87. Quis enim magistratus aut quis vir inlustrior utitur sortibus? ceteris vero in locis sortes plane refrixerunt. Quod Carneadem Clitomachus scribit dicere solitum, nusquam se fortunatiorem quam Praeneste vidisse Fortunam. Ergo hoc divinationis genus omittamus. Ad Chaldaeorum monstra veniamus; de quibus Eudoxus, Platonis auditor, in astrologia iudicio doctissimorum hominum facile princeps, sic opinatur, id quod scriptum reliquit, Chaldaeis in praedictione et in notatione cuiusque vitae ex natali die minime esse credendum. 2.88. Nominat etiam Panaetius, qui unus e Stoicis astrologorum praedicta reiecit, Anchialum et Cassandrum, summos astrologos illius aetatis, qua erat ipse, cum in ceteris astrologiae partibus excellerent, hoc praedictionis genere non usos. Scylax Halicarnassius, familiaris Panaetii, excellens in astrologia idemque in regenda sua civitate princeps, totum hoc Chaldaicum praedicendi genus repudiavit. 2.89. Sed ut ratione utamur omissis testibus, sic isti disputant, qui haec Chaldaeorum natalicia praedicta defendunt: Vim quandam esse aiunt signifero in orbe, qui Graece zwdiako/s dicitur, talem, ut eius orbis una quaeque pars alia alio modo moveat inmutetque caelum, perinde ut quaeque stellae in his finitumisque partibus sint quoque tempore, eamque vim varie moveri ab iis sideribus, quae vocantur errantia; cum autem in eam ipsam partem orbis venerint, in qua sit ortus eius, qui nascatur, aut in eam, quae coniunctum aliquid habeat aut consentiens, ea triangula illi et quadrata nomit. Etenim cum †tempore anni tempestatumque caeli conversiones commutationesque tantae fiant accessu stellarum et recessu, cumque ea vi solis efficiantur, quae videmus, non veri simile solum, sed etiam verum esse censent perinde, utcumque temperatus sit ae+r, ita pueros orientis animari atque formari, ex eoque ingenia, mores, animum, corpus, actionem vitae, casus cuiusque eventusque fingi. 2.90. O delirationem incredibilem! non enim omnis error stultitia dicenda est. Quibus etiam Diogenes Stoicus concedit aliquid, ut praedicere possint dumtaxat, qualis quisque natura et ad quam quisque maxume rem aptus futurus sit; cetera, quae profiteantur, negat ullo modo posse sciri; etenim geminorum formas esse similis, vitam atque fortunam plerumque disparem. Procles et Eurysthenes, Lacedaemoniorum reges, gemini fratres fuerunt. 2.91. At ii nec totidem annos vixerunt; anno enim Procli vita brevior fuit, multumque is fratri rerum gestarum gloria praestitit. At ego id ipsum, quod vir optumus, Diogenes, Chaldaeis quasi quadam praevaricatione concedit, nego posse intellegi. Etenim cum, ut ipsi dicunt, ortus nascentium luna moderetur, eaque animadvertant et notent sidera natalicia Chaldaei, quaecumque lunae iuncta videantur, oculorum fallacissimo sensu iudicant ea, quae ratione atque animo videre debebant. Docet enim ratio mathematicorum, quam istis notam esse oportebat, quanta humilitate luna feratur terram paene contingens, quantum absit a proxuma Mercurii stella, multo autem longius a Veneris, deinde alio intervallo distet a sole, cuius lumine conlustrari putatur; reliqua vero tria intervalla infinita et inmensa, a sole ad Martis, inde ad Iovis, ab eo ad Saturni stellam, inde ad caelum ipsum, quod extremum atque ultumum mundi est. 2.92. Quae potest igitur contagio ex infinito paene intervallo pertinere ad lunam vel potius ad terram? Quid? cum dicunt, id quod iis dicere necesse est, omnis omnium ortus, quicumque gigtur in omni terra, quae incolatur, eosdem esse, eademque omnibus, qui eodem statu caeli et stellarum nati sint, accidere necesse esse, nonne eius modi sunt, ut ne caeli quidem naturam interpretes istos caeli nosse appareat? Cum enim illi orbes, qui caelum quasi medium dividunt et aspectum nostrum definiunt, qui a Graecis o(ri/zontes nomitur, a nobis finientes rectissume nominari possunt, varietatem maxumam habeant aliique in aliis locis sint, necesse est ortus occasusque siderum non fieri eodem tempore apud omnis. 2.93. Quodsi eorum vi caelum modo hoc, modo illo modo temperatur, qui potest eadem vis esse nascentium, cum caeli tanta sit dissimilitudo? In his locis, quae nos incolimus, post solstitium Canicula exoritur, et quidem aliquot diebus, at apud Troglodytas, ut scribitur, ante solstitium, ut, si iam concedamus aliquid vim caelestem ad eos, qui in terra gignuntur, pertinere, confitendum sit illis eos, qui nascuntur eodem tempore, posse in dissimilis incidere naturas propter caeli dissimilitudinem; quod minime illis placet; volunt enim illi omnis eodem tempore ortos, qui ubique sint nati, eadem condicione nasci. 2.94. Sed quae tanta dementia est, ut in maxumis motibus mutationibusque caeli nihil intersit, qui ventus, qui imber, quae tempestas ubique sit? quarum rerum in proxumis locis tantae dissimilitudines saepe sunt, ut alia Tusculi, alia Romae eveniat saepe tempestas; quod, qui navigant, maxume animadvertunt, cum in flectendis promunturiis ventorum mutationes maxumas saepe sentiunt. Haec igitur cum sit tum serenitas, tum perturbatio caeli, estne sanorum hominum hoc ad nascentium ortus pertinere non dicere quod non certe pertinet, illud nescio quid tenue, quod sentiri nullo modo, intellegi autem vix potest, quae a luna ceterisque sideribus caeli temperatio fiat, dicere ad puerorum ortus pertinere? Quid? quod non intellegunt seminum vim, quae ad gignendum procreandumque plurimum valeat, funditus tolli, mediocris erroris est? Quis enim non videt et formas et mores et plerosque status ac motus effingere a parentibus liberos? quod non contingeret, si haec non vis et natura gignentium efficeret, sed temperatio lunae caelique moderatio. 2.95. Quid? quod uno et eodem temporis puncto nati dissimilis et naturas et vitas et casus habent, parumne declarat nihil ad agendam vitam nascendi tempus pertinere? nisi forte putamus neminem eodem tempore ipso et conceptum et natum, quo Africanum. Num quis igitur talis fuit? 2.96. Quid? illudne dubium est, quin multi, cum ita nati essent, ut quaedam contra naturam depravata haberent, restituerentur et corrigerentur ab natura, cum se ipsa revocasset, aut arte atque medicina? ut, quorum linguae sic inhaererent, ut loqui non possent, eae scalpello resectae liberarentur. Multi etiam naturae vitium meditatione atque exercitatione sustulerunt, ut Demosthenem scribit Phalereus, cum rho dicere nequiret, exercitatione fecisse, ut planissume diceret. Quodsi haec astro ingenerata et tradita essent, nulla res ea mutare posset. Quid? dissimilitudo locorum nonne dissimilis hominum procreationes habet? quas quidem percurrere oratione facile est, quid inter Indos et Persas, Aethiopas et Syros differat corporibus, animis, ut incredibilis varietas dissimilitudoque sit. 2.97. Ex quo intellegitur plus terrarum situs quam lunae tactus ad nascendum valere. Nam quod aiunt quadringenta septuaginta milia annorum in periclitandis experiundisque pueris, quicumque essent nati, Babylonios posuisse, fallunt; si enim esset factitatum, non esset desitum; neminem autem habemus auctorem, qui id aut fieri dicat aut factum sciat. Videsne me non ea dicere, quae Carneades, sed ea, quae princeps Stoicorum Panaetius dixerit? Ego autem etiam haec requiro: omnesne, qui Cannensi pugna ceciderint, uno astro fuerint; exitus quidem omnium unus et idem fuit. Quid? qui ingenio atque animo singulares, num astro quoque uno? quod enim tempus, quo non innumerabiles nascantur? at certe similis nemo Homeri. 2.98. Et, si ad rem pertinet, quo modo caelo adfecto conpositisque sideribus quodque animal oriatur, valeat id necesse est non in hominibus solum, verum in bestiis etiam; quo quid potest dici absurdius? L. quidem Tarutius Firmanus, familiaris noster, in primis Chaldaicis rationibus eruditus, urbis etiam nostrae natalem diem repetebat ab iis Parilibus, quibus eam a Romulo conditam accepimus, Romamque, in iugo cum esset luna, natam esse dicebat nec eius fata canere dubitabat. 2.99. O vim maxumam erroris! Etiamne urbis natalis dies ad vim stellarum et lunae pertinebat? Fac in puero referre, ex qua adfectione caeli primum spiritum duxerit; num hoc in latere aut in caemento, ex quibus urbs effecta est, potuit valere? Sed quid plura? cotidie refelluntur. Quam multa ego Pompeio, quam multa Crasso, quam multa huic ipsi Caesari a Chaldaeis dicta memini, neminem eorum nisi senectute, nisi domi, nisi cum claritate esse moriturum! ut mihi permirum videatur quemquam exstare, qui etiam nunc credat iis, quorum praedicta cotidie videat re et eventis refelli. 2.150. Perfugium videtur omnium laborum et sollicitudinum esse somnus. At ex eo ipso plurumae curae metusque nascuntur; qui quidem ipsi per se minus valerent et magis contemnerentur, nisi somniorum patrocinium philosophi suscepissent, nec ii quidem contemptissimi, sed in primis acuti et consequentia et repugtia videntes, qui prope iam absoluti et perfecti putantur. Quorum licentiae nisi Carneades restitisset, haud scio an soli iam philosophi iudicarentur. Cum quibus omnis fere nobis disceptatio contentioque est, non quod eos maxume contemnamus, sed quod videntur acutissime sententias suas prudentissimeque defendere. Cum autem proprium sit Academiae iudicium suum nullum interponere, ea probare, quae simillima veri videantur, conferre causas et, quid in quamque sententiam dici possit, expromere, nulla adhibita sua auctoritate iudicium audientium relinquere integrum ac liberum, tenebimus hanc consuetudinem a Socrate traditam eaque inter nos, si tibi, Quinte frater, placebit, quam saepissime utemur. Mihi vero, inquit ille, nihil potest esse iucundius. Quae cum essent dicta, surreximus.
| 1.8. This subject has been discussed by me frequently on other occasions, but with somewhat more than ordinary care when my brother Quintus and I were together recently at my Tusculan villa. For the sake of a stroll we had gone to the Lyceum which is the name of my upper gymnasium, when Quintus remarked:I have just finished a careful reading of the third book of your treatise, On the Nature of the Gods, containing Cottas discussion, which, though it has shaken my views of religion, has not overthrown them entirely.Very good, said I; for Cottas argument is intended rather to refute the arguments of the Stoics than to destroy mans faith in religion.Quintus then replied: Cotta says the very same thing, and says it repeatedly, in order, as I think, not to appear to violate the commonly accepted canons of belief; yet it seems to me that, in his zeal to confute the Stoics, he utterly demolishes the gods. 1.10. Why, my dear Quintus, said I, you are defending the very citadel of the Stoics in asserting the interdependence of these two propositions: if there is divination there are gods, and, if there are gods there is divination. But neither is granted as readily as you think. For it is possible that nature gives signs of future events without the intervention of a god, and it may be that there are gods without their having conferred any power of divination upon men.To this he replied, I, at any rate, find sufficient proof to satisfy me of the existence of the gods and of their concern in human affairs in my conviction that there are some kinds of divination which are clear and manifest. With your permission I will set forth my views on this subject, provided you are at leisure and have nothing else which you think should be preferred to such a discussion. 1.11. Really, my dear Quintus, said I, I always have time for philosophy. Moreover, since there is nothing else at this time that I can do with pleasure, I am all the more eager to hear what you think about divination.There is, I assure you, said he, nothing new or original in my views; for those which I adopt are not only very old, but they are endorsed by the consent of all peoples and nations. There are two kinds of divination: the first is dependent on art, the other on nature. 1.13. We may wonder at the variety of herbs that have been observed by physicians, of roots that are good for the bites of wild beasts, for eye affections, and for wounds, and though reason has never explained their force and nature, yet through their usefulness you have won approval for the medical art and for their discoverer.But come, let us consider instances, which although outside the category of divination, yet resemble it very closely:The heaving sea oft warns of coming storms,When suddenly its depths begin to swell;And hoary rocks, oerspread with snowy brine,To the sea, in boding tones, attempt reply;Or when from lofty mountain-peak upspringsA shrilly whistling wind, which stronger growsWith each repulse by hedge of circling cliffs. Your book, Prognostics, is full of such warning signs, but who can fathom their causes? And yet I see that the Stoic Boëthus has attempted to do so and has succeeded to the extent of explaining the phenomena of sea and sky. 1.17. But what authority or what witness can I better employ than yourself? I have even learned by heart and with great pleasure the following lines uttered by the Muse, Urania, in the second book of your poem entitled, My Consulship:First of all, Jupiter, glowing with fire from regions celestial,Turns, and the whole of creation is filled with the light of his glory;And, though the vaults of aether eternal begird and confine him,Yet he, with spirit divine, ever searching the earth and the heavens,Sounds to their innermost depths the thoughts and the actions of mortals.When one has learned the motions and variant paths of the planets,Stars that abide in the seat of the signs, in the Zodiacs girdle,(Spoken of falsely as vagrants or rovers in Greek nomenclature,Whereas in truth their distance is fixed and their speed is determined,)Then will he know that all are controlled by an Infinite Wisdom. 1.18. You, being consul, at once did observe the swift constellations,Noting the glare of luminous stars in direful conjunction:Then you beheld the tremulous sheen of the Northern aurora,When, on ascending the mountainous heights of snowy Albanus,You offered joyful libations of milk at the Feast of the Latins;Ominous surely the time wherein fell that Feast of the Latins;Many a warning was given, it seemed, of slaughter nocturnal;Then, of a sudden, the moon at her full was blotted from heaven —Hidden her features resplendent, though night was bejewelled with planets;Then did that dolorous herald of War, the torch of Apollo,Mount all aflame to the dome of the sky, where the sun has its setting;Then did a Roman depart from these radiant abodes of the living,Stricken by terrible lightning from heavens serene and unclouded.Then through the fruit-laden body of earth ran the shock of an earthquake;Spectres at night were observed, appalling and changeful of figure,Giving their warning that war was at hand, and internal commotion;Over all lands there outpoured, from the frenzied bosoms of prophets,Dreadful predictions, gloomy forecasts of impending disaster. 1.19. And the misfortunes which happened at last and were long in their passing —These were foretold by the Father of Gods, in earth and in heaven,Through unmistakable signs that he gave and often repeated. Now, of those prophecies made when Torquatus and Cotta were consuls, —Made by a Lydian diviner, by one of Etruscan extraction —All, in the round of your crowded twelve months, were brought to fulfilment.For high-thundering Jove, as he stood on starry Olympus,Hurled forth his blows at the temples and monuments raised in his honour,And on the Capitols site he unloosed the bolts of his lightning.Then fell the brazen image of Natta, ancient and honoured:Vanished the tablets of laws long ago divinely enacted;Wholly destroyed were the statues of gods by the heat of the lightning. 1.20. Here was the Martian beast, the nurse of Roman dominion,Suckling with life-giving dew, that issued from udders distended,Children divinely begotten, who sprang from the loins of the War God;Stricken by lightning she toppled to earth, bearing with her the children;Torn from her station, she left the prints of her feet in descending.Then what diviner, in turning the records and tomes of the augurs,Failed to relate the mournful forecasts the Etruscans had written?Seers all advised to beware the monstrous destruction and slaughter,Plotted by Romans who traced their descent from a noble ancestry;Or they proclaimed the laws overthrow with voices insistent,Bidding rescue the city from flames, and the deities temples;Fearful they bade us become of horrible chaos and carnage;These, by a rigorous Fate, would be certainly fixed and determined,Were not a sacred statue of Jove, one comely of figure,High on a column erected beforehand, with eyes to the eastward;Then would the people and venerable senate be able to fathomHidden designs, when that statue — its face to the sun at its rising —Should behold from its station the seats of the people and Senate. 1.21. Long was the statue delayed and much was it hindered in making.Finally, you being consul, it stood in its lofty position.Just at the moment of time, which the gods had set and predicted,When on column exalted the sceptre of Jove was illumined,Did Allobrogian voices proclaim to Senate and peopleWhat destruction by dagger and torch was prepared for our country. Rightly, therefore, the ancients whose monuments you have in keeping,Romans whose rule over peoples and cities was just and courageous,Rightly your kindred, foremost in honour and pious devotion,Far surpassing the rest of their fellows in shrewdness and wisdom,Held it a duty supreme to honour the Infinite Godhead.Such were the truths they beheld who painfully searching for wisdomGladly devoted their leisure to study of all that was noble, 1.22. Who, in Academys shade and Lyceums dazzling effulgence,Uttered the brilliant reflections of minds abounding in culture.Torn from these studies, in youths early dawn, your country recalled you,Giving you place in the thick of the struggle for public preferment;Yet, in seeking surcease from the worries and cares that oppress you,Time, that the State leaves free, you devote to us and to learning.In view, therefore, of your acts, and in view too of your own verses which I have quoted and which were composed with the utmost care, could you be persuaded to controvert the position which I maintain in regard to divination? 1.25. It sometimes misleads perhaps, but none the less in most cases it guides us to the truth. For this same conjectural divination is the product of boundless eternity and within that period it has grown into an art through the repeated observation and record of almost countless instances in which the same results have been preceded by the same signs. Indeed how trustworthy were the auspices taken when you were augur! At the present time — pray pardon me for saying so — Roman augurs neglect auspices, although the Cilicians, Pamphylians, Pisidians, and Lycians hold them in high esteem. 1.33. Moreover, according to tradition, the whetstone and razor were buried in the comitium and a stone curbing placed over them.Let us declare this story wholly false; let us burn the chronicles that contain it; let us call it a myth and admit almost anything you please rather than the fact that the gods have any concern in human affairs. But look at this: does not the story about Tiberius Gracchus found in your own writings acknowledge that augury and soothsaying are arts? He, having placed his tabernaculum, unwittingly violated augural law by crossing the pomerium before completing the auspices; nevertheless he held the consular election. The fact is well known to you since you have recorded it. Besides, Tiberius Gracchus, who was himself an augur, confirmed the authority of auspices by confessing his error; and the soothsayers, too, greatly enhanced the reputation of their calling, when brought into the Senate immediately after the election, by declaring that the election supervisor had acted without authority.  1.36. Why, then, when here recently a mule (which is an animal ordinarily sterile by nature) brought forth a foal, need anyone have scoffed because the soothsayers from that occurrence prophesied a progeny of countless evils to the state?What, pray, do you say of that well-known incident of Tiberius Gracchus, the son of Publius? He was censor and consul twice; beside that he was a most competent augur, a wise man and a pre-eminent citizen. Yet he, according to the account left us by his son Gaius, having caught two snakes in his home, called in the soothsayers to consult them. They advised him that if he let the male snake go his wife must die in a short time; and if he released the female snake his own death must soon occur. Thinking it more fitting that a speedy death should overtake him rather than his young wife, who was the daughter of Publius Africanus, he released the female snake and died within a few days. Let us laugh at the soothsayers, brand them as frauds and impostors and scorn their calling, even though a very wise man, Tiberius Gracchus, and the results and circumstances of his death have given proof of its trustworthiness; let us scorn the Babylonians, too, and those astrologers who, from the top of Mount Caucasus, observe the celestial signs and with the aid of mathematics follow the courses of the stars; let us, I say, convict of folly, falsehood, and shamelessness the men whose records, as they themselves assert, cover a period of four hundred and seventy thousand years; and let us pronounce them liars, utterly indifferent to the opinion of succeeding generations. 1.106. Now — to employ you as often as I can as my authority — what could be more clearly of divine origin than the auspice which is thus described in your Marius?Behold, from out the tree, on rapid wing,The eagle that attends high-thundering JoveA serpent bore, whose fangs had wounded her;And as she flew her cruel talons piercedQuite through its flesh. The snake, tho nearly dead,Kept darting here and there its spotted head;And, as it writhed, she tore with bloody beakIts twisted folds. At last, with sated wrathAnd grievous wounds avenged, she dropped her prey,Which, dead and mangled, fell into the sea;And from the West she sought the shining East.When Marius, reader of divine decrees,Observed the birds auspicious, gliding course,He recognized the goodly sign foretoldThat he in glory would return to Rome;Then, on the left, Joves thunder pealed aloudAnd thus declared the eagles omen true.  2.28. In discussing separately the various methods of divination, I shall begin with soothsaying, which, according to my deliberate judgement, should be cultivated from reasons of political expediency and in order that we may have a state religion. But we are alone and for that reason we may, without causing ill-will, make an earnest inquiry into the truth of soothsaying — certainly I can do so, since in most things my philosophy is that of doubt. In the first place, then, if you please, let us make an inspection of entrails! Now can anybody be induced to believe that the things said to be predicted by means of entrails were learned by the soothsayers through long-continued observation? How long, pray, did the observations last? How could the observations have continued for a long time? How did the soothsayers manage to agree among themselves what part of the entrails was unfavourable, and what part favourable; or what cleft in the liver indicated danger and what promised some advantage? Are the soothsayers of Etruria, Elis, Egypt, and of Carthage in accord on these matters? Apart from such an agreement being impossible in fact, it is impossible even to imagine; and, moreover, we see some nations interpreting entrails in one way and some in another; hence there is no uniformity of practice. 2.29. Surely if entrails have any prophetic force, necessarily that force either is in accord with the laws of nature, or is fashioned in some way by the will and power of the gods. But between that divine system of nature whose great and glorious laws pervade all space and regulate all motion what possible connexion can there be with — I shall not say the gall of a chicken, whose entrails, some men assert, give very clear indications of the future, but — the liver, heart, and lungs of a sacrificial ox? And what natural quality is there in the entrails which enables them to indicate the future?  2.30. Nevertheless Democritus jests rather prettily for a natural philosopher — and there is no more arrogant class — when he says:No one regards the things before his feet,But views with care the regions of the sky.And yet Democritus gives his approval to divination by means of entrails only to the extent of believing that their condition and colour indicate whether hay and other crops will be abundant or the reverse, and he even thinks that the entrails give signs of future health or sickness. O happy mortal! He never failed to have his joke — that is absolutely certain. But was he so amused with petty trifles as to fail to see that his theory would be plausible only on the assumption that the entrails of all cattle changed to the same colour and condition at the same time? But if at the same instant the liver of one ox is smooth and full and that of another is rough and shrunken, what inference can be drawn from the condition and colour of the entrails? 2.31. Equally amusing is your story about Pherecydes, who, after looking at some water just drawn from a well, foretold an earthquake. It would be presumptuous enough, I think, for natural philosophers to attempt to explain the cause of an earthquake after it had happened; but can they actually tell, from looking at fresh water, that an earthquake is going to happen? Such nonsense is often heard in the schools, but one does not have to believe everything one hears. 2.32. But grant that these absurdities of Democritus are true — when do we ever consult entrails to learn about crops or health, or when have we acquired information on these particulars from a soothsayer after he had made an inspection of entrails? The soothsayers warn us of dangers by fire and flood and sometimes they prophesy the inheritance, sometimes the loss, of money: they discuss the favourable and the unfavourable cleft; they view the head of the liver with the utmost care from every side. If, perchance, the livers head should be wanting they regard it as the most unpropitious sign that could have happened.  2.33. Such signs, as I have shown before, certainly could not come within your classification of the kinds of divination dependent on observation. Therefore they are not the result of immemorial usage, but they are the inventions of art — if there can be any art in the occult. But what relationship have they with the laws of nature? Assuming that all the works of nature are firmly bound together in a harmonious whole (which, I observe, is the view of the natural philosophers and especially of those men who maintain that the universe is a unit), what connexion can there be between the universe and the finding of a treasure? For instance, if the entrails foretell an increase in my fortune and they do so in accordance with some law of nature, then, in the first place, there is some relationship between them and the universe, and in the second place, my ficial gain is regulated by the laws of nature. Are not the natural philosophers ashamed to utter such nonsense? And yet a certain contact between the different parts of nature may be admitted and I concede it. The Stoics have collected much evidence to prove it. They claim, for example, that the livers of mice become larger in winter; that the dry pennyroyal blooms the very day of the winter solstice, and that its seed-pods become inflated and burst and the seeds enclosed thither are sent in various directions; that at times when certain strings of the lyre are struck others sound; that it is the habit of oysters and of all shell-fish to grow with the growth of the moon and to become smaller as it wanes; and that trees are considered easiest to cut down in winter and in the dark of the moon, because they are then free from sap. 2.34. There is no need to go on and mention the seas and straits with their tides, whose ebb and flow are governed by the motion of the moon. Innumerable instances of the same kind may be given to prove that some natural connexion does exist between objects apparently unrelated. Concede that it does exist; it does not contravene the point I make, that no sort of a cleft in a liver is prophetic of ficial gain. What natural tie, or what symphony, so to speak, or association, or what sympathy, as the Greeks term it, can there be between a cleft in a liver and a petty addition to my purse? Or what relationship between my miserable money-getting, on the one hand, and heaven, earth, and the laws of nature on the other? However, I will concede even this if you wish, though it will greatly weaken my case to admit that there is any connexion between nature and the condition of the entrails; 2.35. yet, suppose the concession is made, how is it brought about that the man in search of favourable signs will find a sacrifice suitable to his purpose? I thought the question insoluble. But what a fine solution is offered! I am not ashamed of you — I am actually astonished at your memory; but I am ashamed of Chrysippus, Antipater, and Posidonius who say exactly what you said: The choice of the sacrificial victim is directed by the sentient and divine power which pervades the entire universe.But even more absurd is that other pronouncement of theirs which you adopted: At the moment of sacrifice a change in the entrails takes place; something is added or something taken away; for all things are obedient to the Divine Will. 2.36. Upon my word, no old woman is credulous enough now to believe such stuff! Do you believe that the same bullock, if chosen by one man, will have a liver without a head, and if chosen by another will have a liver with a head? And is it possible that this sudden going or coming of the livers head occurs so that the entrails may adapt themselves to the situation of the person who offers the sacrifice? Do you Stoics fail to see in choosing the victim it is almost like a throw of the dice, especially as facts prove it? For when the entrails of the first victim have been without a head, which is the most fatal of all signs, it often happens that the sacrifice of the next victim is altogether favourable. Pray what became of the warnings of the first set of entrails? And how was the favour of the gods so completely and so suddenly gained? But, you say, Once, when Caesar was offering a sacrifice, there was no heart in the entrails of the sacrificial bull; and, and, since it would have been impossible for the victim to live without a heart, the heart must have disappeared at the moment of immolation. 2.37. How does it happen that you understand the one fact, that the bull could not have lived without a heart and do not realize the other, that the heart could not suddenly have vanished I know not where? As for me, possibly I do not know what vital function the heart performs; if I do I suspect that the bulls heart, as the result of a disease, became much wasted and shrunken and lost its resemblance to a heart. But, assuming that only a little while before the heart was in the sacrificial bull, why do you think it suddenly disappeared at the very moment of immolation? Dont you think, rather, that the bull lost his heart when he saw that Caesar in his purple robe had lost his head?Upon my word you Stoics surrender the very city of philosophy while defending its outworks! For, by your insistence on the truth of soothsaying, you utterly overthrow physiology. There is a head to the liver and a heart in the entrails, presto! they will vanish the very second you have sprinkled them with meal and wine! Aye, some god will snatch them away! Some invisible power will destroy them or eat them up! Then the creation and destruction of all things are not due to nature, and there are some things which spring from nothing or suddenly become nothing. Was any such statement ever made by any natural philosopher? It is made, you say, by soothsayers. Then do you think that soothsayers are worthier of belief than natural philosophers?  2.38. Again, when sacrifices are offered to more than one god at the same time, how does it happen that the auspices are favourable in one case and unfavourable in another? Is it not strange fickleness in the gods to threaten disaster in the first set of entrails and to promise a blessing in the next? Or is there such discord among the gods — often even among those who are nearest of kin — that the entrails of the sacrifice you offer to Apollo, for example, are favourable and of those you offer at the same time to Diana are unfavourable? When victims for the sacrifice are brought up at haphazard it is perfectly clear that the character of entrails that you will receive will depend on the victim chance may bring. Oh! but someone will say, The choice itself is a matter of divine guidance, just as in the case of lots the drawing is directed by the gods! I shall speak of lots presently; although you really do not strengthen the cause of sacrifices by comparing them to lots; but you do weaken the cause of lots by comparing them with sacrifices. 2.39. When I send a slave to Aequimelium to bring me a lamb for a sacrifice and he brings me the lamb which has entrails suited to the exigencies of my particular case, it was not chance, I suppose, but a god that led the slave to that particular lamb! If you say that in this case too chance is, as it were, a sort of lot in accordance with the divine will, then I am sorry that our Stoic friends have given the Epicureans so great an opportunity for laughter, for you know how much fun they make of statements like that. 2.40. And they can laugh with the better grace because Epicurus, to make the gods ridiculous, represents them as transparent, with the winds blowing through them, and living between two worlds (as if between our two groves) from fear of the downfall. He further says that the gods have limbs just as we have, but make no use of them. Hence, while he takes a roundabout way to destroy the gods, he does not hesitate to take a short road to destroy divination. At any rate Epicurus is consistent, but the Stoics are not; for his god, who has no concern for himself or for anybody else, cannot impart divination to men. And neither can your Stoic god impart divination, although he rules the world and plans for the good of mankind. 2.41. Why then do you Stoics involve yourselves in these sophistries, which you can never explain? Members of your school, when they are more hurried than usual, generally give us this syllogism: If there are gods, there is divination; but there are gods, therefore there is divination. A more logical one would be this: There is no divination, therefore there are no gods. Observe how rashly they commit themselves to the proposition, if there is no divination, there are no gods. I say rashly, for it is evident that divination has been destroyed and yet we must hold on to the gods.  2.42. In demolishing divination by means of entrails we have utterly demolished the soothsayers art; for the same fate awaits divination by means of lightnings and portents. According to your view, long-continued observation is employed in the case of lightnings, and reason and conjecture are generally employed in the case of portents. But what is it that has been observed in the case of lightnings? The Etruscans divided the sky into sixteen parts. of course it was easy enough for them to double the four parts into which we divide it and then double that total and tell from which one of those divisions a bolt of lightning had come. In the first place, what difference does its location make? and, in the second place, what does it foretell? It is perfectly evident that, out of the wonder and fear excited in primitive man by lightning and thunderbolts, sprang his belief that those phenomena were caused by omnipotent Jove. And so we find it recorded in our augural annals: When Jove thunders or lightens it is impious to hold an election. 2.43. This was ordained, perhaps, from reasons of political expediency; for our ancestors wished to have some excuse for not holding elections sometimes. And so lightning is an unfavourable sign only in case of an election; in all other cases we consider it the best of auspices, if it appears on the left side. But I shall speak of auspices in another connexion — now I am going to discuss lightnings. There is, then, no statement less worthy of a natural philosopher than that anything can be foretold with a certainty by uncertain signs. of course I do not think you are credulous enough to believe that Joves thunderbolt was made on Mount Aetna by the Cyclopes. 2.44. For if he had but one bolt his hurling it so often would be strange. Nor would he be able to give men so many advices by thunderbolts as to what they should or should not do. But the Stoics account for the thunderbolt thus: When the cold exhalations from the earth begin to circulate they become winds; when these winds enter a cloud they begin to break up and scatter its thinnest portions; if they do this very rapidly and with great violence, thunder and lightning are thereby produced. Again, when clouds collide their heat is forcibly driven out and the thunderbolt is the result. Realizing, then, that these phenomena are due to natural causes, and happen without regularity and at no certain time, shall we look to them for signs of future events? It is passing strange, if Jupiter warns us by means of thunderbolts, that he sends so many to no purpose! 2.45. What, for example, is his object in hurling them into the middle of the sea? or, as he so often does, on to the tops of lofty mountains? Why, pray, does he waste them in solitary deserts? And why does he fling them on the shores of peoples who do not take any notice of them? Oh! but you say, the head was found in the Tiber. As if I contended that your soothsayers were devoid of art! My contention is that there is no divination. By dividing the heavens in the manner already indicated and by noting what happened in each division the soothsayers learn whence the thunderbolt comes and whither it goes, but no method can show that the thunderbolt has any prophetic value. However, you array those verses of mine against me:For high-thundering Jove, as he stood on starry Olympus,Hurtled his blows at the temples and monuments raised in his honour,And on the Capitols site unloosed the bolts of his lightning.Then, the poem goes on to say, the statue of Natta, the images of the gods and the piece representing Romulus and Remus, with their wolf-nurse, were struck by a thunderbolt and fell to the ground. The prophecies made by the soothsayers from these events were fulfilled to the letter. 2.46. Besides, you quote me as authority for the remarkable fact that, at the very time when proof of the conspiracy was being presented to the Senate, the statue of Jupiter, which had been contracted for two years before, was being erected on the Capitol.Will you then — for thus you pleaded with me — will you then persuade yourself to take sides against me in this discussion, in the face of your own writings and of your own practice? You are my brother and on that account I shrink from recrimination. But what, pray, is causing you distress in this matter? Is it the nature of the subject? Or is it my insistence on finding out the truth? And so I waive your charge of my inconsistency — I am asking you for an explanation of the entire subject of soothsaying. But you betook yourself to a strange place of refuge. You knew that you would be in straits when I asked your reason for each kind of divination, and, hence, you had much to say to this effect: Since I see what divination does I do not ask the reason or the cause why it does it. The question is, what does it do? not, why does it do it? As if I would grant either that divination accomplished anything, or that it was permissible for a philosopher not to ask why anything happened! 2.47. It was in that same connexion that you brought force my Prognostics and some samples of herbs — the scammony and aristolochia root — saying that you could see their virtue and effect but did not know the cause. But your illustrations are not pertinent at all. For example, the causes of meteorological phenomena have been investigated by Boëthus the Stoic, whom you mentioned, and by our friend Posidonius; and even if the causes are not discovered by them, yet the phenomena themselves are capable of observation and study. But what opportunity was there for long-continued observation in the case where Nattas statue and the brazen tablets of laws were struck by lightning? The Nattas, you say, were of the Pinarian gens and of noble birth, therefore danger was to be expected from the nobility. So clever of Jupiter to devise such a means to warn us of danger! The statue of the infant Romulus, you observe, was struck by a thunderbolt; hence danger was thereby predicted to the city which he founded. How wise of Jupiter to use signs in conveying information to us! Again, you say, Jupiter statue was being set up at the very time the conspiracy was being exposed. You, of course, prefer to attribute this coincidence to a divine decree rather than to chance. The man to whom Cotta and Torquatus let the contract for the statue did not, I presume, delay the completion of his work either from lack of energy or from lack of funds, but his hand was stayed till the appointed hour by the immortal gods! 2.48. I am not a hopeless sceptic on the subject of such warnings really being sent by the gods; however, I do not know that they are and I want to learn the actual facts from you. Again, when certain other events occurred as they had been foretold by diviners and I attributed the coincidence to chance, you talked a long time about chance. You said, for example, For the Venus-throw to result from one cast of the four dice might be due to chance; but if a hundred Venus-throws resulted from one hundred casts this could not be due to chance. In the first place I do not know why it could not; but I do not contest the point, for you are full of the same sort of examples — like that about the scattering of the paints and that one about the hogs snout, and you had very many other examples besides. You also mentioned that myth from Carneades about the head of Pan — as if the likeness could not have been the result of chance! and as if every block of marble did not necessarily have within it heads worthy of Praxiteles! For his masterpieces were made by chipping away the marble, not by adding anything to it; and when, after much chipping, the lineaments of a face were reached, one then realized that the work now polished and complete had always been inside the block. 2.49. Therefore, it is possible that some such figure as Carneades described did spontaneously appear in the Chian quarries. On the other hand, the story may be untrue. Again, you have often noticed clouds take the form of a lion or a hippocentaur. Therefore it is possible for chance to imitate reality, and this you just now denied. But since entrails and lightnings have been sufficiently discussed it remains for us to examine portents, if we are to treat soothsaying in its entirety. You spoke of a mule bearing a colt. Such an event excites wonder because it seldom occurs; but if it had been impossible it would not have occurred. And it may be urged with effect against all portents that the impossible never has happened and that the possible need not excite any wonder. Now, in case of some new occurrence, ignorance of its cause is what excites our wonder; whereas, the same ignorance as to things of frequent occurrence does not. For the man who marvels that a mule has foaled does not understand how a mare foals and is ignorant of animal parturition in general. What he sees frequently causes him no astonishment even though he does not know how it happened. If something happens which he never saw before he considers it a portent. Then, which is the portent — the mules conception or its parturition? 2.50. The conception, it may be, is contrary to the usual course of nature, but the parturition follows as a necessary sequel of conception. It seems useless to say more about soothsaying. However, let us examine its origin and thus we shall very readily determine its value. The tradition is that, once upon a time, in the district of Tarquinii, while a field was being ploughed, the ploughshare went deeper than usual and a certain Tages suddenly sprang forth and spoke to the ploughman. Now this Tages, according to the Etruscan annals, is said to have had the appearance of a boy, but the wisdom of a seer. Astounded and much frightened at the sight, the rustic raised a great cry; a crowd gathered and, indeed, in a short time, the whole of Etruria assembled at the spot. Tages then spoke at length to his numerous hearers, who received with eagerness all that he had to say, and committed it to writing. His whole address was devoted to an exposition of the science of soothsaying. Later, as new facts were learned and tested by reference to the principles imparted by Tages, they were added to the original fund of knowledge.This is the story as we get it from the Etruscans themselves and as their records preserve it, and this, in their own opinion, is the origin of their art. 2.51. Now do we need a Carneades or an Epicurus to refute such nonsense? Who in the world is stupid enough to believe that anybody ever ploughed up — which shall I say — a god or a man? If a god, why did he, contrary to his nature, hide himself in the ground to be uncovered and brought to the light of day by a plough? Could not this so‑called god have delivered this art to mankind from a more exalted station? But if this fellow Tages was a man, pray, how could he have lived covered with earth? Finally, where had he himself learned the things he taught others? But really in spending so much time in refuting such stuff I am more absurd than the very people who believe it. But indeed, that was quite a clever remark which Cato made many years ago: I wonder, said he, that a soothsayer doesnt laugh when he sees another soothsayer. 2.52. For how many things predicted by them really come true? If any do come true, then what reason can be advanced why the agreement of the event with the prophecy was not due to chance? While Hannibal was in exile at the court of King Prusias he advised the king to go to war, but the king replied, I do not dare, because the entrails forbid. And do you, said Hannibal, put more reliance in piece of ox‑meat than you do in a veteran commander? Again, when Caesar himself was warned by a most eminent soothsayer not to cross over to Africa before the winter solstice, did he not cross? If he had not done so all the forces opposed to him would have effected a junction. Why need I give instances — and, in fact, I could give countless ones — where the prophecies of soothsayers either were without result or the issue was directly the reverse of the prophecy? 2.53. Ye gods, how many times were they mistaken in the late civil war! What oracular messages the soothsayers sent from Rome to our Pompeian party then in Greece! What assurances they gave to Pompey! For he placed great reliance in divination by means of entrails and portents. I have no wish to call these instances to mind, and indeed it is unnecessary — especially to you, since you had personal knowledge of them. Still, you are aware that the result was nearly always contrary to the prophecy. But enough on this point: let us now come to portents.  2.54. You have cited many instances of portents from the verses which I wrote during my consulship; you adduced many others which occurred prior to the Marsian War and which are included in Sisennas compilation, and you mentioned a great number which are recorded by Callisthenes and which preceded the unfortunate battle of the Spartans at Leuctra. I shall, of course, speak of each of these instances separately, in so far as they require notice; but I must first discuss portents generally. Now, what is the nature of these intimations, or of this advance-information, as it were, sent out by the gods to apprise us of coming disasters? In the first place, why do immortal gods see fit to give us warning which we cant understand without the aid of interpreters? In the next place, why do they warn us of things which we cannot avoid? Why, even a mortal, if he has a proper sense of duty, does not warn his friends of imminent disasters which can in no way be escaped. Physicians, for example, although they know many times that their patients are going to die of a present disease, yet never tell them so; for a forewarning of an evil is justified only when to the warning is joined a means of escape. 2.55. However, then, did portents of their interpreters help the Spartans of long ago, or our Pompeian friends in more recent times? If these signs you speak of are to be considered as sent by the gods, why were they so obscure? For, if we had the right to know what was going to happen, it should have been stated to us clearly: or, if the gods did not wish us to know, they should not have told us — even in riddles. Now every sort of conjecture — and divination depends on conjecture — is often applied by the wit of man to many different and even contradictory uses. As in judicial causes the prosecutor draws one inference and the lawyer for the defendant another from the same set of facts, and yet the inferences of both are plausible; so, in all investigations in which it is customary to employ conjecture, ambiguity is found. Moreover, in the case of things that happen now by chance now in the usual course of nature (sometimes too mistakes are caused by taking appearance for reality), it is the height of folly to hold the gods as the direct agents and not to inquire into the causes of such things. 2.56. You believe that the Boeotian bards at Lebadia foretold victory for the Thebans from the crowing of cocks; for cocks, you say, are wont to be silent when defeated and to crow when victorious. Do you really believe that Jupiter would have employed chickens to convey such a message to so great a state? And is it true that these fowls are not accustomed to crow except when they are victorious? But at that time they did crow and they had not yet been victorious. Oh! that was a portent, you say. A fine portent indeed! you talk as if a fish and not a cock had done the crowing! But come; is there any time, day or night, when they are not liable to crow? And if the pleasant sensation — or joy if you will — which comes from victory causes them to crow, then, possibly, joy springing from some other source may have the same effect. 2.57. By the way, Democritus gives a very good explanation of why cocks crow before day. Their food, he says, after it has been digested, is expelled from the craw and is distributed over the entire body. By the time that process is completed they have had sleep enough and begin to crow. And then, in the silence of the night, as Ennius says, they indulge their russet throats in song and beat their flapping wings. In view, then, of the fact that this creature is prone to crow of its own volition at any time, and may be made to crow either by nature or by chance, how did it ever occur to Callisthenes to say that the gods conveyed prophecies to men by the crowing of cocks?  2.58. Reports, you say, were made to the Senate that there was a shower of blood, that the river Atratus actually flowed with blood and that the statues of the gods dripped with sweat. You do not think for a moment that Thales, Anaxagoras, or any other natural philosopher would have believed such reports? Sweat and blood you may be sure do not come except from animate bodies. An effect strikingly like blood is produced by the admixture of water with certain kinds of soil; and the moisture which forms on the outside of objects, as we see it on our plastered walls when the south wind blows, seems to resemble sweat. Such occurrences, which in time of war appear to the timid to be most frequent and most real, are scarcely noticed in times of peace. Moreover, in periods of fear and of danger stories of portents are not only more readily believed, but they are invented with greater impunity. 2.59. But are we simple and thoughtless enough to think it a portent for mice to gnaw something, when gnawing is their one business in life? But, you say, the fact that just before the Marsian War mice gnawed the shields at Lanuvium was pronounced by the soothsayers to be a very direful portent. As if it mattered a whit whether mice, which are gnawing something day and night, gnawed shields or sieves! Hence, by the same token, the fact that, at my house, mice recently gnawed my Platos Republic should fill me with alarm for the Roman republic; or if they had gnawed my Epicurus On Pleasure I should have expected a rise in the market price of food!  2.60. Are we going to be frightened at these tales of portents, whether of animal or of human birth? Not to be too verbose, all portents have one and the same explanation and it is this: whatever comes into existence, of whatever kind, must needs find its cause in nature; and hence, even though it may be contrary to experience, it cannot be contrary to nature. Therefore, explore the cause, if you can, of every strange thing that the excites your astonishment. If you do not find the cause be assured, nevertheless, that nothing could have happened without a cause, and employ the principles of natural philosophy to banish the fear which the novelty of the apparition may have occasioned. Then no earthquake or opening of the heavens, no showers of stones or blood, no shooting stars, or comets, will fill you with alarm. 2.61. If I were to ask Chrysippus the causes of all the phenomena just mentioned, that distinguished writer on divination would never say that they happened by chance, but he would find an explanation for each of them in the laws of nature. For he would say: Nothing can happen without a cause; nothing actually happens that cannot happen; if that has happened which could have happened, then it should not be considered a portent; therefore there are no such things as portents. Now if a thing is to be considered a portent because it is seldom seen, then a wise man is a portent; for, as I think, it oftener happens that a mule brings forth a colt than that nature produces a sage. Chrysippus, in this connexion, gives the following syllogism: That which could not have happened never did happen; and that which could have happened is no portent; therefore, in any view, there is no such thing as a portent. 2.62. This is illustrated by the story of a clever response made by a certain diviner and interpreter of portents. A man referred to him for interpretation as a portent the fact that a snake was seen at his house, coiled about a beam. That was not a portent, said the diviner; it would have been if the beam had been wrapped around the snake. By this answer he said plainly enough: Nothing that can happen is to be considered a portent. You refer to a letter, written by Gaius Gracchus to Marcus Pomponius, stating that Tiberius Gracchus, father of Gaius, caught two snakes in his house and called together the soothsayers. And why a conference about snakes rather than about lizards or mice? You answer, Because we see lizards and mice every day; snakes we do not. As if it makes any difference how often a thing happens if it can happen at all! And yet what surprises me is this: If the release of the female snake was to be fatal to Tiberius Gracchus and that of the male was to be the death of Cornelia, why in the world did he let either snake escape? For Gaius in his letter does not state that the soothsayers expressed any opinion as to the result if neither snake had been released. Be that as it may, you reply, death overtook Gracchus. That is granted, but his death was caused by some very serious illness and not by the release of the snake. Besides, soothsayers are not so unlucky that their predictions never come true — even by accident!  2.63. I should, of course, marvel at that famous story you got out of Homer about Calchas predicting the years of the Trojan War from the number of sparrows — if I believed it! In a leisure moment I thus translated what Agamemnon in Homer says about this prophecy:Be patient, men; with fortitude endureYour grievous tasks till we can ascertainIf what our Calchas prophesies be true,Or only idle fancies of his breastFor all who have not left the light of day,In gloomy shades to dwell, retain these signsImprinted on their minds. When Aulis firstWas decked with Grecian fleets, which carried deathFor Priam, ruin for Troy, we stood aboutThe fountains cool and sought to please the godsWith gold-crowned bulls on smoking altars laid.Beneath the plane-trees shade, whence gushed a spring,We saw a frightful dragon, huge of size,With mighty folds, forth from an altar come,By Jove impelled. It seized some sparrows hidWithin the plane-trees leafy boughs and eightDevoured; the ninth — the mother bird — beganTo flutter round and utter plaintive cries:From her the cruel beast her vitals tore. 2.64. Now when the mother and her tender broodWere slain, the son of Saturn who had sentThe dragon forth, took it away; and thenDid change its form into enduring stone.In fear we stood and watched the monster strange,As midst the altars of the gods it moved.Then Calchas, full occurring, thus did speak:Why paralysed with sudden fear, O Greeks?These signs divine were sent by Jove himself.And though these tardy signs were long delayed,Their fame and glory will for ever live.The number of the birds ye saw destroyedBy horrid tooth, portends how many yearsof war we shall endure in front of Troy.The tenth year Troy will fall and then her fateWill satisfy the Greeks. Thus Calchas spokeAnd what he prophesied ye see fulfilled. 2.65. But, pray, by what principle of augury does he deduce years rather than months or days from the number of sparrows? Again, why does he base his prophecy on little sparrows which are not abnormal sights and ignore the alleged fact — which is impossible — that the dragon was turned to stone? Finally, what is there about a sparrow to suggest years? In connexion with your story of the snake which appeared to Sulla when he was offering sacrifices, I recall two facts: first, that when Sulla offered sacrifices, as he was about to begin his march against the enemy, a snake came out from under the altar; and, second, that the glorious victory won by him that day was due not to the soothsayers art, but to the skill of the general.  2.66. There is nothing remarkable about the so‑called portents of the kind just mentioned; but after they have happened they are brought within the field of prophecy by some interpretation Take, for example, your stories of the grains of wheat heaped into the mouth of Midas when a boy, and of the bees which settled on the lips of Plato, when he was a child — they are more remarkable as guesses than as real prophecies. Besides, the incidents may have been fictitious; if not, then the fulfilment of the prophecy may have been accidental. As to that incident about Roscius it may, of course, be untrue that a snake coiled itself around him; but it is not so surprising that a snake was in his cradle — especially in Solonium where snakes are attracted in large numbers by the heat of the fireplaces. As to your statement that the soothsayers prophesied a career of unrivalled brilliancy for Roscius, it is a strange thing to me that the immortal gods foretold the glory of a future actor and did not foretell that of Africanus! 2.67. And you have even collected the portent-stories connected with Flaminius: His horse, you say, stumbled and fell with him. That is very strange, isnt it? And, The standard of the first company could not be pulled up. Perhaps the standard-bearer had planted it stoutly and pulled it up timidly. What is astonishing in the fact that the horse of Dionysius came up out of the river, or that it had bees in its mane? And yet, because Dionysius began to reign a short time later — which was a mere coincidence — the event referred to is considered a portent! The arms sounded, you say, in the temple of Hercules in Sparta; the folding-doors of the same god at Thebes, though securely barred, opened of their own accord, and the shields hanging upon the walls of that temple fell to the ground. Now since none of these things could have happened without some exterior force, why should we say that they were brought about by divine agency rather than by chance?  2.68. You mention the appearance — a sudden appearance it was — of a crown of wild herbs on the head of Lysanders statue at Delphi. Really? And do you think the crown of herbs appeared before their seeds were formed? Besides, the wild herbs, in my opinion, came from seeds brought by birds and were not planted by human agency. Again, imagination can make anything on top of a head look like a crown. At the same time, you say, the golden stars in the temple of Castor and Pollux at Delphi fell down and were nowhere to be found. That appears to me to have been the work of thieves rather than of gods. 2.69. I am indeed astonished that Greek historians should have recorded the mischievous pranks of the Dodonean ape. For what is less strange than for this hideous beast to have turned over the vase and scattered the lots? And yet the historians declare that no portent more direful than this ever befell the Spartans!You spoke also of the Veientine prophecy that if Lake Albanus overflowed and emptied into the sea, Rome would fall, but if held in check Veii would fall. Well, it turned out that the water from the lake was drawn off — but it was drawn off through irrigation ditches — not to save the Capitol and the city, but to improve the farming lands. And, not long after this occurred, a voice was heard, you say, warning the people to take steps to prevent the capture of Rome by the Gauls. Therefore an altar was erected on the Nova Via in honour of Aius the Speaker. But why? Did your Aius the Speaker, before anybody knew who he was, both speak and talk and from that fact receive his name? And after he had secured a seat, an altar, and a name did he become mute? Your Juno Moneta may likewise be dismissed with a question: What did she ever admonish us about except the pregt sow?  2.70. Enough has been said of portents; auspices remain and so do lots — I mean lots that are drawn, and not those uttered by prophets, and more correctly styled oracles. I shall speak of oracles when I get to natural divination. In addition I must discuss the Chaldeans. But first let us consider auspices. To argue against auspices is a hard thing, you say, for an augur to do. Yes, for a Marsian, perhaps; but very easy for a Roman. For we Roman augurs are not the sort who foretell the future by observing the flights of birds and other signs. And yet, I admit that Romulus, who founded the city by the direction of auspices, believed that augury was an art useful in seeing things to come — for the ancients had erroneous views on many subjects. But we see that the art has undergone a change, due to experience, education, or the long lapse of time. However, out of respect for the opinion of the masses and because of the great service to the State we maintain the augural practices, discipline, religious rites and laws, as well as the authority of the augural college. 2.71. In my opinion the consuls, Publius Claudius and Lucius Junius, who set sail contrary to the auspices, were deserving of capital punishment; for they should have respected the established religion and should not have treated the customs of their forefathers with such shameless disdain. Therefore it was a just retribution that the former was condemned by a vote of the people and that the latter took his own life. Flaminius, you say, did not obey the auspices, therefore he perished with his army. But a year later Paulus did obey them; and did he not lose his army and his life in the battle of Cannae? Granting that there are auspices (as there are not), certainly those which we ordinarily employ — whether by the tripudium or by the observation of the heavens — are not auspices in any sense, but are the mere ghosts of auspices. Quintus Fabius, I wish you to assist me at the auspices. He answers, I will. (In our forefathers time the magistrates on such occasions used to call in some expert person to take the auspices — but in these days anyone will do. But one must be an expert to know what constitutes silence, for by that term we mean free of every augural defect. 2.72. To understand that belongs to a perfect augur.) After the celebrant has said to his assistant, Tell me when silence appears to exist, the latter, without looking up or about him, immediately replies, Silence appears to exist. Then the celebrant says, Tell me when the chickens begin to eat. They are eating now, is the answer. But what are these birds they are talking about, and where are they? Someone replies, Its poultry. Its in a cage and the person who brought it is called a poulterer, because of his business. These, then, are the messengers of Jove! What difference does it make whether they eat or not? None, so far as the auspices are concerned. But, because of the fact that, while they eat, some food must necessarily fall from their mouths and strike upon the ground (terram pavire), — this at first was called terripavium, and later, terripudium; now it is called tripudium — therefore, when a crumb of food falls from a chickens mouth a tripudium solistimum is announced to the celebrant.  2.73. Then, how can there be anything divine about an auspice so forced and so extorted? That such a practice did not prevail with the augurs of ancient times is proven by an old ruling of our college which says, Any bird may make a tripudium. There might be an auspice if the bird were free to show itself outside its cage. In that case it might be called the interpreter and satellite of Jove. But now, when shut up inside a cage and tortured by hunger, if it seizes greedily upon its morsel of pottage and something falls from its mouth, do you consider that is an auspice? Or do you believe that this was the way in which Romulus used to take the auspices? 2.74. Again, do you not think that formerly it was the habit of the celebrants themselves to make observation of the heavens? Now they order the poulterer, and he gives responses! We regard lightning on the left as a most favourable omen for everything except for an election, and this exception was made, no doubt, from reasons of political expediency so that the rulers of the State would be the judges of the regularity of an election, whether held to pass judgements in criminal cases, or to enact laws, or to elect magistrates.The consuls, Scipio and Figulus, you say, resigned their office when the augurs rendered a decision based on a letter written by Tiberius Gracchus, to the effect that those consuls had not been elected according to augural law. Who denies that augury is an art? What I deny is the existence of divination. But you say: Soothsayers have the power of divination; and you mention the fact that, on account of the unexpected death of the person who had suddenly fallen while bringing in the report of the vote of the prerogative century, Tiberius Gracchus introduced the soothsayers into the Senate and they declared that the president had violated augural law. 2.87. for no magistrate and no man of any reputation ever consults them; but in all other places lots have gone entirely out of use. And this explains the remark which, according to Clitomachus, Carneades used to make that he had at no other place seen Fortune more fortunate than at Praeneste. Then let us dismiss this branch of divination. Let us come to Chaldean manifestations. In discussing them Platos pupil, Eudoxus, whom the best scholars consider easily the first in astronomy, has left the following opinion in writing: No reliance whatever is to be placed in Chaldean astrologers when they profess to forecast a mans future from the position of the stars on the day of his birth. 2.88. Panaetius, too, who was the only one of the Stoics to reject the prophecies of astrologers, mentions Anchialus and Cassander as the greatest astronomers of his day and states that they did not employ their art as a means of divining, though they were eminent in all other branches of astronomy. Scylax of Halicarnassus, an intimate friend of Panaetius, and an eminent astronomer, besides being the head of the government in his own city, utterly repudiated the Chaldean method of foretelling the future. 2.89. But let us dismiss our witnesses and employ reasoning. Those men who defend the natal-day prophecies of the Chaldeans, argue in this way: In the starry belt which the Greeks call the Zodiac there is a certain force of such a nature that every part of that belt affects and changes the heavens in a different way, according to the stars that are in this or in an adjoining locality at a given time. This force is variously affected by those stars which are called planets or wandering stars. But when they have come into that sign of the Zodiac under which someone is born, or into a sign having some connexion with or accord with the natal sign, they form what is called a triangle or square. Now since, through the procession and retrogression of the stars, the great variety and change of the seasons and of temperature take place, and since the power of the sun produces such results as are before our eyes, they believe that it is not merely probable, but certain, that just as the temperature of the air is regulated by this celestial force, so also children at their birth are influenced in soul and body and by this force their minds, manners, disposition, physical condition, career in life and destinies are determined.  2.90. What inconceivable madness! For it is not enough to call an opinion foolishness when it is utterly devoid of reason. However, Diogenes the Stoic makes some concessions to the Chaldeans. He says that they have the power of prophecy to the extent of being able to tell the disposition of any child and the calling for which he is best fitted. All their other claims of prophetic powers he absolutely denies. He says, for example, that twins are alike in appearance, but that they generally unlike in career and in fortune. Procles and Eurysthenes, kings of the Lacedaemonians, were twin brothers. 2.91. But they did not live the same number of years, for the life of Procles was shorter by a year than that of his brother and his deeds were far more glorious. But for my part I say that even this concession which our excellent friend Diogenes makes to the Chaldeans in a sort of collusive way, is in itself unintelligible. For the Chaldeans, according to their own statements, believe that a persons destiny is affected by the condition of the moon at the time of his birth, and hence they make and record their observations of the stars which anything in conjunction with the moon on his birthday. As a result, in forming their judgements, they depend on the sense of sight, which is the least trustworthy of the senses, whereas they should employ reason and intelligence. For the science of mathematics which the Chaldeans ought to know, teaches us how close the moon comes to the earth, which indeed it almost touches; how far it is from Mercury, the nearest star; how much further yet it is from Venus; and what a great interval separates it from the sun, which is supposed to give it light. The three remaining distances are beyond computation: from the Sun to Mars, from Mars to Jupiter, from Jupiter to Saturn. Then there is the distance from Saturn to the limits of heaven — the ultimate bounds of space. 2.92. In view, therefore, of these almost limitless distances, what influence can the planets exercise upon the moon, or rather, upon the earth? Again, when the Chaldeans say, as they are bound to do, that all persons born anywhere in the habitable earth under the same horoscope, are alike and must have the same fate, is it not evident that these would‑be interpreters of the sky are of a class who are utterly ignorant of the nature of the sky? For the earth is, as it were, divided in half and our view limited by those circles which the Greeks call ὁρίζοντες, and which we may in all accuracy term finientes or horizons. Now these horizons vary without limit according to the position of the spectator. Hence, of necessity, the rising and setting of the stars will not occur at the same time for all persons. 2.93. But if this stellar force affects the heavens now in one way and now in another, how is it possible for this force to operate alike on all persons who are born at the same time, in view of the fact that they are born under vastly different skies? In those places in which we live the Dog-star rises after the solstice, in fact, several days later. But among the Troglodytes, we read, it sets before the solstice. Hence if we should now admit that some stellar influence affects persons who are born upon the earth, then it must be conceded that all persons born at the same time may have different natures owing to the differences in their horoscopes. This is a conclusion by no means agreeable to the astrologers; for they insist that all persons born at the same time, regardless of the place of birth, are born to the same fate.  2.94. But what utter madness in these astrologers, in considering the effect of the vast movements and changes in the heavens, to assume that wind and rain and weather anywhere have no effect at birth! In neighbouring places conditions in these respects are so different that frequently, for instance, we have one state of weather at Tusculum and another at Rome. This is especially noticeable to mariners who often observe extreme changes of weather take place while they rounding the capes. Therefore, in view of the fact that the heavens are now serene and now disturbed by storms, is it the part of a reasonable man to say that this fact has no natal influence — and of course it has not — and then assert that a natal influence is exerted by some subtle, imperceptible, well-nigh inconceivable force which is due to the condition of the sky, which condition, in turn, is due to the action of the moon and stars?Again, is it no small error of judgement that the Chaldeans fail to realize the effect of the parental seed which is an essential element of the process of generation? For, surely, no one fails to see that the appearance and habits, and generally, the carriage and gestures of children are derived from their parents. This would not be the case if the characteristics of children were determined, not by the natural power of heredity, but by the phases of the moon and by the condition of the sky. 2.95. And, again, the fact that men who were born at the very same instant, are unlike in character, career, and in destiny, makes it very clear that the time of birth has nothing to do in determining mans course in life. That is, unless perchance we are to believe that nobody else was conceived and born at the very same time that Africanus was. For was there ever anyone like him?  2.96. Furthermore, is it not a well-known and undoubted fact that many persons who were born with certain natural defects have been restored completely by Nature herself, after she had resumed her sway, or by surgery or by medicine? For example, some, who were so tongue-tied that they could not speak, have had their tongues set free by a cut from the surgeons knife. Many more have corrected a natural defect by intelligent exertion. Demosthenes is an instance: according to the account given by Phalereus, he was unable to pronounce the Greek letter rho, but by repeated effort learned to articulate it perfectly. But if such defects had been engendered and implanted by a star nothing could have changed them. Do not unlike places produce unlike men? It would be an easy matter to sketch rapidly in passing the differences in mind and body which distinguish the Indians from the Persians and the Ethiopians from the Syrians — differences so striking and so pronounced as to be incredible. 2.97. Hence it is evident that ones birth is more affected by local environment than by the condition of the moon. of course, the statement quoted by you that the Babylonians for 470, years had taken the horoscope of every child and had tested it by the results, is untrue; for if this had been their habit they would not have abandoned it. Moreover we find no writer who says that the practice exists or who knows that it ever did exist. You observe that I am not repeating the arguments of Carneades, but those of Panaetius, the head of the Stoic school. But now on my own initiative I put the following questions: Did all the Romans who fell at Cannae have the same horoscope? Yet all had one and the same end. Were all the men eminent for intellect and genius born under the same star? Was there ever a day when countless numbers were not born? And yet there never was another Homer. 2.98. Again: if it matters under what aspect of the sky or combination of the stars every animate being is born, then necessarily the same conditions must affect iimate beings also: can any statement be more ridiculous than that? Be that as it may, our good friend Lucius Tarutius of Firmum, who was steeped in Chaldaic lore, made a calculation, based on the assumption that our citys birthday was on the Feast of Pales (at which time tradition says it was founded by Romulus), and from that calculation Tarutius even went so far as to assert that Rome was born when the moon was in the sign of Libra and from that fact unhesitatingly prophesied her destiny. 2.99. What stupendous power delusion has! And was the citys natal day also subject to the influence of the moon and stars? Assume, if you will, that it matters in the case of a child under what arrangement of the heavenly bodies it draws its first breath, does it also follow that the stars could have had any influence over the bricks and cement of which the city was built? But why say more against a theory which every days experience refutes? I recall a multitude of prophecies which the Chaldeans made to Pompey, to Crassus and even to Caesar himself (now lately deceased), to the effect that no one of them would die except in old age, at home and in great glory. Hence it would seem very strange to me should anyone, especially at this time, believe in men whose predictions he sees disproved every day by actual results.  2.150. Sleep is regarded as a refuge from every toil and care; but it is actually made the fruitful source of worry and fear. In fact dreams would be less regarded on their own account and would be viewed with greater indifference had they not been taken under the guardianship of philosophers — not philosophers of the meaner sort, but those of the keenest wit, competent to see what follows logically and what does not — men who are considered well-nigh perfect and infallible. Indeed, if their arrogance had not been resisted by Carneades, it is probable that by this time they would have adjudged the only philosophers. While most of my war of words has been with these men, it is not because I hold them in especial contempt, but on the contrary, it is because they seem to me to defend their own views with the greatest acuteness and skill. Moreover, it is characteristic of the Academy to put forward no conclusions of its own, but to approve those which seem to approach nearest to the truth; to compare arguments; to draw forth all that may be said in behalf of any opinion; and, without asserting any authority of its own, to leave the judgement of the inquirer wholly free. That same method, which by the way we inherited from Socrates, I shall, if agreeable to you, my dear Quintus, follow as often as possible in our future discussions.Nothing could please me better, Quintus replied.When this was said, we arose.