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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



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Cicero, Academica, 2.7-2.9
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1. Cicero, Academica, 1.13, 1.17, 1.44, 1.46, 2.8-2.9, 2.104 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.13. Tum ille: 'Istuc quidem considerabo, nec vero sine te. sed de te ipso quid est' inquit quod audio? Quanam inquam de re? VA. Relictam a te veterem Academiam Academiam Bentl. iam *g*d inquit, tractari autem novam. Quid ergo inquam Antiocho id magis licuerit nostro familiari, remigrare in domum veterem e nova, quam nobis in novam e vetere? certe enim recentissima quaeque sunt correcta et emendata maxime. quamquam Antiochi magister Philo, pholo *g magnus vir ut tu existimas estimas vel ex(s)t- *g ipse, †negaret negat Dav. negare solet Pl. in libris, quod coram etiam ex ipso audiebamus, duas Academias esse, erroremque eorum qui ita putarent coarguit. VA. Est inquit ut dicis; sed ignorare te non arbitror quae contra Philonis Antiochus scripserit. scripsit gf 1.17. Platonis autem auctoritate, qui varius et multiplex et copiosus fuit, una et consentiens duobus vocabulis philosophiae forma instituta constituta *g est Academicorum et Peripateticorum, qui rebus congruentes nominibus differebant. nam cum Speusippum sororis filium Plato philosophiae quasi heredem reliquisset, duo duos p 2 p 1 p 2 rg 2 f c autem praestantissimo praestatnissimos mn studio atque doctrina, Xenocratem Calchedonium et Aristotelem Stagiritem, qui erant cum Aristotele Peripatetici dicti sunt, quia disputabant inambulantes in Lycio, illi autem, quia quia *g*p qui wn Platonis instituto in Academia, quod est alterum gymnasium, coetus erant et sermones habere soliti, e loci vocabulo nomen habuerunt. sed utrique Platonis ubertate completi certam quandam disciplinae formulam composuerunt et eam quidem plenam ac refertam, illam autem Socraticam dubitanter dubitanter Bai. -tantem *g -tationem *d (tionem in ras. p ) de omnibus rebus et nulla affirmatione adhibita consuetudinem consuetudine mn ; adh. cons. in. ras. p disserendi reliquerunt. ita facta est, est disserendi *d (diss. in ras. p ) quod minime Socrates probabat, ars quaedam philosophiae et rerum ordo et descriptio disciplinae. 1.44. Tum ego Cum Zenone inquam “ut accepimus Arcesilas sibi omne certamen instituit, non pertinacia aut studio vincendi ut quidem mihi quidem mihi *gp videtur, sed earum rerum obscuritate, quae ad confessionem ignorationis adduxerant Socratem et vel ut iam ante et iam ante Dav. ad Lact. epit. 32 et ueluti amantes *g*d Socratem Democritum Anaxagoram Empedoclem omnes paene veteres, qui nihil cognosci nihil percipi nihil sciri posse dixerunt, angustos sensus imbecillos inbecilles p 1 sgf animos brevia curricula vitae et et om. sgf ut Democritus cf. p. 43, 13 in profundo veritatem esse demersam, demersam gfx dim- smnp m diuersam *d opinionibus et institutis omnia teneri, nihil veritati ueritate *g relinqui, deinceps deinceps denique Bentl. densis IACvHeusde ' Cic. filopla/twn ' ( 1836 ) 236 n. 1 omnia tenebris circumfusa esse dixerunt. cf. Lact. inst. 3, 4, 11. 28, 12 s. 30, 6 Democr. fr. 117 Deiels Emped. fr. 2 D. ( Kranz Herm. 47, 29 n. 2 ) 1.46. Hanc Academiam novam appellant, quae mihi vetus videtur, si quidem Platonem ex illa vetere numeramus, cuius in libris nihil affirmatur et in utramque partem multa disseruntur, de omnibus quaeritur nihil certi dicitur—sed tamen illa quam exposuisti exposuisti Dur. exposui *g*d ; an a Cicerone neglegenter scriptum ? vetus, haec nova nominetur. quae usque ad Carneadem perducta, producta mn (per in ras. p ) qui quartus ab Arcesila fuit, in eadem Arcesilae ratione permansit. Carneades autem nullius philosophiae partis ignarus et, ut cognovi ex is qui illum audierant maximeque ex Epicureo Epicureo ms -ZZZo *g*d Zenone, qui cum ab eo plurimum dissentiret unum tamen praeter ceteros mirabatur, incredibili quadam fuit facultate et to fuit īo facultate et do m 1, īo del. et do ctrina m 2 ; et to om. *dn et co pia dicendi Chr. ” quid autem stomachatur stomachetur Sig. Mnesarchus, quid Antipater digladiatur Non. p. 65 (digladiari) digladiatur F 1 -etur cett. cum Carneade tot voluminibus? *
2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.7, 2.8-2.9, 2.15, 2.150 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.7. Sed haec quidem laus Academiae praestantissumi philosophi iudicio et testimonio conprobata est. Etenim nobismet ipsis quaerentibus, quid sit de divinatione iudicandum, quod a Carneade multa acute et copiose contra Stoicos disputata sint, verentibusque, ne temere vel falsae rei vel non satis cognitae adsentiamur, faciendum videtur, ut diligenter etiam atque etiam argumenta cum argumentis comparemus, ut fecimus in iis tribus libris, quos de natura deorum scripsimus. Nam cum omnibus in rebus temeritas in adsentiendo errorque turpis est, tum in eo loco maxime, in quo iudicandum est, quantum auspiciis rebusque divinis religionique tribuamus; est enim periculum, ne aut neglectis iis impia fraude aut susceptis anili superstitione obligemur. 2.8. Nam cum de divinatione Quintus frater ea disseruisset, quae superiore libro scripta sunt, satisque ambulatum videretur, tum in bibliotheca, quae in Lycio est, adsedimus. Atque ego: Adcurate tu quidem, inquam, Quinte, et Stoice Stoicorum sententiam defendisti, quodque me maxime delectat, plurimis nostris exemplis usus es, et iis quidem claris et inlustribus. Dicendum est mihi igitur ad ea, quae sunt a te dicta, sed ita, nihil ut adfirmem, quaeram omnia, dubitans plerumque et mihi ipse diffidens. Si enim aliquid certi haberem, quod dicerem, ego ipse divinarem, qui esse divinationem nego. 2.9. Etenim me movet illud, quod in primis Carneades quaerere solebat, quarumnam rerum divinatio esset, earumne, quae sensibus perciperentur. At eas quidem cernimus, audimus, gustamus, olfacimus, tangimus. Num quid ergo in his rebus est, quod provisione aut permotione mentis magis quam natura ipsa sentiamus? aut num nescio qui ille divinus, si oculis captus sit, ut Tiresias fuit, possit, quae alba sint, quae nigra, dicere aut, si surdus sit, varietates vocum aut modos noscere? Ad nullam igitur earum rerum, quae sensu accipiuntur, divinatio adhibetur. Atqui ne in iis quidem rebus, quae arte tractantur, divinatione opus est. Etenim ad aegros non vates aut hariolos, sed medicos solemus adducere, nec vero, qui fidibus aut tibiis uti volunt, ab haruspicibus accipiunt earum tractationem, sed a musicis. 2.15. Potestne igitur earum rerum, quae nihil habent rationis, quare futurae sint, esse ulla praesensio? Quid est enim aliud fors, quid fortuna, quid casus, quid eventus, nisi cum sic aliquid cecidit, sic evenit, ut vel aliter cadere atque evenire potuerit? Quo modo ergo id, quod temere fit caeco casu et volubilitate fortunae, praesentiri et praedici potest? 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. 1.7. At any rate, this praiseworthy tendency of the Academy to doubt has been approved by the solemn judgement of a most eminent philosopher. [4] Accordingly, since I, too, am in doubt as to the proper judgement to be rendered in regard to divination because of the many pointed and exhaustive arguments urged by Carneades against the Stoic view, and since I am afraid of giving a too hasty assent to a proposition which may turn out either false or insufficiently established, I have determined carefully and persistently to compare argument with argument just as I did in my three books On the Nature of the Gods. For a hasty acceptance of an erroneous opinion is discreditable in any case, and especially so in an inquiry as to how much weight should be given to auspices, to sacred rites, and to religious observances; for we run the risk of committing a crime against the gods if we disregard them, or of becoming involved in old womens superstition if we approve them. [5] 1.7. As briefly as I could, I have discussed divination by means of dreams and frenzy, which, as I said, are devoid of art. Both depend on the same reasoning, which is that habitually employed by our friend Cratippus: The human soul is in some degree derived and drawn from a source exterior to itself. Hence we understand that outside the human soul there is a divine soul from which the human soul is sprung. Moreover, that portion of the human soul which is endowed with sensation, motion, and carnal desire is inseparable from bodily influence; while that portion which thinks and reasons is most vigorous when it is most distant from the body. 2.8. After my brother Quintus had delivered his views on divination, as set out in the preceding volume, and we had walked as much as we wished, we took our seats in the library in my Lyceum, and I remarked:Really, my dear Quintus, you have defended the Stoic doctrine with accuracy and like a Stoic. But the thing that delights me most is the fact that you illustrated your argument with many incidents taken from Roman sources — incidents, too, of a distinguished and noble type. I must now reply to what you said, but I must do so with great diffidence and with many misgivings, and in such a way as to affirm nothing and question everything. For if I should assume anything that I said to be certain I should myself be playing the diviner while saying that no such thing as divination exists! 2.8. Then dismiss Romuluss augural staff, which you say the hottest of fires was powerless to burn, and attach slight importance to the whetstone of Attus Navius. Myths would have no place in philosophy. It would have been more in keeping with your rôle as a philosopher to consider, first, the nature of divination generally, second, its origin, and third, its consistency. What, then, is the nature of an art which makes prophets out of birds that wander aimlessly about — now here, now there — and makes the action or inaction of men depend upon the song or flight of birds? and why was the power granted to some birds to give a favourable omen when on the left side and to others when on the right? Again, however, when, and by whom, shall we say that the system was invented? The Etruscans, it is true, find the author of their system in the boy who was ploughed up out of the ground; but whom have we? Attus Navius? But Romulus and Remus, both of whom, by tradition, were augurs, lived many years earlier. Are we to say that it was invented by the Pisidians, Cilicians, or Phrygians? It is your judgement, then, that those devoid of human learning are the authors of a divine science! [39] 2.9. I am impressed with the force of the questions with which Carneades used to begin his discussions: What are the things within the scope of divination? Are they things that are perceived by the senses? But those are things that we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Is there, then, in such objects some quality that we can better perceive with the aid of prophecy and inspiration than we can with the aid of the senses alone? And is there any diviner, anywhere, who, if blind, like Tiresias, could tell the difference between white and black? Or, who, if deaf, could distinguish between different voices and different tones? Now you must admit that divination is not applicable in any case where knowledge is gained through the senses.Nor is there any need of divination even in matters within the domain of science and of art. For, when people are sick, we, as a general rule, do not summon a prophet or a seer, but we call in a physician. Again, persons who want to learn to play on the harp or on the flute take lessons, not from a soothsayer, but from a musician. 2.9. 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. 2.15. Can there, then, be any foreknowledge of things for whose happening no reason exists? For we do not apply the words chance, luck, accident, or casualty except to an event which has so occurred or happened that it either might not have occurred at all, or might have occurred in any other way. How, then, is it possible to foresee and to predict an event that happens at random, as the result of blind accident, or of unstable chance? 2.15. 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.
3. Cicero, On The Ends of Good And Evil, 1.27, 2.2-2.3, 4.3 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.27. Fieri, inquam, Triari, nullo pacto potest, ut non dicas, quid non probes eius, a quo dissentias. quid enim me prohiberet Epicureum esse, si probarem, quae ille diceret? cum praesertim illa perdiscere ludus esset. quam ob rem dissentientium inter se reprehensiones reprehensiones dissenciencium inter se BE non sunt vituperandae, maledicta, contumeliae, tum iracundiae, contentiones concertationesque in disputando pertinaces indignae philosophia mihi videri solent. 2.2. sed et illum, quem nominavi, et ceteros sophistas, ut e Platone intellegi potest, lusos videmus a Socrate. is enim percontando percontando A 2 percun- tando NV percunctando A 1 BE per cunctando R atque interrogando elicere solebat eorum opiniones, quibuscum disserebat, ut ad ea, ea haec R quae ii ii hi BER hii A hij NV respondissent, si quid videretur, diceret. qui mos cum a posterioribus non esset retentus, Arcesilas archesilas A acesilaos N achesilas V eum revocavit instituitque ut ii, qui se audire vellent, non de se quaererent, sed ipsi dicerent, quid sentirent; quod cum dixissent, ille contra. sed eum eum om. RNV qui audiebant, quoad poterant, defendebant sententiam suam. apud ceteros autem philosophos, qui quaesivit aliquid, tacet; quod quidem iam fit etiam etiam om. BER in Academia. ubi enim is, qui audire vult, ita dixit: 'Voluptas mihi videtur esse summum bonum', perpetua oratione contra disputatur, ut facile intellegi possit eos, qui aliquid sibi videri sibi aliquid (aliquit E) videri BE aliquid videri sibi V dicant, non ipsos in ea sententia esse, sed audire velle contraria. Nos commodius agimus. 2.3. non enim solum Torquatus dixit quid sentiret, sed etiam cur. ego autem arbitror, quamquam admodum delectatus sum eius oratione perpetua, tamen commodius, cum in rebus singulis insistas et intellegas quid quisque concedat, quid abnuat, ex rebus concessis concludi quod velis et ad exitum perveniri. cum enim fertur quasi torrens oratio, quamvis multa cuiusque modi rapiat, nihil tamen teneas, nihil apprehendas, reprehendas BE nusquam orationem rapidam cœrceas. Omnis autem in quaerendo, quae via quadam et ratione habetur, oratio praescribere primum debet ut quibusdam in formulis ea res agetur, ut, inter quos disseritur, conveniat quid sit id, de quo disseratur. 4.3. Existimo igitur, inquam, Cato, veteres illos Platonis auditores, auditores Platonis BE Speusippum, Aristotelem, Xenocratem, deinde eorum, Polemonem, Theophrastum, satis et copiose et eleganter habuisse constitutam disciplinam, ut non esset causa Zenoni, cum Polemonem audisset, cur et ab eo ipso et a superioribus dissideret. quorum fuit haec institutio, in qua animadvertas velim quid mutandum putes nec expectes, dum ad omnia dicam, quae a te a te ed. princ. Rom. ante dicta sunt; universa enim illorum ratione cum tota vestra confligendum puto. 2.2.  But we read how Socrates made fun of the aforesaid Gorgias, and the rest of the Sophists also, as we can learn from Plato. His own way was to question his interlocutors and by a process of cross-examination to elicit their opinions, so that he might express his own views by way of rejoinder to their answers. This practice was abandoned by his successors, but was afterwards revived by Arcesilas, who made it a rule that those who wished to hear him should not ask him questions but should state their own opinions; and when they had done so he argued against them. But whereas the pupils of Arcesilas did their best to defend their own position, with the rest of the philosophers the student who has put a question is then silent; and indeed this is nowadays the custom even in the Academy. The would‑be learner says, for example, 'The Chief Good in my opinion is pleasure,' and the contrary is then maintained in a formal discourse; so that it is not hard to realize that those who say they are of a certain opinion do not actually hold the view they profess, but want to hear what can be argued against it. 2.3.  We are adopting a more profitable mode of procedure, for Torquatus has not only told us his own opinion but also his reasons for holding it. Still, for my part, though I enjoyed his long discourse very much, I believe all the same that it is better to stop at point after point, and make out what each person is willing to admit and what he denies, and then to draw such inferences as one desires from these admissions and so arrive at one's conclusion. When the exposition goes rushing on like a mountain stream in spate, it carries along with it a vast amount of miscellaneous material, but there is nothing one can take hold of or rescue from the flood; there is no point at which one can stem the torrent of oratory. "However, in philosophical investigation a methodical and systematic discourse must always begin by formulating a preamble like that which occurs in certain forms of process at law, 'The issue shall be as follows'; so that the parties to the debate may be agreed as to what the subject is about which they are debating.   4.3.  "My view, then, Cato," I proceeded, "is this, that those old disciples of Plato, Speusippus, Aristotle and Xenocrates, and afterwards their pupils Polemo and Theophrastus, had developed a doctrine that left nothing to be desired either in fullness or finish, so that Zeno on becoming the pupil of Polemo had no reason for differing either from his master himself or from his master's predecessors. The outline of their theory was as follows — but I should be glad if you would call attention to any point you may desire to correct without waiting while I deal with the whole of your discourse; for I think I shall have to place their entire system in conflict with the whole of yours.
4. Cicero, On Invention, 2.4-2.5, 2.7-2.8 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.4. Quod quoniam nobis quoque voluntatis accidit, ut artem dicendi perscriberemus, non unum aliquod pro- posuimus exemplum, cuius omnes partes, quocumque essent in genere, exprimendae nobis necessarie vi- derentur; sed omnibus unum in locum coactis scripto- ribus, quod quisque commodissime praecipere vide- batur, excerpsimus et ex variis ingeniis excellentis- sima quaeque libavimus. ex iis enim, qui nomine et memoria digni sunt, nec nihil optime nec omnia prae- clarissime quisquam dicere nobis videbatur. quapropter stultitia visa est aut a bene inventis alicuius recedere, si quo in vitio eius offenderemur, aut ad vitia eius quoque accedere, cuius aliquo bene praecepto duceremur. 2.5. quodsi in ceteris quoque studiis a multis eligere homines commodissimum quodque quam sese uni alicui certe vellent addicere, minus in arrogan- tia m offenderent; non tanto opere in vitiis perse- verarent; aliquanto levius ex inscientia laborarent. ac si par in nobis huius artis atque in illo picturae scientia fuisset, fortasse magis hoc in suo genere opus nostrum quam illius in suo pictura nobilis eniteret. ex maiore enim copia nobis quam illi fuit exemplorum eligendi potestas. ille una ex urbe et ex eo numero virginum, quae tum erant, eligere potuit; nobis omnium, quicum- que fuerunt ab ultimo principio huius praeceptionis usque ad hoc tempus, expositis copiis, quodcumque placeret, eligendi potestas fuit. 2.7. plicatorem revertantur. atque hic quidem ipse et sese ipsum nobis et eos, qui ante fuerunt, in medio po- suit, ut ceteros et se ipsum per se cognosceremus; ab hoc autem qui profecti sunt, quamquam in maximis philosophiae partibus operae plurimum con- sumpserunt, sicuti ipse, cuius instituta sequebantur, fe- cerat, tamen permulta nobis praecepta dicendi relique- runt. atque alii quoque alio ex fonte praeceptores di- cendi emanaverunt, qui item permultum ad dicendum, si quid ars proficit, opitulati sunt. nam fuit tempore eodem, quo Aristoteles, magnus et nobilis rhetor Iso- crates; 2.8. cuius ipsius quam constet esse artem non in- venimus. discipulorum autem atque eorum, qui pro- tinus ab hac sunt disciplina profecti, multa de arte praecepta reperimus. ex his duabus diversis sicuti fa- miliis, quarum altera cum versaretur in philosophia, nonnullam rhetoricae quoque artis sibi curam assume- bat, altera vero omnis in dicendi erat studio et prae- ceptione occupata, unum quoddam est conflatum ge- nus a posterioribus, qui ab utrisque ea, quae com- mode dici videbantur, in suas artes contulerunt; quos ipsos simul atque illos superiores nos nobis omnes, quoad facultas tulit, proposuimus et ex nostro quoque nonnihil in commune contulimus.
5. Cicero, On Laws, 1.39 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

6. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 1.1, 1.3-1.4, 1.6, 1.10-1.12, 1.57-1.61, 2.2, 2.168, 3.3, 3.5, 3.95 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.1. There are a number of branches of philosophy that have not as yet been by any means adequately explored; but the inquiry into the nature of the gods, which is both highly interesting in relation to the theory of the soul, and fundamentally important for the regulation of religion, is one of special difficulty and obscurity, as you, Brutus, are well aware. The multiplicity and variety of the opinions held upon this subject by eminent scholars are bound to constitute a strong argument for the view that philosophy has its origin and starting-point in ignorance, and that the Academic School were well-advised in "withholding assent" from beliefs that are uncertain: for what is more unbecoming than ill‑considered haste? and what is so ill‑considered or so unworthy of the dignity and seriousness proper to a philosopher as to hold an opinion that is not true, or to maintain with unhesitating certainty a proposition not based on adequate examination, comprehension and knowledge? 1.3. For there are and have been philosophers who hold that the gods exercise no control over human affairs whatever. But if their opinion is the true one, how can piety, reverence or religion exist? For all these are tributes which it is our duty to render in purity and holiness to the divine powers solely on the assumption that they take notice of them, and that some service has been rendered by the immortal gods to the race of men. But if on the contrary the gods have neither the power nor the will to aid us, if they pay no heed to us at all and take no notice of our actions, if they can exercise no possible influence upon the life of men, what ground have we for rendering any sort of worship, honour or prayer to the immortal gods? Piety however, like the rest of the virtues, cannot exist in mere outward show and pretence; and, with piety, reverence and religion must likewise disappear. And when these are gone, life soon becomes a welter of disorder and confusion; 1.4. and in all probability the disappearance of piety towards the gods will entail the disappearance of loyalty and social union among men as well, and of justice itself, the queen of all the virtues. There are however other philosophers, and those of eminence and note, who believe that the whole world is ruled and governed by divine intelligence and reason; and not this only, but also that the gods' providence watches over the life of men; for they think that the cornº and other fruits of the earth, and also the weather and the seasons and the changes of the atmosphere by which all the products of the soil are ripened and matured, are the gift of the immortal gods to the human race; and they adduce a number of things, which will be recounted in the books that compose the present treatise, that are of such a nature as almost to appear to have been expressly constructed by the immortal gods for the use of man. This view was controverted at great length by Carneades, in such a manner as to arouse in persons of active mind a keen desire to discover the truth. 1.6. I observe however that a great deal of talk has been current about the large number of books that I have produced within a short space of time, and that such comment has not been all of one kind; some people have been curious as to the cause of this sudden outburst of philosophical interest on my part, while others have been eager to learn what positive opinions I hold on the various questions. Many also, as I have noticed, are surprised at my choosing to espouse a philosophy that in their view robs the world of daylight and floods it with a darkness as of night; and they wonder at my coming forward so unexpectedly as the champion of a derelict system and one that has long been given up. As a matter of fact however I am no new convert to the study of philosophy. From my earliest youth I have devoted no small amount of time and energy to it, and I pursued it most keenly at the very periods when I least appeared to be doing so, witness the philosophical maxims of which my speeches are full, and my intimacy with the learned men who have always graced my household, as well as those eminent professors, Diodotus, Philo, Antiochus and Posidonius, who were my instructors. 1.10. Those however who seek to learn my personal opinion on the various questions show an unreasonable degree of curiosity. In discussion it is not so much weight of authority as force of argument that should be demanded. Indeed the authority of those who profess to teach is often a positive hindrance to those who desire to learn; they cease to employ their own judgement, and take what they perceive to be the verdict of their chosen master as settling the question. In fact I am not disposed to approve the practice traditionally ascribed to the Pythagoreans, who, when questioned as to the grounds of any assertion that they advanced in debate, are said to have been accustomed to reply 'He himself said so,' 'he himself' being Pythagoras. So potent was an opinion already decided, making authority prevail unsupported by reason. 1.11. To those again who are surprised at my choice of a system to which to give my allegiance, I think that a sufficient answer has been given in the four books of my Academica. Nor is it the case that I have come forward as the champion of a lost cause and of a position now abandoned. When men die, their doctrines do not perish with them, though perhaps they suffer from the loss of their authoritative exponent. Take for example the philosophical method referred to, that of a purely negative dialectic which refrains from pronouncing any positive judgement. This, after being originated by Socrates, revived by Arcesilas, and reinforced by Carneades, has flourished right down to our own period; though I understand that in Greece itself it is now almost bereft of adherents. But this I ascribe not to the fault of the Academy but to the dullness of mankind. If it is a considerable matter to understand any one of the systems of philosophy singly, how much harder is it to master them all! Yet this is the task that confronts those whose principle is to discover the truth by the method of arguing both for and against all the schools. 1.12. In an undertaking so extensive and so arduous, I do not profess to have attained success, though I do claim to have attempted it. At the same time it would be impossible for the adherents of this method to dispense altogether with any standard of guidance. This matter it is true I have discussed elsewhere more thoroughly; but some people are so dull and slow of apprehension that they appear to require repeated explanations. Our position is not that we hold that nothing is true, but that we assert that all true sensations are associated with false ones so closely resembling them that they contain no infallible mark to guide our judgement and assent. From this followed the corollary, that many sensations are probable, that is, though not amounting to a full perception they are yet possessed of a certain distinctness and clearness, and so can serve to direct the conduct of the wise man. 1.57. Then Cotta took up the discussion. "Well, Velleius," he rejoined, with his usual suavity, "unless you had stated a case, you certainly would have had no chance of hearing anything from me. I always find it much easier to think of arguments to prove a thing false than to prove it true. This often happens to me, and did so just now while I was listening to you. Ask me what I think that the divine nature is like, and very probably I shall make no reply; but inquire whether I believe that it resembles the description of it which you have just given, and I shall say that nothing seems to me less likely. But before proceeding to examine your arguments, I will give my opinion of yourself. 1.58. I fancy I have often heard that friend of yours [Lucius Crassus] declare that of all the Roman adherents of Epicureanism he placed you unquestionably first, and that few of those from Greece could be ranked beside you; but knowing his extraordinary esteem for you, I imagined that he was speaking with the partiality of a friend. I myself however, though reluctant to praise you to your face, must nevertheless pronounce that your exposition of an obscure and difficult theme has been most illuminating, and not only exhaustive in its treatment of the subject, but also graced with a charm of style not uncommon in your school. 1.59. When at Athens, I frequently attended the discourses of Zeno, whom our friend Philo used to call the leader of the Epicurean choir; in fact it was Philo who suggested that I should go to him — no doubt in order that I might be better able to judge how completely the Epicurean doctrine may be refuted when I had heard an exposition of it from the head of the school. Now Zeno, unlike most Epicureans, had a style as clear, cogent and elegant as your own. But what often occurred to me in his case happened just now while I was listening to you: I felt annoyed that talents so considerable should have chanced to select (if you will forgive my saying it) so trivial, not to say so stupid, a set of doctrines. 1.60. Not that I propose at the moment to contribute something better of my own. As I said just now, in almost all subjects, but especially in natural philosophy, I am more ready to say what is not true than what is. Inquire of me as to the being and nature of god, and I shall follow the example of Simonides, who having the same question put to him by the great Hiero, requested a day's grace for consideration; next day, when Hiero repeated the question, he asked for two days, and so went on several times multiplying the number of days by two; and when Hiero in surprise asked why he did so, he replied, 'Because the longer I deliberate the more obscure the matter seems to me.' But Simonides is recorded to have been not only a charming poet but also a man of learning and wisdom in other fields, and I suppose that so many acute and subtle ideas came into his mind that he could not decide which of them was truest, and therefore despaired of truth altogether. 1.61. But as for your master Epicurus (for I prefer to join issue with him rather than with yourself), which of his utterances is, I do not say worthy of philosophy, but compatible with ordinary common sense? "In an inquiry as to the nature of the gods, the first question that we ask is, do the gods exist or do they not? 'It is difficult to deny their existence.' No doubt it would be if the question were to be asked in a public assembly, but in private conversation and in a company like the present it is perfectly easy. This being so, I, who am a high priest, and who hold it to be a duty most solemnly to maintain the rights and doctrines of the established religion, should be glad to be convinced of this fundamental tenet of the divine existence, not as an article of faith merely but as an ascertained fact. For many disturbing reflections occur to my mind, which sometimes make me think that there are no gods at all. 2.2. For my part," rejoined Balbus, "I had rather listen to Cotta again, using the same eloquence that he employed in abolishing false gods to present a picture of the true ones. A philosopher, a pontiff and a Cotta should possess not a shifting and unsettled conception of the immortal gods, like the Academics, but a firm and definite one like our school. As for refuting Epicurus, that has been accomplished and more than achieved already. But I am eager to hear what you think yourself, Cotta." "Have you forgotten," said Cotta, "what I said at the outset, that I find it more easy, especially on such subjects as these, to say what I don't think than what I do? 2.168. These are more or less the things that occurred to me which I thought proper to be said upon the subject of the nature of the gods. And for your part, Cotta, would you but listen to me, you would plead the same cause, and reflect that you are a leading citizen and a pontife, and you would take advantage of the liberty enjoyed by your school of arguing both pro and contra to choose to espouse my side, and preferably to devote to this purpose those powers of eloquence which your rhetorical exercises have bestowed upon you and which the Academy has fostered. For the habit of arguing in support of atheism, whether it be done from conviction or in pretence, is a wicked and impious practice. 3.3. Yes, to be sure, Velleius," replied Cotta; for "I have a very different business before me with Lucilius from what I had with you." "How so, pray?" said Velleius. "Because I think that your master Epicurus does not put up a very strong fight on the question of the immortal gods; he only does not venture to deny their existence so that he may not encounter any ill‑feeling or reproach. But when he asserts that the gods do nothing and care for nothing, and that though they possess limbs like those of men they make no use of those limbs, he seems not to be speaking seriously, and to think it enough if he affirms the existence of blessed and everlasting beings of some sort. 3.5. Very well," rejoined Cotta, "let us then proceed as the argument itself may lead us. But before we come to the subject, let me say a few words about myself. I am considerably influenced by your authority, Balbus, and by the plea that you put forward at the conclusion of your discourse, when you exhorted me to remember that I am both a Cotta and a pontife. This no doubt meant that I ought to uphold the beliefs about the immortal gods which have come down to us from our ancestors, and the rites and ceremonies and duties of religion. For my part I always shall uphold them and always have done so, and no eloquence of anybody, learned or unlearned, shall ever dislodge me from the belief as to the worship of the immortal gods which I have inherited from our forefathers. But on any question of el I am guided by the high pontifes, Titus Coruncanius, Publius Scipio and Publius Scaevola, not by Zeno or Cleanthes or Chrysippus; and I have Gaius Laelius, who was both an augur and a philosopher, to whose discourse upon religion, in his famous oration, I would rather listen than to any leader of the Stoics. The religion of the Roman people comprises ritual, auspices, and the third additional division consisting of all such prophetic warnings as the interpreters of the Sybil or the soothsayers have derived from portents and prodigies. While, I have always thought that none of these departments of religion was to be despised, and I have held the conviction that Romulus by his auspices and Numa by his establishment of our ritual laid the foundations of our state, which assuredly could never have been as great as it is had not the fullest measure of divine favour been obtained for it. 3.95. I on my side," replied Cotta, "only desire to be refuted. My purpose was rather to discuss the doctrines I have expounded than to pronounce judgement upon them, and I am confident that you can easily defeat me." "Oh, no doubt," interposed Velleius; "why, he thinks that even our dreams are sent to us by Jupiter — though dreams themselves are not so unsubstantial as a Stoic disquisition on the nature of the gods." Here the conversation ended, and we parted, Velleius thinking Cotta's discourse to be the truer, while I felt that that of Balbus approximated more nearly to a semblance of the truth.
7. Cicero, On Duties, 1.2, 2.7-2.8 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.2. Quam ob rem disces tu quidem a principe huius aetatis philosophorum, et disces, quam diu voles; tam diu autem velle debebis, quoad te, quantum proficias, non paenitebit; sed tamen nostra legens non multum a Peripateticis dissidentia, quoniam utrique Socratici et Platonici volumus esse, de rebus ipsis utere tuo iudicio (nihil enim impedio), orationem autem Latinam efficies profecto legendis nostris pleniorem. Nec vero hoc arroganter dictum existimari velim. Nam philosophandi scientiam concedens multis, quod est oratoris proprium, apte, distincte, ornate dicere, quoniam in eo studio aetatem consumpsi, si id mihi assumo, videor id meo iure quodam modo vindicare. 2.7. Occurritur autem nobis, et quidem a doctis et eruditis quaerentibus, satisne constanter facere videamur, qui, cum percipi nihil posse dicamus, tamen et aliis de rebus disserere soleamus et hoc ipso tempore praecepta officii persequamur. Quibus vellem satis cognita esset nostra sententia. Non enim sumus ii, quorum vagetur animus errore nec habeat umquam, quid sequatur. Quae enim esset ista mens vel quae vita potius non modo disputandi, sed etiam vivendi ratione sublata? Nos autem, ut ceteri alia certa, alia incerta esse dicunt, sic ab his dissentientes alia probabilia, contra alia dicimus. 2.8. Quid est igitur, quod me impediat ea, quae probabilia mihi videantur, sequi, quae contra, improbare atque affirmandi arrogantiam vitantem fugere temeritatem, quae a sapientia dissidet plurimum? Contra autem omnia disputatur a nostris, quod hoc ipsum probabile elucere non posset, nisi ex utraque parte causarum esset facta contentio. Sed haec explanata sunt in Academicis nostris satis, ut arbitror, diligenter. Tibi autem, mi Cicero, quamquam in antiquissima nobilissimaque philosophia Cratippo auctore versaris iis simillimo, qui ista praeclara pepererunt, tamen haec nostra finitima vestris ignota esse nolui. Sed iam ad instituta pergamus. 2.7.  But people raise other objections against me â€” and that, too, philosophers and scholars — asking whether I think I am quite consistent in my conduct — for although our school maintains that nothing can be known for certain, yet, they urge, I make a habit of presenting my opinions on all sorts of subjects and at this very moment am trying to formulate rules of duty. But I wish that they had a proper understanding of our position. For we Academicians are not men whose minds wander in uncertainty and never know what principles to adopt. For what sort of mental habit, or rather what sort of life would that be which should dispense with all rules for reasoning or even for living? Not so with us; but, as other schools maintain that some things are certain, others uncertain, we, differing with them, say that some things are probable, others improbable. 2.8.  What, then, is to hinder me from accepting what seems to me to be probable, while rejecting what seems to be improbable, and from shunning the presumption of dogmatism, while keeping clear of that recklessness of assertion which is as far as possible removed from true wisdom? And as to the fact that our school argues against everything, that is only because we could not get a clear view of what is "probable," unless a comparative estimate were made of all the arguments on both sides. But this subject has been, I think, quite fully set forth in my "Academics." And although, my dear Cicero, you are a student of that most ancient and celebrated school of philosophy, with Cratippus as your master — and he deserves to be classed with the founders of that illustrious sect — still I wish our school, which is closely related to yours, not to be unknown to you. Let us now proceed to the task in hand.
8. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, 2.4, 2.9, 5.11 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.4. quid futurum putamus, cum adiutore populo, quo utebamur utebamur ex -ntur G 1 antea, nunc minime nos uti posse videamus? est enim philosophia paucis contenta iudicibus, multitudinem consulto ipsa fugiens est philosophia ... 21 fugiens Lact. inst. 3, 25,2 eique ipsi et suspecta et invisa, ut, vel si quis universam velit vituperare, secundo id populo facere possit, vel si in in V 3 in r. eam quam nos maxime sequimur conetur invadere, magna habere possit auxilia e e add. V 2 s om. X a s reliquorum philosophorum disciplinis. est itaque philosophia... 26 disciplinis H Nos autem universae philosophiae vituperatoribus respondimus in Hortensio, pro Academia autem quae dicenda essent, satis accurate in Academicis quattuor libris explicata arbitramur; sed tamen tantum abest ut scribi contra nos nolimus, nolimus ex nolumus R 1 ex uolumus G 1 ut id etiam maxime optemus. in ipsa enim Graecia philosophia tanto ipsa enim Graeciae philosophia tantum Boeth. in honore numquam fuisset, nisi doctissimorum contentionibus dissensionibusque viguisset. viguisset V ( ss. 2 ) cf. praef. crevisset Boeth. 2.9. Itaque mihi semper Peripateticorum Academiaeque consuetudo de omnibus rebus in contrarias partis partes K 1 R 1?ecorr. disserendi non ob eam causam solum placuit, quod aliter non posset, quid in quaque re re add. in mg. K 2 veri simile esset, inveniri, invenire GK 1 (~i 2 aut c ) RV 1 (i V rec ) sed etiam quod esset ea maxuma dicendi exercitatio. qua qua G princeps usus est Aristoteles, deinde eum qui secuti sunt. nostra autem memoria Philo, quem nos frequenter audivimus, instituit alio tempore rhetorum praecepta tradere, alio philosophorum: ad quam nos consuetudinem a familiaribus nostris adducti in Tusculano, quod datum est temporis nobis, in eo consumpsimus. itaque cum ante meridiem dictioni operam dedissemus, sicut pridie feceramus, post meridiem meridie X (-di V me- ridi ach. G) meridiẽ K 2 R c? cf. de orat.2, 367 et Usener, Jahrb f. Phil. 117 p. 79 in Academiam descendimus. in qua disputationem habitam non quasi narrantes exponimus, exponemus V 2 sed eisdem ex eisdem K (exp. 2 aut 1) fere verbis, ut actum disputatumque est. Est igitur ambulantibus ad hunc modum mundum V 1 sermo ille nobis institutus et a tali et ali V 1 et tali V c quodam ductus ductus Crat. inductus cf. Brut. 21 exordio: 5.11. cuius multiplex ratio disputandi rerumque varietas et ingenii magnitudo Platonis memoria et litteris consecrata plura genera effecit effecit s efficit X dissentientium philosophorum, e quibus nos id potissimum consecuti consecuti con del. V 2 sumus, quo Socratem usum arbitrabamur, arbitramur V 2 s ut nostram ipsi sententiam tegeremus, errore alios levaremus et in omni disputatione, quid esset simillimum veri, quaereremus. quaeremus G 1 K quem morem moyerem G 2 cum Carneades acutissime copiosissimeque tenuisset, fecimus et alias saepe et nuper in Tusculano, ut ad eam eam ( del. c ) R consuetudinem disputaremus. et quadridui quidem sermonem superioribus ad ad a R missimus G 1 K te perscriptum libris misimus, quinto autem die cum eodem in loco consedissemus, sic est propositum, de quo disputaremus:
9. Sextus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism, 1.234 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
academics, the academy Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288, 289
academy, new Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
academy, old Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
academy Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 106, 110
antiochus of ascalon Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 110; Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288, 289; Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
arcesilaus Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
arguing on either side Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 27, 110
aristo Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
aristotle Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 106, 112
assent Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 106
authority Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 106
beliefs Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 112
carneades Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 27, 112; Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 289
cataleptic impression Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 110, 112
cicero, on philosophy Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288, 289
cicero, on plato and aristotle Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288, 289
cicero Bett, How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism (2019) 224; Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 271; Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288, 289
cicero (academic allegiance) Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
clitomachus Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 27, 112
cosmos Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 112
cotta Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 271
dialectic Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 112
epicureanism Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 271
hope Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 110
hume, david Bett, How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism (2019) 224
impressions Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 110
isocrates Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 106
peripatetics Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 289; Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
philo of larisa Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288, 289
philo of larissa Bett, How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism (2019) 224
plato, cicero on Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288, 289
plato Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 112
probable (probabile) Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 27, 112
satire Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
scepticism, academic' Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 289
scepticism, academic Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 288
scepticism Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 271
sextus empiricus Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
skepticism, academic Bett, How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism (2019) 224
skepticism Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 27, 106
skeptics, academic Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
stoicism, stoics, epistemology of Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 289
stoicism, stoics, theology of Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 289
stoicism, xi Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 110, 112
stoicism Bett, How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism (2019) 224; Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 271
stoics Tarrant et al, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (2018) 61
suspension of assent Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 27, 106, 110
system Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 27
truth Atkins, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2021) 110
virgil, and scepticism Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 271
voluntarism, epistemological Bett, How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism (2019) 224