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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



2289
Cicero, On Divination, 1.108-1.132
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Sed ut, unde huc digressa est, eodem redeat oratio: si nihil queam disputare, quam ob rem quidque fiat, et tantum modo fieri ea, quae commemoravi, doceam, parumne Epicuro Carneadive respondeam? Quid, si etiam ratio exstat artificiosae praesensionis facilis, divinae autem paulo obscurior? Quae enim extis, quae fulgoribus, quae portentis, quae astris praesentiuntur, haec notata sunt observatione diuturna. Adfert autem vetustas omnibus in rebus longinqua observatione incredibilem scientiam; quae potest esse etiam sine motu atque inpulsu deorum, cum, quid ex quoque eveniat, et quid quamque rem significet, crebra animadversione perspectum est.But let us bring the discussion back to the point from which it wandered. Assume that I can give no reason for any of the instances of divination which I have mentioned and that I can do no more than show that they did occur, is that not a sufficient answer to Epicurus and to Carneades? And what does it matter if, as between artificial and natural divination, the explanation of the former is easy and of the latter is somewhat hard? For the results of those artificial means of divination, by means of entrails, lightnings, portents, and astrology, have been the subject of observation for a long period of time. But in every field of inquiry great length of time employed in continued observation begets an extraordinary fund of knowledge, which may be acquired even without the intervention or inspiration of the gods, since repeated observation makes it clear what effect follows any given cause, and what sign precedes any given event.
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Rarum est quoddam genus eorum, qui se a corpore avocent et ad divinarum rerum cognitionem cura omni studioque rapiantur. Horum sunt auguria non divini impetus, sed rationis humanae; nam et natura futura praesentiunt, ut aquarum eluviones et deflagrationem futuram aliquando caeli atque terrarum; alii autem in re publica exercitati, ut de Atheniensi Solone accepimus, orientem tyrannidem multo ante prospiciunt; quos prudentes possumus dicere, id est providentes, divinos nullo modo possumus, non plus quam Milesium Thalem, qui, ut obiurgatores suos convinceret ostenderetque etiam philosophum, si ei commodum esset, pecuniam facere posse, omnem oleam, ante quam florere coepisset, in agro Milesio coe+misse dicitur.However, there is a certain class of men, though small in number, who withdraw themselves from carnal influences and are wholly possessed by an ardent concern for the contemplation of things divine. Some of these men make predictions, not as the result of direct heavenly inspiration, but by the use of their own reason. For example, by means of natural law, they foretell certain events, such as a flood, or the future destruction of heaven and earth by fire. Others, who are engaged in public life, like Solon of Athens, as history describes him, discover the rise of tyranny long in advance. Such men we may call foresighted — that is, able to foresee the future; but we can no more apply the term divine to them than we can apply it to Thales of Miletus, who, as the story goes, in order to confound his critics and thereby show that even a philosopher, if he sees fit, can make money, bought up the entire olive crop in the district of Miletus before it had begun to bloom.


Animadverterat fortasse quadam scientia olearum ubertatem fore. Et quidem idem primus defectionem solis, quae Astyage regnante facta est, praedixisse fertur. Multa medici, multa gubernatores, agricolae etiam multa praesentiunt, sed nullam eorum divinationem voco, ne illam quidem, qua ab Anaximandro physico moniti Lacedaemonii sunt, ut urbem et tecta linquerent armatique in agro excubarent, quod terrae motus instaret, tum cum et urbs tota corruit et e monte Taygeto extrema montis quasi puppis avolsa est. Ne Pherecydes quidem, ille Pythagorae magister, potius divinus habebitur quam physicus, quod, cum vidisset haustam aquam de iugi puteo, terrae motus dixit instare.Perhaps he had observed, from some personal knowledge he had on the subject, that the crop would be abundant. And, by the way, he is said to have been the first man to predict the solar eclipse which took place in the reign of Astyages.[50] There are many things foreseen by physicians, pilots, and also by farmers, but I do not call the predictions of any of them divination. I do not even call that a case of divination when Anaximander, the natural philosopher, warned the Spartans to leave the city and their homes and to sleep in the fields under arms, because an earthquake was at hand. Then the whole city fell down in ruins and the extremity of Mount Taygetus was torn away like the stern of a ship in a storm. Not even Pherecydes, the famous teacher of Pythagoras, will be considered a prophet because he predicted an earthquake from the appearance of some water drawn from an unfailing well.


Nec vero umquam animus hominis naturaliter divinat, nisi cum ita solutus est et vacuus, ut ei plane nihil sit cum corpore; quod aut vatibus contingit aut dormientibus. Itaque ea duo genera a Dicaearcho probantur et, ut dixi, a Cratippo nostro; si propterea, quod ea proficiscuntur a natura, sint summa sane, modo ne sola; sin autem nihil esse in observatione putant, multa tollunt, quibus vitae ratio continetur. Sed quoniam dant aliquid, idque non parvum, vaticinationes cum somniis, nihil est, quod cum his magnopere pugnemus, praesertim cum sint, qui omnino nullam divinationem probent.In fact, the human soul never divines naturally, except when it is so unrestrained and free that it has absolutely no association with the body, as happens in the case of frenzy and of dreams. Hence both these kinds of divination have been sanctioned by Dicaearchus and also, as I said, by our friend Cratippus. Let us grant that these two methods (because they originate in nature) take the highest rank in divination; but we will not concede that they are the only kind. But if, on the other hand, Dicaearchus and Cratippus believe that there is nothing in observation, they hold a doctrine destructive of the foundation on which many things in everyday life depend. However, since these men make us some concession — and that not a small one — in granting us divination by frenzy and dreams, I see no cause for any great war with them, especially in view of the fact that there are some philosophers who do not accept any sort of divination whatever.


Ergo et ii, quorum animi spretis corporibus evolant atque excurrunt foras, ardore aliquo inflammati atque incitati cernunt illa profecto, quae vaticinantes pronuntiant, multisque rebus inflammantur tales animi, qui corporibus non inhaerent, ut ii, qui sono quodam vocum et Phrygiis cantibus incitantur. Multos nemora silvaeque, multos amnes aut maria commovent, quorum furibunda mens videt ante multo, quae sint futura. Quo de genere illa sunt: Eheú videte! Iúdicabit ínclitum iudícium inter deás tris aliquis, Quó iudicio Lácedaemonia múlier, Furiarum úna, adveniet. Eodem enim modo multa a vaticinantibus saepe praedicta sunt, neque solum verbis, sed etiam Versibus, quos olim Fauni vatesque canebant. Similiter Marcius et Publicius vates cecinisse dicuntur;Those then, whose souls, spurning their bodies, take wings and fly abroad — inflamed and aroused by a sort of passion — these men, I say, certainly see the things which they foretell in their prophecies. Such souls do not cling to the body and are kindled by many different influences. For example, some are aroused by certain vocal tones, as by Phrygian songs, many by groves and forests, and many others by rivers and seas. I believe, too, that there were certain subterranean vapours which had the effect of inspiring persons to utter oracles. In all these cases the frenzied soul sees the future long in advance, as Cassandra did in the following instance:Alas! behold! some mortal will decideA famous case between three goddesses:Because of that decision there will comeA Spartan woman, but a Fury too.It is in this state of exaltation that many predictions have been made, not only in prose but alsoIn verse which once the fauns and bards did sing.


quo de genere Apollinis operta prolata sunt. Credo etiam anhelitus quosdam fuisse terrarum, quibus inflatae mentes oracla funderent. Atque haec quidem vatium ratio est, nec dissimilis sane somniorum. Nam quae vigilantibus accidunt vatibus, eadem nobis dormientibus. Viget enim animus in somnis liber ab sensibus omnique inpeditione curarum iacente et mortuo paene corpore. Qui quia vixit ab omni aeternitate versatusque est cum innumerabilibus animis, omnia, quae in natura rerum sunt, videt, si modo temperatis escis modicisque potionibus ita est adfectus, ut sopito corpore ipse vigilet. Haec somniantis est divinatio.Likewise Marcius and Publicius, according to tradition, made their prophecies in verse, and the cryptic utterances of Apollo were expressed in the same form.[51] Such is the rationale of prophecy by means of frenzy, and that of dreams is not much unlike it. For the revelations made to seers when awake are made to us in sleep. While we sleep and the body lies as if dead, the soul is at its best, because it is then freed from the influence of the physical senses and from the worldly cares that weigh it down. And since the soul has lived from all eternity and has had converse with numberless other souls, it sees everything that exists in nature, provided that moderation and restraint have been used in eating and in drinking, so that the soul is in a condition to watch while the body sleeps. Such is the explanation of divination by dreams.


Hic magna quaedam exoritur, neque ea naturalis, sed artificiosa somniorum Antiphontis interpretatio eodemque modo et oraculorum et vaticinationum sunt enim explanatores, ut grammatici poe+tarum . Nam ut aurum et argentum, aes, ferrum frustra natura divina genuisset, nisi eadem docuisset, quem ad modum ad eorum venas perveniretur, nec fruges terrae bacasve arborum cum utilitate ulla generi humano dedisset, nisi earum cultus et conditiones tradidisset, materiave quicquam iuvaret, nisi consectionis eius fabricam haberemus, sic cum omni utilitate, quam di hominibus dederunt, ars aliqua coniuncta est, per quam illa utilitas percipi possit. Item igitur somniis, vaticinationibus, oraclis, quod erant multa obscura, multa ambigua, explanationes adhibitae sunt interpretum.At this point it is pertinent to mention Antiphons well-known theory of the interpretation of dreams. His view is that the interpreters of dreams depending upon technical skill and not upon inspiration. He has the same view as to the interpretation of oracles and of frenzied utterances; for they all have their interpreters, just as poets have their commentators. Now it is clear that divine nature would have done a vain thing if she had merely created iron, copper, silver, and gold and had not shown us how to reach the veins in which those metals lie; the gift of field crops and orchard fruits would have been useless to the human race without a knowledge of how to cultivate them and prepare them for food; and building material would be of no service without the carpenters art to convert it into lumber. So it is with everything that the gods have given for the advantage of mankind, there has been joined some art whereby that advantage may be turned to account. The same is true of dreams, prophecies, and oracles: since many of them were obscure and doubtful, resort was had to the skill of professional interpreters.


Quo modo autem aut vates aut somniantes ea videant, quae nusquam etiam tunc sint, magna quaestio est. Sed explorata si sint ea, quae ante quaeri debeant, sint haec, quae quaerimus, faciliora. Continet enim totam hanc quaestionem ea ratio, quae est de natura deorum, quae a te secundo libro est explicata dilucide. Quam si obtinemus, stabit illud, quod hunc locum continet, de quo agimus, esse deos, et eorum providentia mundum administrari, eosdemque consulere rebus humanis, nec solum universis, verum etiam singulis. Haec si tenemus, quae mihi quidem non videntur posse convelli, profecto hominibus a dis futura significari necesse est.Now there is a great problem as to how prophets and dreamers can see things, which, at the time, have no actual existence anywhere. But that question would be solved quite readily if we were to investigate certain other questions which demand consideration first. For the theory in regard to the nature of the gods, so clearly developed in the second book of your work on that subject, includes this whole question. If we maintain that theory we shall establish the very point which I am trying to make: namely, that there are gods; that they rule the universe by their foresight; and that they direct the affairs of men — not merely of men in the mass, but of each individual. If we succeed in holding that position — and for my part I think it impregnable — then surely it must follow that the gods give to men signs of coming events. [52]


Sed distinguendum videtur, quonam modo. Nam non placet Stoicis singulis iecorum fissis aut avium cantibus interesse deum; neque enim decorum est nec dis dignum nec fieri ullo pacto potest; sed ita a principio inchoatum esse mundum, ut certis rebus certa signa praecurrerent, alia in extis, alia in avibus, alia in fulgoribus, alia in ostentis, alia in stellis, alia in somniantium visis, alia in furentium vocibus. Ea quibus bene percepta sunt, ii non saepe falluntur; male coniecta maleque interpretata falsa sunt non rerum vitio, sed interpretum inscientia. Hoc autem posito atque concesso, esse quandam vim divinam hominum vitam continentem, non difficile est, quae fieri certe videmus, ea qua ratione fiant, suspicari. Nam et ad hostiam deligendam potest dux esse vis quaedam sentiens, quae est toto confusa mundo, et tum ipsum, cum immolare velis, extorum fieri mutatio potest, ut aut absit aliquid aut supersit; parvis enim momentis multa natura aut adfingit aut mutat aut detrahit.But it seems necessary to settle the principle on which these signs depend. For, according to the Stoic doctrine, the gods are not directly responsible for every fissure in the liver or for every song of a bird; since, manifestly, that would not be seemly or proper in a god and furthermore is impossible. But, in the beginning, the universe was so created that certain results would be preceded by certain signs, which are given sometimes by entrails and by birds, sometimes by lightnings, by portents, and by stars, sometimes by dreams, and sometimes by utterances of persons in a frenzy. And these signs do not often deceive the persons who observe them properly. If prophecies, based on erroneous deductions and interpretations, turn out to be false, the fault is not chargeable to the signs but to the lack of skill in the interpreters.Assuming the proposition to be conceded that there is a divine power which pervades the lives of men, it is not hard to understand the principle directing those premonitory signs which we see come to pass. For it may be that the choice of a sacrificial victim is guided by an intelligent force, which is diffused throughout the universe; or, it may be that at the moment when the sacrifice is offered, a change in the vitals occurs and something is added or taken away; for many things are added to, changed, or diminished in an instant of time.


Quod ne dubitare possimus, maximo est argumento, quod paulo ante interitum Caesaris contigit. Qui cum immolaret illo die, quo primum in sella aurea sedit et cum purpurea veste processit, in extis bovis opimi cor non fuit. Num igitur censes ullum animal, quod sanguinem habeat, sine corde esse posse? †Qua ille rei novitate perculsus, cum Spurinna diceret timendum esse, ne et consilium et vita deficeret; earum enim rerum utramque a corde proficisci. Postero die caput in iecore non fuit. Quae quidem illi portendebantur a dis immortalibus, ut videret interitum, non ut caveret. Cum igitur eae partes in extis non reperiuntur, sine quibus victuma illa vivere nequisset, intellegendum est in ipso immolationis tempore eas partes, quae absint, interisse.Conclusive proof of this fact, sufficient to put it beyond the possibility of doubt, is afforded by incidents which happened just before Caesars death. While he was offering sacrifices on the day when he sat for the first time on a golden throne and first appeared in public in a purple robe, no heart was found in the vitals of the votive ox. Now do you think it possible for any animal that has blood to exist without a heart? Caesar was unmoved by this occurrence, even though Spurinna warned him to beware lest thought and life should fail him — both of which, he said, proceeded from the heart. On the following day there was no head to the liver of the sacrifice. These portents were sent by the immortal gods to Caesar that he might foresee his death, not that he might prevent it. Therefore, when those organs, without which the victim could not have lived, are found wanting in the vitals, we should understand that the absent organs disappeared at the very moment of immolation. [53]
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si luna paulo ante solis ortum defecisset in signo Leonis, fore ut armis Dareus et Persae ab Alexandro et Macedonibus proelio vincerentur Dareusque moreretur, et, si puella nata biceps esset, seditionem in populo fore, corruptelam et adulterium domi, et, si mulier leonem peperisse visa esset, fore ut ab exteris gentibus vinceretur ea res publica, in qua id contigisset. Eiusdem generis etiam illud est, quod scribit Herodotus, Croesi filium, cum esset infans, locutum; quo ostento regnum patris et domum funditus concidisse. Caput arsisse Servio Tullio dormienti quae historia non prodidit? Ut igitur, qui se tradidit quieti praeparato animo cum bonis cogitationibus, tum rebus ad tranquillitatem adcommodatis, certa et vera cernit in somnis, sic castus animus purusque vigilantis et ad astrorum et ad avium reliquorumque signorum et ad extorum veritatem est paratior.The same power sends us signs, of which history has preserved numerous examples. We find the following omens recorded: when just before sunrise the moon was eclipsed in the sign of Leo, this indicated that Darius and the Persians would be overcome in battle by the Macedonians under Alexander, and that Darius would die. Again, when a girl was born with two heads, this foretold sedition among the people and seduction and adultery in the home. When a woman dreamed that she had been delivered of a lion, this signified that the country in which she had the dream would be conquered by foreign nations.Another instance of a similar kind is related by Herodotus: Croesuss son, when an infant, spoke, and this prodigy foretold the utter overthrow of his fathers family and kingdom. What history has failed to record the fact that while Servius Tullius slept his head burst into flame? Therefore, just as a man has clear and trustworthy dreams, provided he goes to sleep, not only with his mind prepared by noble thoughts, but also with every precaution taken to induce repose; so, too, he, when awake, is better prepared to interpret truly the messages of entrails, stars, birds, and all other signs, provided his soul is pure and undefiled. [54]


Hoc nimirum est illud, quod de Socrate accepimus, quodque ab ipso in libris Socraticorum saepe dicitur, esse divinum quiddam, quod daimo/nion appellat, cui semper ipse paruerit numquam impellenti, saepe revocanti. Et Socrates quidem (quo quem auctorem meliorem quaerimus?) Xenophonti consulenti, sequereturne Cyrum, posteaquam exposuit, quae ipsi videbantur: Et nostrum quidem, inquit, humanum est consilium; sed de rebus et obscuris et incertis ad Apollinem censeo referundum, ad quem etiam Athenienses publice de maioribus rebus semper rettulerunt.It is the purity of soul, no doubt, that explains that famous utterance which history attributes to Socrates and which his disciples in their books often represent him as repeating: There is some divine influence — δαιμόνιον, he called it — which I always obey, though it never urges me on, but often holds me back. And it was the same Socrates — and what better authority can we quote? — who was consulted by Xenophon as to whether he should join Cyrus. Socrates, after stating what seemed to him the best thing to do, remarked: But my opinion is only that of a man. In matters of doubt and perplexity I advise that Apollos oracle be consulted. This oracle was always consulted by the Athenians in regard to the more serious public questions.


Scriptum est item, cum Critonis, sui familiaris, oculum alligatum vidisset, quaesivisse, quid esset; cum autem ille respondisset in agro ambulanti ramulum adductum, ut remissus esset, in oculum suum recidisse, tum Socrates: Non enim paruisti mihi revocanti, cum uterer, qua soleo, praesagitione divina. Idem etiam Socrates, cum apud Delium male pugnatum esset Lachete praetore fugeretque cum ipso Lachete, ut ventum est in trivium, eadem, qua ceteri, fugere noluit. Quibus quaerentibus, cur non eadem via pergeret, deterreri se a deo dixit; cum quidem ii, qui alia via fugerant, in hostium equitatum inciderunt. Permulta conlecta sunt ab Antipatro, quae mirabiliter a Socrate divinata sunt; quae praetermittam; tibi enim nota sunt, mihi ad commemorandum non necessaria.It is also related of Socrates that one day he saw his friend Crito with a bandage on his eye. Whats the matter, Crito? he inquired. As I was walking in the country the branch of a tree, which had been bent, was released and struck me in the eye. Of course, said Socrates, for, after I had had divine warning, as usual, and tried to call you back, you did not heed. It is also related of him that after the unfortunate battle was fought at Delium under command of Laches, he was fleeing in company with his commander, when they came to a place where three roads met. Upon his refusal to take the road that the others had chosen he was asked the reason and replied: The god prevents me. Those who fled by the other road fell in with the enemys cavalry. Antipater has gathered a mass of remarkable premonitions received by Socrates, but I shall pass them by, for you know them and it is useless for me to recount them.


Illud tamen eius philosophi magnificum ac paene divinum, quod, cum impiis sententiis damnatus esset, aequissimo animo se dixit mori; neque enim domo egredienti neque illud suggestum, in quo causam dixerat, ascendenti signum sibi ullum, quod consuesset, a deo quasi mali alicuius inpendentis datum. Equidem sic arbitror, etiamsi multa fallant eos, qui aut arte aut coniectura divinare videantur, esse tamen divinationem; homines autem, ut in ceteris artibus, sic in hac posse falli. Potest accidere, ut aliquod signum dubie datum pro certo sit acceptum, potest aliquod latuisse aut ipsum, aut quod esset illi contrarium. Mihi autem ad hoc, de quo disputo, probandum satis est non modo plura, sed etiam pauciora divine praesensa et praedicta reperiri.However, the following utterance of that philosopher, made after he had been wickedly condemned to death, is a noble one — I might almost call it divine: I am very content to die, he said; for neither when I left my home nor when I mounted the platform to plead my cause, did the god give any sign, and this he always does when some evil threatens me.[55] And so my opinion is that the power of divination exists, notwithstanding the fact that those who prophesy by means of art and conjecture are oftentimes mistaken. I believe that, just as men may make mistakes in other callings, so they may in this. It may happen that a sign of doubtful meaning is assumed to be certain or, possibly, either a sign was itself unobserved or one that annulled an observed sign may have gone unnoticed. But, in order to establish the proposition for which I contend it is enough for me to find, not many, but even a few instances of divinely inspired prevision and prophecy.


Quin etiam hoc non dubitans dixerim, si unum aliquid ita sit praedictum praesensumque, ut, cum evenerit, ita cadat, ut praedictum sit, neque in eo quicquam casu et fortuito factum esse appareat, esse certe divinationem, idque esse omnibus confitendum. Quocirca primum mihi videtur, ut Posidonius facit, a deo, de quo satis dictum est, deinde a fato, deinde a natura vis omnis divinandi ratioque repetenda. Fieri igitur omnia fato ratio cogit fateri. Fatum autem id appello, quod Graeci ei(marme/nhn, id est ordinem seriemque causarum, cum causae causa nexa rem ex se gignat. Ea est ex omni aeternitate fluens veritas sempiterna. Quod cum ita sit, nihil est factum, quod non futurum fuerit, eodemque modo nihil est futurum, cuius non causas id ipsum efficientes natura contineat.Nay, if even one such instance is found and the agreement between the prediction and the thing predicted is so close as to exclude every semblance of chance or of accident, I should not hesitate to say in such a case, that divination undoubtedly exists and that everybody should admit its existence.Wherefore, it seems to me that we must do as Posidonius does and trace the vital principle of divination in its entirety to three sources: first, to God, whose connexion with the subject has been sufficiently discussed; secondly to Fate; and lastly, to Nature. Reason compels us to admit that all things happen by Fate. Now by Fate I mean the same that the Greeks call εἱμαρμένη, that is, an orderly succession of causes wherein cause is linked to cause and each cause of itself produces an effect. That is an immortal truth having its source in all eternity. Therefore nothing has happened which was not bound to happen, and, likewise, nothing is going to happen which will not find in nature every efficient cause of its happening.


Ex quo intellegitur, ut fatum sit non id, quod superstitiose, sed id, quod physice dicitur, causa aeterna rerum, cur et ea, quae praeterierunt, facta sint et, quae instant, fiant et, quae sequuntur, futura sint. Ita fit, ut et observatione notari possit, quae res quamque causam plerumque consequatur, etiamsi non semper (nam id quidem adfirmare difficile est), easdemque causas veri simile est rerum futurarum cerni ab iis, qui aut per furorem eas aut in quiete videant.Consequently, we know that Fate is that which is called, not ignorantly, but scientifically, the eternal cause of things, the wherefore of things past, of things present, and of things to come. Hence it is that it may be known by observation what effect will in most instances follow any cause, even if it is not known in all; for it would be too much to say that it is known in every case. And it is probable that these causes of coming events are perceived by those who see them during frenzy or in sleep. [56]


Praeterea cum fato omnia fiant, id quod alio loco ostendetur, si quis mortalis possit esse, qui conligationem causarum omnium perspiciat animo, nihil eum profecto fallat. Qui enim teneat causas rerum futurarum, idem necesse est omnia teneat, quae futura sint. Quod cum nemo facere nisi deus possit, relinquendum est homini, ut signis quibusdam consequentia declarantibus futura praesentiat. Non enim illa, quae futura sunt, subito exsistunt, sed est quasi rudentis explicatio sic traductio temporis nihil novi efficientis et primum quidque replicantis. Quod et ii vident, quibus naturalis divinatio data est, et ii, quibus cursus rerum observando notatus est. Qui etsi causas ipsas non cernunt, signa tamen causarum et notas cernunt; ad quas adhibita memoria et diligentia et monumentis superiorum efficitur ea divinatio, quae artificiosa dicitur, extorum, fulgorum, ostentorum signorumque caelestium.Moreover, since, as will be shown elsewhere, all things happen by Fate, if there were a man whose soul could discern the links that join each cause with every other cause, then surely he would never be mistaken in any prediction he might make. For he who knows the causes of future events necessarily knows what every future event will be. But since such knowledge is possible only to a god, it is left to man to presage the future by means of certain signs which indicate what will follow them. Things which are to be do not suddenly spring into existence, but the evolution of time is like the unwinding of a cable: it creates nothing new and only unfolds each event in its order. This connexion between cause and effect is obvious to two classes of diviners: those who are endowed with natural divination and those who know the course of events by the observation of signs. They may not discern the causes themselves, yet they do discern the signs and tokens of those causes. The careful study and recollection of those signs, aided by the records of former times, has evolved that sort of divination, known as artificial, which is divination by means of entrails, lightnings, portents, and celestial phenomena.


Non est igitur, ut mirandum sit ea praesentiri a divinantibus, quae nusquam sint; sunt enim omnia, sed tempore absunt. Atque ut in seminibus vis inest earum rerum, quae ex iis progignuntur, sic in causis conditae sunt res futurae, quas esse futuras aut concitata mens aut soluta somno cernit aut ratio aut coniectura praesentit. Atque ut ii, qui solis et lunae reliquorumque siderum ortus, obitus motusque cognorunt, quo quidque tempore eorum futurum sit, multo ante praedicunt, sic, qui cursum rerum eventorumque consequentiam diuturnitate pertractata notaverunt, aut semper aut, si id difficile est, plerumque, quodsi ne id quidem conceditur, non numquam certe, quid futurum sit, intellegunt. Atque haec quidem et quaedam eiusdem modi argumenta, cur sit divinatio, ducuntur a fato.Therefore it is not strange that diviners have a presentiment of things that exist nowhere in the material world: for all things are, though, from the standpoint of time, they are not present. As in seeds there inheres the germ of those things which the seeds produce, so in causes are stored the future events whose coming is foreseen by reason or conjecture, or is discerned by the soul when inspired by frenzy, or when it is set free by sleep. Persons familiar with the rising, setting, and revolutions of the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies, can tell long in advance where any one of these bodies will be at a given time. And the same thing may be said of men who, for a long period of time, have studied and noted the course of facts and the connexion of events, for they always know what the future will be; or, if that is putting it too strongly, they know in a majority of cases; or, if that will not be conceded either, then, surely, they sometimes know what the future will be. These and a few other arguments of the same kind for the existence of divination are derived from Fate. [57]


A natura autem alia quaedam ratio est, quae docet, quanta sit animi vis seiuncta a corporis sensibus, quod maxime contingit aut dormientibus aut mente permotis. Ut enim deorum animi sine oculis, sine auribus, sine lingua sentiunt inter se, quid quisque sentiat, (ex quo fit, ut homines, etiam cum taciti optent quid aut voveant, non dubitent, quin di illud exaudiant) sic animi hominum, cum aut somno soluti vacant corpore aut mente permoti per se ipsi liberi incitati moventur, cernunt ea, quae permixti cum corpore animi videre non possunt.Moreover, divination finds another and a positive support in nature, which teaches us how great is the power of the soul when it is divorced from the bodily senses, as it is especially in sleep, and in times of frenzy or inspiration. For, as the souls of the gods, without the intervention of eyes or ears or tongue, understand each other and what each one thinks (hence men, even when they offer silent prayers and vows, have no doubt that the gods understand them), so the souls of men, when released by sleep from bodily chains, or when stirred by inspiration and delivered up to their own impulses, see things that they cannot see when they are mingled with the body.
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Democritus autem censet sapienter instituisse veteres, ut hostiarum immolatarum inspicerentur exta; quorum ex habitu atque ex colore tum salubritatis, tum pestilentiae signa percipi, non numquam etiam, quae sit vel sterilitas agrorum vel fertilitas futura. Quae si a natura profecta observatio atque usus agnovit, multa adferre potuit dies, quae animadvertendo notarentur, ut ille Pacuvianus, qui in Chryse physicus inducitur, minime naturam rerum cognosse videatur: nam isti quí linguam avium intéllegunt Plusque éx alieno iécore sapiunt quam éx suo, Magis aúdiendum quam aúscultandum cénseo. Cur? quaeso, cum ipse paucis interpositis versibus dicas satis luculente: Quídquid est hoc, ómnia animat, fórmat, alit, augét, creat, Sépelit recipitque ín sese omnia ómniumque idémst pater, Índidemque eadem aéque oriuntur de íntegro atque eodem óccidunt. Quid est igitur, cur, cum domus sit omnium una, eaque communis, cumque animi hominum semper fuerint futurique sint, cur ii, quid ex quoque eveniat, et quid quamque rem significet, perspicere non possint? Haec habui, inquit, de divinatione quae dicerem.Again, Democritus expresses the opinion that the ancients acted wisely in providing for the inspection of the entrails of sacrifices; because, as he thinks, the colour and general condition of the entrails are prophetic sometimes of health and sometimes of sickness and sometimes also of whether the fields will be barren or productive. Now, if it is known by observation and experience that these means of divination have their source in nature, it must be that the observations made and records kept for a long period of time have added much to our knowledge of this subject. Hence, that natural philosopher introduced by Pacuvius into his play of Chryses, seems to show very scanty apprehension of the laws of nature when he speaks as follows:The men who know the speech of birds and moreDo learn from other livers than their own —Twere best to hear, I think, and not to heed.I do not know why this poet makes such a statement when only a few lines further on he says clearly enough:Whateer the power may be, it animates,Creates, gives form, increase, and nourishmentTo everything: of everything the sire,It takes all things unto itself and hidesWithin its breast; and as from it all thingsArise, likewise to it all things return.Since all things have one and the same and that a common home, and since the human soul has always been and will always be, why, then, should it not be able to understand what effect will follow any cause, and what sign will precede any event?This, said Quintus, is all that I had to say on divination. [58]


Nunc illa testabor, non me sortilegos neque eos, qui quaestus causa hariolentur, ne psychomantia quidem, quibus Appius, amicus tuus, uti solebat, agnoscere; non habeo denique nauci Marsum augurem, non vicanos haruspices, non de circo astrologos, non Isiacos coniectores, non interpretes somniorum; non enim sunt ii aut scientia aut arte divini, Séd superstitiósi vates ínpudentesque hárioli Aút inertes aút insani aut quíbus egestas ímperat, Quí sibi semitám non sapiunt, álteri monstránt viam; Quíbus divitias póllicentur, áb iis drachumam ipsí petunt. De hís divitiis síbi deducant dráchumam, reddant cétera. Atque haec quidem Ennius, qui paucis ante versibus esse deos censet, sed eos non curare opinatur, quid agat humanum genus. Ego autem, qui et curare arbitror et monere etiam ac multa praedicere, levitate, vanitate, malitia exclusa divinationem probo. Quae cum dixisset Quintus, Praeclare tu quidem, inquam, paratusI will assert, however, in conclusion, that I do not recognize fortune-tellers, or those who prophesy for money, or necromancers, or mediums, whom your friend Appius makes it a practice to consult.In fine, I say, I do not care a figFor Marsian augurs, village mountebanks,Astrologers who haunt the circus grounds,Or Isis-seers, or dream interpreters:— for they are not diviners either by knowledge or skill, —But superstitious bards, soothsaying quacks,Averse to work, or mad, or ruled by want,Directing others how to go, and yetWhat road to take they do not know themselves;From those to whom they promise wealth they begA coin. From what they promised let them takeTheir coin as toll and pass the balance on.Such are the words of Ennius who only a few lines further back expresses the view that there are gods and yet says that the gods do not care what human beings do. But for my part, believing as I do that the gods do care for man, and that they advise and often forewarn him, I approve of divination which is not trivial and is free from falsehood and trickery.When Quintus had finished I remarked, My dear Quintus, you have come admirably well prepared.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

3 results
1. Ennius, Annales, 88-89, 77 (3rd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.27, 1.29-1.36, 1.72-1.79, 1.87-1.93, 1.95-1.102, 1.104-1.105, 1.107 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.27. Itaque, ut ex ipso audiebam, persaepe revertit ex itinere, cum iam progressus esset multorum dierum viam. Cuius quidem hoc praeclarissimum est, quod, posteaquam a Caesare tetrarchia et regno pecuniaque multatus est, negat se tamen eorum auspiciorum, quae sibi ad Pompeium proficiscenti secunda evenerint, paenitere; senatus enim auctoritatem et populi Romani libertatem atque imperii dignitatem suis armis esse defensam, sibique eas aves, quibus auctoribus officium et fidem secutus esset, bene consuluisse; antiquiorem enim sibi fuisse possessionibus suis gloriam. Ille mihi videtur igitur vere augurari. Nam nostri quidem magistratus auspiciis utuntur coactis; necesse est enim offa obiecta cadere frustum ex pulli ore, cum pascitur; 1.29. Ut P. Claudius, Appii Caeci filius, eiusque collega L. Iunius classis maxumas perdiderunt, cum vitio navigassent. Quod eodem modo evenit Agamemnoni; qui, cum Achivi coepissent . inter se strépere aperteque ártem obterere extíspicum, Sólvere imperát secundo rúmore adversáque avi. Sed quid vetera? M. Crasso quid acciderit, videmus, dirarum obnuntiatione neglecta. In quo Appius, collega tuus, bonus augur, ut ex te audire soleo, non satis scienter virum bonum et civem egregium censor C. Ateium notavit, quod ementitum auspicia subscriberet. Esto; fuerit hoc censoris, si iudicabat ementitum; at illud minime auguris, quod adscripsit ob eam causam populum Romanum calamitatem maximam cepisse. Si enim ea causa calamitatis fuit, non in eo est culpa, qui obnuntiavit, sed in eo, qui non paruit. Veram enim fuisse obnuntiationem, ut ait idem augur et censor, exitus adprobavit; quae si falsa fuisset, nullam adferre potuisset causam calamitatis. Etenim dirae, sicut cetera auspicia, ut omina, ut signa, non causas adferunt, cur quid eveniat, sed nuntiant eventura, nisi provideris. 1.30. Non igitur obnuntiatio Ateii causam finxit calamitatis, sed signo obiecto monuit Crassum, quid eventurum esset, nisi cavisset. Ita aut illa obnuntiatio nihil valuit aut, si, ut Appius iudicat, valuit, id valuit, ut peccatum haereat non in eo, qui monuerit, sed in eo, qui non obtemperarit. Quid? lituus iste vester, quod clarissumum est insigne auguratus, unde vobis est traditus? Nempe eo Romulus regiones direxit tum, cum urbem condidit. Qui quidem Romuli lituus, id est incurvum et leviter a summo inflexum bacillum, quod ab eius litui, quo canitur, similitudine nomen invenit, cum situs esset in curia Saliorum, quae est in Palatio, eaque deflagravisset, inventus est integer. 1.31. Quid? multis annis post Romulum Prisco regte Tarquinio quis veterum scriptorum non loquitur, quae sit ab Atto Navio per lituum regionum facta discriptio? Qui cum propter paupertatem sues puer pasceret, una ex iis amissa vovisse dicitur, si recuperasset, uvam se deo daturum, quae maxima esset in vinea; itaque sue inventa ad meridiem spectans in vinea media dicitur constitisse, cumque in quattuor partis vineam divisisset trisque partis aves abdixissent, quarta parte, quae erat reliqua, in regiones distributa mirabili magnitudine uvam, ut scriptum videmus, invenit. Qua re celebrata cum vicini omnes ad eum de rebus suis referrent, erat in magno nomine et gloria. 1.32. Ex quo factum est, ut eum ad se rex Priscus arcesseret. Cuius cum temptaret scientiam auguratus, dixit ei cogitare se quiddam; id possetne fieri, consuluit. Ille augurio acto posse respondit. Tarquinius autem dixit se cogitasse cotem novacula posse praecidi. Tum Attum iussisse experiri. Ita cotem in comitium allatam inspectante et rege et populo novacula esse discissam. Ex eo evenit, ut et Tarquinius augure Atto Navio uteretur et populus de suis rebus ad eum referret. 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. 1.34. Iis igitur adsentior, qui duo genera divinationum esse dixerunt, unum, quod particeps esset artis, alterum, quod arte careret. Est enim ars in iis, qui novas res coniectura persequuntur, veteres observatione didicerunt. Carent autem arte ii, qui non ratione aut coniectura observatis ac notatis signis, sed concitatione quadam animi aut soluto liberoque motu futura praesentiunt, quod et somniantibus saepe contingit et non numquam vaticitibus per furorem, ut Bacis Boeotius, ut Epimenides Cres, ut Sibylla Erythraea. Cuius generis oracla etiam habenda sunt, non ea, quae aequatis sortibus ducuntur, sed illa, quae instinctu divino adflatuque funduntur; etsi ipsa sors contemnenda non est, si et auctoritatem habet vetustatis, ut eae sunt sortes, quas e terra editas accepimus; quae tamen ductae ut in rem apte cadant, fieri credo posse divinitus. Quorum omnium interpretes, ut grammatici poe+tarum, proxime ad eorum, quos interpretantur, divinationem videntur accedere. 1.35. Quae est igitur ista calliditas res vetustate robustas calumniando velle pervertere? Non reperio causam. Latet fortasse obscuritate involuta naturae; non enim me deus ista scire, sed his tantum modo uti voluit. Utar igitur nec adducar aut in extis totam Etruriam delirare aut eandem gentem in fulgoribus errare aut fallaciter portenta interpretari, cum terrae saepe fremitus, saepe mugitus, saepe motus multa nostrae rei publicae, multa ceteris civitatibus gravia et vera praedixerint. 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. 1.72. in quo haruspices, augures coniectoresque numerantur. Haec inprobantur a Peripateticis, a Stoicis defenduntur. Quorum alia sunt posita in monumentis et disciplina, quod Etruscorum declarant et haruspicini et fulgurales et rituales libri, vestri etiam augurales, alia autem subito ex tempore coniectura explicantur, ut apud Homerum Calchas, qui ex passerum numero belli Troiani annos auguratus est, et ut in Sullae scriptum historia videmus, quod te inspectante factum est, ut, cum ille in agro Nolano inmolaret ante praetorium, ab infima ara subito anguis emergeret, cum quidem C. Postumius haruspex oraret illum, ut in expeditionem exercitum educeret; id cum Sulla fecisset, tum ante oppidum Nolam florentissuma Samnitium castra cepit. 1.73. Facta coniectura etiam in Dionysio est, paulo ante quam regnare coepit; qui cum per agrum Leontinum iter faciens equum ipse demisisset in flumen, submersus equus voraginibus non exstitit; quem cum maxima contentione non potuisset extrahere, discessit, ut ait Philistus, aegre ferens. Cum autem aliquantum progressus esset, subito exaudivit hinnitum respexitque et equum alacrem laetus aspexit, cuius in iuba examen apium consederat. Quod ostentum habuit hanc vim, ut Dionysius paucis post diebus regnare coeperit. 1.74. Quid? Lacedaemoniis paulo ante Leuctricam calamitatem quae significatio facta est, cum in Herculis fano arma sonuerunt Herculisque simulacrum multo sudore manavit! At eodem tempore Thebis, ut ait Callisthenes, in templo Herculis valvae clausae repagulis subito se ipsae aperuerunt, armaque, quae fixa in parietibus fuerant, ea sunt humi inventa. Cumque eodem tempore apud Lebadiam Trophonio res divina fieret, gallos gallinaceos in eo loco sic adsidue canere coepisse, ut nihil intermitterent; tum augures dixisse Boeotios Thebanorum esse victoriam, propterea quod avis illa victa silere soleret, canere, si vicisset. 1.75. Eademque tempestate multis signis Lacedaemoniis Leuctricae pugnae calamitas denuntiabatur. Namque et in Lysandri, qui Lacedaemoniorum clarissimus fuerat, statua, quae Delphis stabat, in capite corona subito exstitit ex asperis herbis et agrestibus, stellaeque aureae, quae Delphis erant a Lacedaemoniis positae post navalem illam victoriam Lysandri, qua Athenienses conciderunt, qua in pugna quia Castor et Pollux cum Lacedaemoniorum classe visi esse dicebantur, eorum insignia deorum, stellae aureae, quas dixi, Delphis positae paulo ante Leuctricam pugnam deciderunt neque repertae sunt. 1.76. Maximum vero illud portentum isdem Spartiatis fuit, quod, cum oraclum ab Iove Dodonaeo petivissent de victoria sciscitantes legatique vas illud, in quo inerant sortes, collocavissent, simia, quam rex Molossorum in deliciis habebat, et sortes ipsas et cetera, quae erant ad sortem parata, disturbavit et aliud alio dissupavit. Tum ea, quae praeposita erat oraclo, sacerdos dixisse dicitur de salute Lacedaemoniis esse, non de victoria cogitandum. 1.77. Quid? bello Punico secundo nonne C. Flaminius consul iterum neglexit signa rerum futurarum magna cum clade rei publicae? Qui exercitu lustrato cum Arretium versus castra movisset et contra Hannibalem legiones duceret, et ipse et equus eius ante signum Iovis Statoris sine causa repente concidit nec eam rem habuit religioni obiecto signo, ut peritis videbatur, ne committeret proelium. Idem cum tripudio auspicaretur, pullarius diem proelii committendi differebat. Tum Flaminius ex eo quaesivit, si ne postea quidem pulli pascerentur, quid faciendum censeret. Cum ille quiescendum respondisset, Flaminius: Praeclara vero auspicia, si esurientibus pullis res geri poterit, saturis nihil geretur! itaque signa convelli et se sequi iussit. Quo tempore cum signifer primi hastati signum non posset movere loco nec quicquam proficeretur, plures cum accederent, Flaminius re nuntiata suo more neglexit. Itaque tribus iis horis concisus exercitus atque ipse interfectus est. 1.78. Magnum illud etiam, quod addidit Coelius, eo tempore ipso, cum hoc calamitosum proelium fieret, tantos terrae motus in Liguribus, Gallia compluribusque insulis totaque in Italia factos esse, ut multa oppida conruerint, multis locis labes factae sint terraeque desederint fluminaque in contrarias partes fluxerint atque in amnes mare influxerit. Fiunt certae divinationum coniecturae a peritis. Midae illi Phrygi, cum puer esset, dormienti formicae in os tritici grana congesserunt. Divitissumum fore praedictum est; quod evenit. At Platoni cum in cunis parvulo dormienti apes in labellis consedissent, responsum est singulari illum suavitate orationis fore. Ita futura eloquentia provisa in infante est. 1.79. Quid? amores ac deliciae tuae, Roscius, num aut ipse aut pro eo Lanuvium totum mentiebatur? Qui cum esset in cunabulis educareturque in Solonio, qui est campus agri Lanuvini, noctu lumine apposito experrecta nutrix animadvertit puerum dormientem circumplicatum serpentis amplexu. Quo aspectu exterrita clamorem sustulit. Pater autem Roscii ad haruspices rettulit, qui responderunt nihil illo puero clarius, nihil nobilius fore. Atque hanc speciem Pasiteles caelavit argento et noster expressit Archias versibus. Quid igitur expectamus? an dum in foro nobiscum di immortales, dum in viis versentur, dum domi? qui quidem ipsi se nobis non offerunt, vim autem suam longe lateque diffundunt, quam tum terrae cavernis includunt, tum hominum naturis implicant. Nam terrae vis Pythiam Delphis incitabat, naturae Sibyllam. Quid enim? non videmus, quam sint varia terrarum genera? ex quibus et mortifera quaedam pars est, ut et Ampsancti in Hirpinis et in Asia Plutonia, quae vidimus, et sunt partes agrorum aliae pestilentes, aliae salubres, aliae, quae acuta ingenia gigt, aliae, quae retunsa; quae omnia fiunt et ex caeli varietate et ex disparili adspiratione terrarum. 1.87. Dixi de Pythagora, de Democrito, de Socrate, excepi de antiquis praeter Xenophanem neminem, adiunxi veterem Academiam, Peripateticos, Stoicos; unus dissentit Epicurus. Quid vero hoc turpius, quam quod idem nullam censet gratuitam esse virtutem? Quis est autem, quem non moveat clarissumis monumentis testata consignataque antiquitas? Calchantem augurem scribit Homerus longe optumum, eumque ducem classium fuisse ad Ilium, auspiciorum credo scientia, non locorum. 1.88. Amphilochus et Mopsus Argivorum reges fuerunt, sed iidem augures, iique urbis in ora marituma Ciliciae Graecas condiderunt; atque etiam ante hos Amphiaraus et Tiresias non humiles et obscuri neque eorum similes, ut apud Ennium est, Quí sui quaestus caúsa fictas súscitant senténtias, sed clari et praestantes viri, qui avibus et signis admoniti futura dicebant; quorum de altero etiam apud inferos Homerus ait solum sapere, ceteros umbrarum vagari modo ; Amphiaraum autem sic honoravit fama Graeciae, deus ut haberetur, atque ut ab eius solo, in quo est humatus, oracla peterentur. 1.89. Quid? Asiae rex Priamus nonne et Helenum filium et Cassandram filiam divites habebat, alterum auguriis, alteram mentis incitatione et permotione divina? Quo in genere Marcios quosdam fratres, nobili loco natos, apud maiores nostros fuisse scriptum videmus. Quid? Polyidum Corinthium nonne Homerus et aliis multa et filio ad Troiam proficiscenti mortem praedixisse commemorat? Omnino apud veteres, qui rerum potiebantur, iidem auguria tenebant; ut enim sapere, sic divinare regale ducebant. Testis est nostra civitas, in qua et reges augures et postea privati eodem sacerdotio praediti rem publicam religionum auctoritate rexerunt. 1.90. Eaque divinationum ratio ne in barbaris quidem gentibus neglecta est, siquidem et in Gallia Druidae sunt, e quibus ipse Divitiacum Haeduum, hospitem tuum laudatoremque, cognovi, qui et naturae rationem, quam fusiologi/an Graeci appellant, notam esse sibi profitebatur et partim auguriis, partim coniectura, quae essent futura, dicebat, et in Persis augurantur et divit magi, qui congregantur in fano commentandi causa atque inter se conloquendi, quod etiam idem vos quondam facere Nonis solebatis; 1.91. nec quisquam rex Persarum potest esse, qui non ante magorum disciplinam scientiamque perceperit. Licet autem videre et genera quaedam et nationes huic scientiae deditas. Telmessus in Caria est, qua in urbe excellit haruspicum disciplina; itemque Elis in Peloponneso familias duas certas habet, Iamidarum unam, alteram Clutidarum, haruspicinae nobilitate praestantes. In Syria Chaldaei cognitione astrorum sollertiaque ingeniorum antecellunt. 1.92. Etruria autem de caelo tacta scientissume animadvertit eademque interpretatur, quid quibusque ostendatur monstris atque portentis. Quocirca bene apud maiores nostros senatus tum, cum florebat imperium, decrevit, ut de principum filiis x ex singulis Etruriae populis in disciplinam traderentur, ne ars tanta propter tenuitatem hominum a religionis auctoritate abduceretur ad mercedem atque quaestum. Phryges autem et Pisidae et Cilices et Arabum natio avium significationibus plurimum obtemperant, quod idem factitatum in Umbria accepimus. 1.93. Ac mihi quidem videntur e locis quoque ipsis, qui a quibusque incolebantur, divinationum oportunitates esse ductae. Etenim Aegyptii et Babylonii in camporum patentium aequoribus habitantes, cum ex terra nihil emineret, quod contemplationi caeli officere posset, omnem curam in siderum cognitione posuerunt, Etrusci autem, quod religione inbuti studiosius et crebrius hostias immolabant, extorum cognitioni se maxume dediderunt, quodque propter ae+ris crassitudinem de caelo apud eos multa fiebant, et quod ob eandem causam multa invisitata partim e caelo, alia ex terra oriebantur, quaedam etiam ex hominum pecudumve conceptu et satu, ostentorum exercitatissimi interpretes exstiterunt. Quorum quidem vim, ut tu soles dicere, verba ipsa prudenter a maioribus posita declarant. Quia enim ostendunt, portendunt, monstrant, praedicunt, ostenta, portenta, monstra, prodigia dicuntur. 1.95. Quis vero non videt in optuma quaque re publica plurimum auspicia et reliqua dividi genera valuisse? Quis rex umquam fuit, quis populus, qui non uteretur praedictione divina? neque solum in pace, sed in bello multo etiam magis, quo maius erat certamen et discrimen salutis. Omitto nostros, qui nihil in bello sine extis agunt, nihil sine auspiciis domi habent auspicia ; externa videamus: Namque et Athenienses omnibus semper publicis consiliis divinos quosdam sacerdotes, quos ma/nteis vocant, adhibuerunt, et Lacedaemonii regibus suis augurem adsessorem dederunt, itemque senibus (sic enim consilium publicum appellant) augurem interesse voluerunt, iidemque de rebus maioribus semper aut Delphis oraclum aut ab Hammone aut a Dodona petebant. 1.96. Lycurgus quidem, qui Lacedaemoniorum rem publicam temperavit, leges suas auctoritate Apollinis Delphici confirmavit; quas cum vellet Lysander commutare, eadem est prohibitus religione. Atque etiam qui praeerant Lacedaemoniis, non contenti vigilantibus curis in Pasiphaae fano, quod est in agro propter urbem, somniandi causa excubabant, quia vera quietis oracla ducebant. 1.97. Ad nostra iam redeo. Quotiens senatus decemviros ad libros ire iussit! quantis in rebus quamque saepe responsis haruspicum paruit! Nam et cum duo visi soles sunt et cum tres lunae et cum faces, et cum sol nocte visus est, et cum e caelo fremitus auditus, et cum caelum discessisse visum est atque in eo animadversi globi, delata etiam ad senatum labe agri Privernatis, cum ad infinitam altitudinem terra desedisset Apuliaque maximis terrae motibus conquassata esset (quibus portentis magna populo Romano bella perniciosaeque seditiones denuntiabantur; inque his omnibus responsa haruspicum cum Sibyllae versibus congruebant); quid? 1.98. cum Cumis Apollo sudavit, Capuae Victoria? quid? ortus androgyni nonne fatale quoddam monstrum fuit? quid? cum fluvius Atratus sanguine fluxit? quid? cum saepe lapidum, sanguinis non numquam, terrae interdum, quondam etiam lactis imber defluxit? quid? cum in Capitolio ictus Centaurus e caelo est, in Aventino portae et homines, Tusculi aedes Castoris et Pollucis Romaeque Pietatis: nonne et haruspices ea responderunt, quae evenerunt, et in Sibyllae libris eaedem repertae praedictiones sunt? 1.99. Caeciliae Q. filiae somnio modo Marsico bello templum est a senatu Iunoni Sospitae restitutum. Quod quidem somnium Sisenna cum disputavisset mirifice ad verbum cum re convenisse, tum insolenter, credo ab Epicureo aliquo inductus, disputat somniis credi non oportere. Idem contra ostenta nihil disputat exponitque initio belli Marsici et deorum simulacra sudavisse, et sanguinem fluxisse, et discessisse caelum, et ex occulto auditas esse voces, quae pericula belli nuntiarent, et Lanuvii clipeos, quod haruspicibus tristissumum visum esset, a muribus esse derosos. 1.100. Quid, quod in annalibus habemus Veienti bello, cum lacus Albanus praeter modum crevisset, Veientem quendam ad nos hominem nobilem perfugisse, eumque dixisse ex fatis, quae Veientes scripta haberent, Veios capi non posse, dum lacus is redundaret, et, si lacus emissus lapsu et cursu suo ad mare profluxisset, perniciosum populo Romano; sin autem ita esset eductus, ut ad mare pervenire non posset, tum salutare nostris fore? Ex quo illa admirabilis a maioribus Albanae aquae facta deductio est. Cum autem Veientes bello fessi legatos ad senatum misissent, tum ex iis quidam dixisse dicitur non omnia illum transfugam ausum esse senatui dicere; in isdem enim fatis scriptum Veientes habere fore ut brevi a Gallis Roma caperetur, quod quidem sexennio post Veios captos factum esse videmus. 1.101. Saepe etiam et in proeliis Fauni auditi et in rebus turbidis veridicae voces ex occulto missae esse dicuntur; cuius generis duo sint ex multis exempla, sed maxuma: Nam non multo ante urbem captam exaudita vox est a luco Vestae, qui a Palatii radice in novam viam devexus est, ut muri et portae reficerentur; futurum esse, nisi provisum esset, ut Roma caperetur. Quod neglectum tum, cum caveri poterat, post acceptam illam maximam cladem expiatum est; ara enim Aio Loquenti, quam saeptam videmus, exadversus eum locum consecrata est. Atque etiam scriptum a multis est, cum terrae motus factus esset, ut sue plena procuratio fieret, vocem ab aede Iunonis ex arce extitisse; quocirca Iunonem illam appellatam Monetam. Haec igitur et a dis significata et a nostris maioribus iudicata contemnimus? 1.102. Neque solum deorum voces Pythagorei observitaverunt, sed etiam hominum, quae vocant omina. Quae maiores nostri quia valere censebant, idcirco omnibus rebus agendis quod bonum, faustum, felix fortu- natumque esset praefabantur, rebusque divinis, quae publice fierent, ut faverent linguis, imperabatur inque feriis imperandis, ut ' litibus et iurgiis se abstinerent '. Itemque in lustranda colonia ab eo, qui eam deduceret, et cum imperator exercitum, censor populum lustraret, bonis nominibus, qui hostias ducerent, eligebantur. Quod idem in dilectu consules observant, ut primus miles fiat bono nomine. 1.104. L. Flaccum, flaminem Martialem, ego audivi, cum diceret Caeciliam Metelli, cum vellet sororis suae filiam in matrimonium conlocare, exisse in quoddam sacellum ominis capiendi causa, quod fieri more veterum solebat. Cum virgo staret et Caecilia in sella sederet neque diu ulla vox exstitisset, puellam defatigatam petisse a matertera, ut sibi concederet, paulisper ut in eius sella requiesceret; illam autem dixisse: Vero, mea puella, tibi concedo meas sedes. Quod omen res consecuta est; ipsa enim brevi mortua est, virgo autem nupsit, cui Caecilia nupta fuerat. Haec posse contemni vel etiam rideri praeclare intellego, sed id ipsum est deos non putare, quae ab iis significantur, contemnere. 1.105. Quid de auguribus loquar? Tuae partes sunt, tuum inquam, auspiciorum patrocinium debet esse. Tibi App. Claudius augur consuli nuntiavit addubitato Salutis augurio bellum domesticum triste ac turbulentum fore; quod paucis post mensibus exortum paucioribus a te est diebus oppressum. Cui quidem auguri vehementer adsentior; solus enim multorum annorum memoria non decantandi augurii, sed dividi tenuit disciplinam. Quem inridebant collegae tui eumque tum Pisidam, tum Soranum augurem esse dicebant; quibus nulla videbatur in auguriis aut praesensio aut scientia veritatis futurae; sapienter aiebant ad opinionem imperitorum esse fictas religiones. Quod longe secus est; neque enim in pastoribus illis, quibus Romulus praefuit, nec in ipso Romulo haec calliditas esse potuit, ut ad errorem multitudinis religionis simulacra fingerent. Sed difficultas laborque discendi disertam neglegentiam reddidit; malunt enim disserere nihil esse in auspiciis quam, quid sit, ediscere. 1.107. Atque ille Romuli auguratus pastoralis, non urbanus fuit nec fictus ad opiniones inperitorum, sed a certis acceptus et posteris traditus. Itaque Romulus augur, ut apud Ennium est, cum fratre item augure Curantes magna cum cura tum cupientes Regni dant operam simul auspicio augurioque. †In monte Remus auspicio se devovet atque secundam Solus avem servat. At Romulus pulcher in alto Quaerit Aventino, servat genus altivolantum. Certabant, urbem Romam Remoramne vocarent. Omnibus cura viris, uter esset induperator. Exspectant; veluti, consul quom mittere signum Volt, omnes avidi spectant ad carceris oras 1.27. This is why, as he told me himself, he had time and again abandoned a journey even though he might have been travelling for many days. By the way, that was a very noble utterance of his which he made after Caesar had deprived him of his tetrarchy and kingdom, and had forced him to pay an indemnity too. Notwithstanding what has happened, said he, I do not regret that the auspices favoured my joining Pompey. By so doing I enlisted my military power in defence of senatorial authority, Roman liberty, and the supremacy of the empire. The birds, at whose instance I followed the course of duty and of honour, counselled well, for I value my good name more than riches. His conception of augury, it seems to me, is the correct one.For with us magistrates make use of auspices, but they are forced auspices, since the sacred chickens in eating the dough pellets thrown must let some fall from their beaks. 1.29. For example, Publius Claudius, son of Appius Caecus, and his colleague Lucius Junius, lost very large fleets by going to sea when the auguries were adverse. The same fate befell Agamemnon; for, after the Greeks had begun toRaise aloft their frequent clamours, showing scorn of augurs art,Noise prevailed and not the omen: he then bade the ships depart.But why cite such ancient instances? We see what happened to Marcus Crassus when he ignored the announcement of unfavourable omens. It was on the charge of having on this occasion falsified the auspices that Gaius Ateius, an honourable man and a distinguished citizen, was, on insufficient evidence, stigmatized by the then censor Appius, who was your associate in the augural college, and an able one too, as I have often heard you say. I grant you that in pursuing the course he did Appius was within his rights as a censor, if, in his judgement, Ateius had announced a fraudulent augury. But he showed no capacity whatever as an augur in holding Ateius responsible for that awful disaster which befell the Roman people. Had this been the cause then the fault would not have been in Ateius, who made the announcement that the augury was unfavourable, but in Crassus, who disobeyed it; for the issue proved that the announcement was true, as this same augur and censor admits. But even if the augury had been false it could not have been the cause of the disaster; for unfavourable auguries — and the same may be said of auspices, omens, and all other signs — are not the causes of what follows: they merely foretell what will occur unless precautions are taken. 1.31. What ancient chronicler fails to mention the fact that in the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, long after the time of Romulus, a quartering of the heavens was made with this staff by Attus Navius? Because of poverty Attus was a swineherd in his youth. As the story goes, he, having lost one of his hogs, made a vow that if he recovered it he would make an offering to the god of the largest bunch of grapes in his vineyard. Accordingly, after he had found the hog, he took his stand, we are told, in the middle of the vineyard, with his face to the south and divided the vineyard into four parts. When the birds had shown three of these parts to be unfavourable, he subdivided the fourth and last part and then found, as we see it recorded, a bunch of grapes of marvellous size.This occurrence having been noised abroad, all his neighbours began to consult him about their own affairs and thus greatly enhanced his name and fame. 1.32. The consequence was that King Priscus summoned him to his presence. The king, wishing to make trial of his skill as an augur, said to him: I am thinking of something; tell me whether it can be done or not. Attus, having taken the auspices, replied that it could be done. Thereupon Tarquinius said that what he had been thinking of was the possibility of cutting a whetstone in two with a razor, and ordered the trial to be made. So the stone was brought into the comitium, and, while the king and his people looked on, it was cut in two with a razor. The result was that Tarquin employed him as his augur, and the people consulted him about their private concerns. 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. [18] 1.34. I agree, therefore, with those who have said that there are two kinds of divination: one, which is allied with art; the other, which is devoid of art. Those diviners employ art, who, having learned the known by observation, seek the unknown by deduction. On the other hand those do without art who, unaided by reason or deduction or by signs which have been observed and recorded, forecast the future while under the influence of mental excitement, or of some free and unrestrained emotion. This condition often occurs to men while dreaming and sometimes to persons who prophesy while in a frenzy — like Bacis of Boeotia, Epimenides of Crete and the Sibyl of Erythraea. In this latter class must be placed oracles — not oracles given by means of equalized lots — but those uttered under the impulse of divine inspiration; although divination by lot is not in itself to be despised, if it has the sanction of antiquity, as in the case of those lots which, according to tradition, sprang out of the earth; for in spite of everything, I am inclined to think that they may, under the power of God, be so drawn as to give an appropriate response. Men capable of correctly interpreting all these signs of the future seem to approach very near to the divine spirit of the gods whose wills they interpret, just as scholars do when they interpret the poets. 1.35. What sort of cleverness is it, then, that would attempt by sophistry to overthrow facts that antiquity has established? I fail — you tell me — to discover their cause. That, perhaps, is one of Natures hidden secrets. God has not willed me to know the cause, but only that I should use the means which he has given. Therefore, I will use them and I will not allow myself to be persuaded that the whole Etruscan nation has gone stark mad on the subject of entrails, or that these same people are in error about lightnings, or that they are false interpreters of portents; for many a time the rumblings and roarings and quakings of the earth have given to our republic and to other states certain forewarnings of subsequent disaster. 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.[19] 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. 1.72. But those methods of divination which are dependent on conjecture, or on deductions from events previously observed and recorded, are, as I have said before, not natural, but artificial, and include the inspection of entrails, augury, and the interpretation of dreams. These are disapproved of by the Peripatetics and defended by the Stoics. Some are based upon records and usage, as is evident from the Etruscan books on divination by means of inspection of entrails and by means of thunder and lightning, and as is also evident from the books of your augural college; while others are dependent on conjecture made suddenly and on the spur of the moment. An instance of the latter kind is that of Calchas in Homer, prophesying the number of years of the Trojan War from the number of sparrows. We find another illustration of conjectural divination in the history of Sulla in an occurrence which you witnessed. While he was offering sacrifices in front of his head-quarters in the Nolan district a snake suddenly came out from beneath the altar. The soothsayer, Gaius Postumius, begged Sulla to proceed with his march at once. Sulla did so and captured the strongly fortified camp of the Samnites which lay in front of the town of Nola. 1.73. Still another instance of conjectural divination occurred in the case of Dionysius, a little while before he began to reign. He was travelling through the Leontine district, and led his horse down into a river. The horse was engulfed in a whirlpool and disappeared. Dionysius did his utmost to extricate him but in vain and, so Philistus writes, went away greatly troubled. When he had gone on a short distance he heard a whinny, looked back and, to his joy, saw his horse eagerly following and with a swarm of bees in its mane. The sequel of this portent was that Dionysius began to reign within a few days. [34] 1.74. Again: what a warning was given to the Spartans just before the disastrous battle of Leuctra, when the armour clanked in the temple of Hercules and his statue dripped with sweat! But at the same time, according to Callisthenes, the folding doors of Hercules temple at Thebes, though closed with bars, suddenly opened of their own accord, and the armour which had been fastened on the temple walls, was found on the floor. And, at the same time, at Lebadia, in Boeotia, while divine honours were being paid to Trophonius, the cocks in the neighbourhood began to crow vigorously and did not leave off. Thereupon the Boeotian augurs declared that the victory belonged to the Thebans, because it was the habit of cocks to keep silence when conquered and to crow when victorious. 1.75. The Spartans received many warnings given at that time of their impending defeat at Leuctra. For example, a crown of wild, prickly herbs suddenly appeared on the head of the statue erected at Delphi in honour of Lysander, the most eminent of the Spartans. Furthermore, the Spartans had set up some golden stars in the temple of Castor and Pollux at Delphi to commemorate the glorious victory of Lysander over the Athenians, because, it was said, those gods were seen accompanying the Spartan fleet in that battle. Now, just before the battle of Leuctra these divine symbols — that is, the golden stars at Delphi, already referred to — fell down and were never seen again. 1.76. But the most significant warning received by the Spartans was this: they sent to consult the oracle of Jupiter at Dodona as to the chances of victory. After their messengers had duly set up the vessel in which were the lots, an ape, kept by the king of Molossia for his amusement, disarranged the lots and everything else used in consulting the oracle, and scattered them in all directions. Then, so we are told, the priestess who had charge of the oracle said that the Spartans must think of safety and not of victory. [35] 1.77. Again, did not Gaius Flaminius by his neglect of premonitory signs in his second consulship in the Second Punic War cause great disaster to the State? For, after a review of the army, he had moved his camp and was marching towards Arretium to meet Hannibal, when his horse, for no apparent reason, suddenly fell with him just in front of the statue of Jupiter Stator. Although the soothsayers considered this a divine warning not to join battle, he did not so regard it. Again, after the auspices by means of the tripudium had been taken, the keeper of the sacred chickens advised the postponement of battle. Flaminius then asked, Suppose the chickens should never eat, what would you advise in that case? You should remain in camp, was the reply. Fine auspices indeed! said Flaminius, for they counsel action when chickens crops are empty and inaction when chickens crops are filled. So he ordered the standards to be plucked up and the army to follow him. Then, when the standard-bearer of the first company could not loosen his standard, several soldiers came to his assistance, but to no purpose. This fact was reported to Flaminius, and he, with his accustomed obstinacy, ignored it. The consequence was that within three hours his army was cut to pieces and he himself was slain. 1.78. Coelius has added the further notable fact that, at the very time this disastrous battle was going on, earthquakes of such violence occurred in Liguria, in Gaul, on several islands, and in every part of Italy, that a large number of towns were destroyed, landslips took place in many regions, the earth sank, rivers flowed upstream, and the sea invaded their channels.[36] Trustworthy conjectures in divining are made by experts. For instance, when Midas, the famous king of Phrygia, was a child, ants filled his mouth with grains of wheat as he slept. It was predicted that he would be a very wealthy man; and so it turned out. Again, while Plato was an infant, asleep in his cradle, bees settled on his lips and this was interpreted to mean that he would have a rare sweetness of speech. Hence in his infancy his future eloquence was foreseen. 1.79. And what about your beloved and charming friend Roscius? Did he lie or did the whole of Lanuvium lie for him in telling the following incident: In his cradle days, while he was being reared in Solonium, a plain in the Lanuvian district, his nurse suddenly awoke during the night and by the light of a lamp observed the child asleep with a snake coiled about him. She was greatly frightened at the sight and gave an alarm. His father referred the occurrence to the soothsayers, who replied that the boy would attain unrivalled eminence and glory. Indeed, Pasiteles has engraved the scene in silver and our friend Archias has described it in verse.Then what do we expect? Do we wait for the immortal gods to converse with us in the forum, on the street, and in our homes? While they do not, of course, present themselves in person, they do diffuse their power far and wide — sometimes enclosing it in caverns of the earth and sometimes imparting it to human beings. The Pythian priestess at Delphi was inspired by the power of the earth and the Sibyl by that of nature. Why need you marvel at this? Do we not see how the soils of the earth vary in kind? Some are deadly, like that about Lake Ampsanctus in the country of the Hirpini and that of Plutonia in Asia, both of which I have seen. Even in the same neighbourhood, some parts are salubrious and some are not; some produce men of keen wit, others produce fools. These diverse effects are all the result of differences in climate and differences in the earths exhalations. 1.87. I have already cited Pythagoras, Democritus, and Socrates and, of the ancients, I have excluded no one except Xenophanes. To them I have added the Old Academy, the Peripatetics, and the Stoics. The only dissenter is Epicurus. But why wonder at that? for is his opinion of divination any more discreditable than his view that there is no such thing as a disinterested virtue?[40] But is there a man anywhere who is uninfluenced by clear and unimpeachable records signed and sealed by the hand of Time? For example, Homer writes that Calchas was by far the best augur among the Greeks and that he commanded the Greek fleet before Troy. His command of the fleet I suppose was due to his skill as an augur and not to his skill in seamanship. 1.88. Amphilochus and Mopsus were kings of Argos, but they were augurs too, and they founded Greek cities on the coasts of Cilicia. And even before them were Amphiaraus and Tiresias. They were no lowly and unknown men, nor were they like the person described by Ennius,Who, for their own gain, uphold opinions that are false,but they were eminent men of the noblest type and foretold the future by means of augural signs. In speaking of Tiresias, even when in the infernal regions, Homer says that he alone was wise, that the rest were mere wandering shadows. As for Amphiaraus, his reputation in Greece was such that he was honoured as a god, and oracular responses were sought in the place where he was buried. 1.89. Furthermore, did not Priam, the Asiatic king, have a son, Helenus, and a daughter, Cassandra, who prophesied, the first by means of auguries and the other when under a heaven-inspired excitement and exaltation of soul? In the same class, as we read in the records of our forefathers, were those famous Marcian brothers, men of noble birth. And does not Homer relate that Polyidus of Corinth not only made many predictions to others, but that he also foretold the death of his own son, who was setting out for Troy? As a general rule among the ancients the men who ruled the state had control likewise of augury, for they considered divining, as well as wisdom, becoming to a king. Proof of this is afforded by our State wherein the kings were augurs; and, later, private citizens endowed with the same priestly office ruled the republic by the authority of religion. [41] 1.91. Indeed, no one can become king of the Persians until he has learned the theory and the practice of the magi. Moreover, you may see whole families and tribes devoted to this art. For example, Telmessus in Caria is a city noted for its cultivation of the soothsayers art, and there is also Elis in Peloponnesus, which has permanently set aside two families as soothsayers, the Iamidae and the Clutidae, who are distinguished for superior skill in their art. In Syria the Chaldeans are pre-eminent for their knowledge of astronomy and for their quickness of mind. 1.92. Again, the Etruscans are very skilful in observing thunderbolts, in interpreting their meaning and that of every sign and portent. That is why, in the days of our forefathers, it was wisely decreed by the Senate, when its power was in full vigour, that, of the sons of the chief men, six should be handed over to each of the Etruscan tribes for the study of divination, in order that so important a profession should not, on account of the poverty of its members, be withdrawn from the influence of religion, and converted into a means of mercenary gain. On the other hand the Phrygians, Pisidians, Cilicians, and Arabians rely chiefly on the signs conveyed by the flights of birds, and the Umbrians, according to tradition, used to do the same. [42] 1.93. Now, for my part, I believe that the character of the country determined the kind of divination which its inhabitants adopted. For example, the Egeans and Babylonians, who live on the level surface of open plains, with no hills to obstruct a view of the sky, have devoted their attention wholly to astrology. But the Etruscans, being in their nature of a very ardent religious temperament and accustomed to the frequent sacrifice of victims, have given their chief attention to the study of entrails. And as on account of the density of the atmosphere signs from heaven were common among them, and furthermore since that atmospheric condition caused many phenomena both of earth and sky and also certain prodigies that occur in the conception and birth of men and cattle — for these reasons the Etruscans have become very proficient in the interpretation of portents. Indeed, the inherent force of these means of divination, as you like to observe, is clearly shown by the very words so aptly chosen by our ancestors to describe them. Because they make manifest (ostendunt), portend (portendunt), intimate (monstrant), predict (praedicunt), they are called manifestations, portents, intimations, and prodigies. 1.95. But who fails to observe that auspices and all other kinds of divination flourish best in the best regulated states? And what king or people has there ever been who did not employ divination? I do not mean in time of peace only, but much more even in time of war, when the strife and struggle for safety is hardest. Passing by our own countrymen, who do nothing in war without examining entrails and nothing in peace without taking the auspices, let us look at the practice of foreign nations. The Athenians, for instance, in every public assembly always had present certain priestly diviners, whom they call manteis. The Spartans assigned an augur to their kings as a judicial adviser, and they also enacted that an augur should be present in their Council of Elders, which is the name of their Senate. In matters of grave concern they always consulted the oracle at Delphi, or that of Jupiter Hammon or that of Dodona. 1.96. Lycurgus himself, who once governed the Spartan state, established his laws by authority of Apollos Delphic oracle, and Lysander, who wished to repeal them, was prevented from doing so by the religious scruples of the people. Moreover, the Spartan rulers, not content with their deliberations when awake used to sleep in a shrine of Pasiphaë which is situated in a field near the city, in order to dream there, because they believed that oracles received in repose were true. 1.97. I now return to instances at home. How many times the Senate has ordered the decemvirs to consult the Sibylline books! How often in matters of grave concern it has obeyed the responses of the soothsayers! Take the following examples: When at one time, two suns and, at another, three moons, were seen; when meteors appeared; when the sun shone at night; when rumblings were heard in the heavens; when the sky seemed to divide, showing balls of fire enclosed within; again, on the occasion of the landslip in Privernum, report of which was made to the Senate; and when Apulia was shaken by a most violent earthquake and the land sank to an incredible depth — in all these cases of portents which warned the Roman people of mighty wars and deadly revolutions, the responses of the soothsayers were in agreement with the Sibylline verses. 1.98. And what of those other instances? As when, for example, the statue of Apollo at Cumae and that of Victory at Capua dripped with sweat; when that unlucky prodigy, the hermaphrodite, was born; when the river Atratus ran with blood; when there were showers frequently of stone, sometimes of blood, occasionally of earth and even of milk; and finally, when lightning struck the statue of the Centaur on the Capitoline hill, the gates and some people on the Aventine and the temples of Castor and Pollux at Tusculum and of Piety at Rome — in each of these cases did not the soothsayers give prophetic responses which were afterwards fulfilled? And were not these same prophecies found in the Sibylline books? [44] 1.99. In recent times, during the Marsian war, the temple of Juno Sospita was restored because of a dream of Caecilia, the daughter of Quintus Caecilius Metellus. This is the same dream that Sisenna discussed as marvellous, in that its prophecies were fulfilled to the letter, and yet later — influenced no doubt by some petty Epicurean — he goes on inconsistently to maintain that dreams are not worthy of belief. This writer, however, has nothing to say against prodigies; in fact he relates that, at the outbreak of the Marsian War, the statues of the gods dripped with sweat, rivers ran with blood, the heavens opened, voices from unknown sources were heard predicting dangerous wars, and finally — the sign considered by the soothsayers the most ominous of all — the shields at Lanuvium were gnawed by mice. 1.101. Again, we are told that fauns have often been heard in battle and that during turbulent times truly prophetic messages have been sent from mysterious places. Out of many instances of this class I shall give only two, but they are very striking. Not long before the capture of the city by the Gauls, a voice, issuing from Vestas sacred grove, which slopes from the foot of the Palatine Hill to New Road, was heard to say, the walls and gates must be repaired; unless this is done the city will be taken. Neglect of this warning, while it was possible to heed it, was atoned for after the supreme disaster had occurred; for, adjoining the grove, an altar, which is now to be seen enclosed with a hedge, was dedicated to Aius the Speaker. The other illustration has been reported by many writers. At the time of the earthquake a voice came from Junos temple on the citadel commanding that an expiatory sacrifice be made of a pregt sow. From this fact the goddess was called Juno the Adviser. Are we, then, lightly to regard these warnings which the gods have sent and our forefathers adjudged to be trustworthy? 1.102. Nor is it only to the voices of the gods that the Pythagoreans have paid regard but also to the utterances of men which they term omens. Our ancestors, too, considered such omens worthy of respect, and for that reason, before entering upon any business enterprise, used to say, May the issue be prosperous, propitious, lucky, and successful. At public celebrations of religious rites they gave the command, Guard your tongues; and in issuing the order for the Latin festival the customary injunction was, Let the people refrain from strife and quarrelling. So too, when the sacred ceremony of purification was held by one starting on an expedition to found a colony, or when the commander-in‑chief was reviewing his army, or the censor was taking his census, it was the rule to choose men with names of good omen to led the victims. Furthermore, the consuls in making a levy of troops take pains to see that the first soldier enlisted is one with a lucky name. 1.104. I heard Lucius Flaccus, the high priest of Mars, relate the following story: Metellus daughter, Caecilia, who was desirous of arranging a marriage for her sisters daughter, went, according to the ancient custom, to a small chapel to receive an omen. A long time passed while the maiden stood and Caecilia was seated on a chair without any word being spoken. Finally, the former grew weary and said to her aunt: Let me sit awhile on your chair. Certainly, my child, said Caecilia, you may have my place. And this was an omen of what came to pass, for in a short time Caecilia died and the girl married her aunts husband. I realize perfectly well that the foregoing omens may be lightly regarded and even be laughed at, but to make light of signs sent by the gods is nothing less than to disbelieve in the existence of the gods. [47] 1.105. Why need I speak of augurs? That is your rôle; the duty to defend auspices, I maintain, is yours. For it was to you, while you were consul, that the augur Appius Claudius declared that because the augury of safety was unpropitious a grievous and violent civil war was at hand. That war began few months later, but you brought it to an end in still fewer days. Appius is one augur of whom I heartily approve, for not content merely with the sing-song ritual of augury, he, alone, according to the record of many years, has maintained a real system of divination. I know that your colleagues used to laugh at him and call him the one time a Pisidian and at another a Soran. They did not concede to augury any power of prevision or real knowledge of the future, and used to say that it was a superstitious practice shrewdly invented to gull the ignorant. But the truth is far otherwise, for neither those herdsmen whom Romulus governed, nor Romulus himself, could have had cunning enough to invent miracles with which to mislead the people. It is the trouble and hard work involved in mastering the art that has induced this eloquent contempt; for men prefer to say glibly that there is nothing in auspices rather than to learn what auspices are. 1.107. As for that augural art of Romulus of which I spoke, it was pastoral and not city-bred, nor was it invented to gull the ignorant, but received by trustworthy men, who handed it on to their descendants. And so we read in Ennius the following story of Romulus, who was an augur, and of his brother Remus, who also was an augur:When each would rule they both at once appealedTheir claims, with anxious hearts, to augury.Then Remus took the auspices aloneAnd waited for the lucky bird; while onThe lofty Aventine fair RomulusHis quest did keep to wait the soaring tribe:Their contest would decide the citys nameAs Rome or Remora. The multitudeExpectant looked to learn who would be king.As, when the consul is about to giveThe sign to start the race, the people sitWith eyes intent on barrier doors from whose108 Embellished jaws the chariots soon will come;So now the people, fearful, looked for signsTo know whose prize the mighty realm would be.Meantime the fading sun into the shadesof night withdrew and then the shining dawnShot forth its rays. Twas then an augury,The best of all, appeared on high — a birdThat on the left did fly. And, as the sunIts golden orb upraised, twelve sacred birdsFlew down from heaven and betook themselvesTo stations set apart for goodly signs.Then Romulus perceived that he had gainedA throne whose source and proper was augury. [49]
3. Vergil, Aeneis, 1.393-1.400 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.393. thou shalt with smiles receive; and he, like us 1.394. hall hear at his own shrines the suppliant vow. 1.395. Then will the world grow mild; the battle-sound 1.396. will be forgot; for olden Honor then 1.397. with spotless Vesta, and the brothers twain 1.398. Remus and Romulus, at strife no more 1.399. will publish sacred laws. The dreadful gates 1.400. whence issueth war, shall with close-jointed steel


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aeneas, omen of the twelve swans Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
aeneas Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
ages, etruscan Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
artificial divination Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 185, 208
augustus, de uita sua Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
cicero Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
conjecture Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 208
ennius Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
geography, and perspective Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
haruspices, and saecula Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
history of divinatory arts Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 208
ilia Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
impiety, in utramque partem form of dialogue Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 185
landscapes, description of Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
landscapes, sexualized Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
myths, natural divination Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 185
octavian Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
outcomes' Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 185
outcomes Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 208
prodigy, caesar and Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
quest Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
ritual Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
rivers Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
roman Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
romulus Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
rutulians, etruscan Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
rutulians, saeculum Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
signs Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
spaces, as expression of perspective Skempis and Ziogas, Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic (2014) 243
terentius varro, m., on saecula Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
terentius varro, m. Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
tuscae historiae Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117
vettius Santangelo, Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond (2013) 117