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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



2289
Cicero, On Divination, 2.112


Atque in Sibyllinis ex primo versu cuiusque sententiae primis litteris illius sententiae carmen omne praetexitur. Hoc scriptoris est, non furentis, adhibentis diligentiam, non insani. Quam ob rem Sibyllam quidem sepositam et conditam habeamus, ut, id quod proditum est a maioribus, iniussu senatus ne legantur quidem libri valeantque ad deponendas potius quam ad suscipiendas religiones; cum antistitibus agamus, ut quidvis potius ex illis libris quam regem proferant, quem Romae posthac nec di nec homines esse patientur. At multi saepe vera vaticinati, ut Cassandra: Iamque mari magno eademque paulo post: Eheu videte Num igitur me cogis etiam fabulis credere?And in the Sibylline books, throughout the entire work, each prophecy is embellished with an acrostic, so that the initial letters of each of the lines give the subject of that particular prophecy. Such a work comes from a writer who is not frenzied, who is painstaking, not crazy. Therefore let us keep the Sibyl under lock and key so that in accordance with the ordinances of our forefathers her books may not even be read without permission of the Senate and may be more effective in banishing rather than encouraging superstitious ideas. And let us plead with the priests to bring forth from those books anything rather than a king, whom henceforth neither gods nor men will suffer to exist in Rome.[55] But many persons in a frenzy often utter true prophecies, as Cassandra did when she saidAlready on the mighty deep . . .and when, a little later, she exclaimed,Alas! behold! . . .


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

6 results
1. Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1073-1177, 1072 (6th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1072. ὀτοτοτοῖ πόποι δᾶ. 1072. Otototoi, Gods, Earth, —
2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.66-1.68, 2.110-2.111, 2.113 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.66. Inest igitur in animis praesagitio extrinsecus iniecta atque inclusa divinitus. Ea si exarsit acrius, furor appellatur, cum a corpore animus abstractus divino instinctu concitatur. H. Séd quid oculis rábere visa es dérepente ardéntibus? U/bi paulo ante sápiens illa vírginalis modéstia? C. Máter, optumárum multo múlier melior múlierum, Míssa sum supérstitiosis háriolatiónibus; Námque Apollo fátis fandis démentem invitám ciet. Vírgines vereór aequalis, pátris mei meum factúm pudet, O/ptumi viri/; mea mater, túi me miseret, méi piget. O/ptumam progéniem Priamo péperisti extra me; hóc dolet. Mén obesse, illós prodesse, me óbstare, illos óbsequi? O poe+ma tenerum et moratum atque molle! Sed hoc minus ad rem; 1.67. illud, quod volumus, expressum est, ut vaticinari furor vera soleat. A/dest, adest fax óbvoluta sánguine atque íncendio! Múltos annos látuit; cives, férte opem et restínguite. Deus inclusus corpore humano iam, non Cassandra loquitur. Iámque mari magnó classis cita Téxitur; exitium éxamen rapit; A/dveniet, fera vélivolantibus Návibus complebít manus litora. Tragoedias loqui videor et fabulas. 1.68. At ex te ipso non commenticiam rem, sed factam eiusdem generis audivi: C. Coponium ad te venisse Dyrrhachium, cum praetorio imperio classi Rhodiae praeesset, cumprime hominem prudentem atque doctum, eumque dixisse remigem quendam e quinqueremi Rhodiorum vaticinatum madefactum iri minus xxx diebus Graeciam sanguine, rapinas Dyrrhachii et conscensionem in naves cum fuga fugientibusque miserabilem respectum incendiorum fore, sed Rhodiorum classi propinquum reditum ac domum itionem dari; tum neque te ipsum non esse commotum Marcumque Varronem et M. Catonem, qui tum ibi erant, doctos homines, vehementer esse perterritos; paucis sane post diebus ex Pharsalia fuga venisse Labienum; qui cum interitum exercitus nuntiavisset, reliqua vaticinationis brevi esse confecta. 2.110. Quid vero habet auctoritatis furor iste, quem divinum vocatis, ut, quae sapiens non videat, ea videat insanus, et is, qui humanos sensus amiserit, divinos adsecutus sit? Sibyllae versus observamus, quos illa furens fudisse dicitur. Quorum interpres nuper falsa quadam hominum fama dicturus in senatu putabatur eum, quem re vera regem habebamus, appellandum quoque esse regem, si salvi esse vellemus. Hoc si est in libris, in quem hominem et in quod tempus est? callide enim, qui illa composuit, perfecit, ut, quodcumque accidisset, praedictum videretur hominum et temporum definitione sublata. 2.111. Adhibuit etiam latebram obscuritatis, ut iidem versus alias in aliam rem posse accommodari viderentur. Non esse autem illud carmen furentis cum ipsum poe+ma declarat (est enim magis artis et diligentiae quam incitationis et motus), tum vero ea, quae a)krostixi/s dicitur, cum deinceps ex primis primi cuiusque versus litteris aliquid conectitur, ut in quibusdam Ennianis: Q. Ennius fecit . Id certe magis est attenti animi quam furentis. 2.113. quae delectationis habeant, quantum voles, verbis sententiis, numeris cantibus adiuventur; auctoritatem quidem nullam debemus nec fidem commenticiis rebus adiungere. Eodemque modo nec ego Publicio nescio cui nec Marciis vatibus nec Apollinis opertis credendum existimo; quorum partim ficta aperte, partim effutita temere numquam ne mediocri quidem cuiquam, non modo prudenti probata sunt. 1.66. Therefore the human soul has an inherent power of presaging or of foreknowing infused into it from without, and made a part of it by the will of God. If that power is abnormally developed, it is called frenzy or inspiration, which occurs when the soul withdraws itself from the body and is violently stimulated by a divine impulse, as in the following instance, where Hecuba says to Cassandra:But why those flaming eyes, that sudden rage?And whither fled that sober modesty,Till now so maidenly and yet so wise?and Cassandra answers:O mother, noblest of thy noble sex!I have been sent to utter prophecies:Against my will Apollo drives me madTo revelation make of future ills.O virgins! comrades of my youthful hours,My mission shames my father, best of men.O mother dear! great loathing for myselfAnd grief for thee I feel. For thou hast borneTo Priam goodly issue — saving me,Tis sad that unto thee the rest bring weal,I woe; that they obey, but I oppose.What a tender and pathetic poem, and how suitable to her character! though it is not altogether relevant, I admit. 1.67. However, the point which I wish to press, that true prophecies are made during frenzy, has found expression in the following lines:It comes! it comes! that bloody torch, in fireEnwrapped, though hid from sight these many years!Bring aid, my countrymen, and quench its flames!It is not Cassandra who next speaks, but a god in human form:Already, on the mighty deep is builtA navy swift that hastes with swarms of woe,80ºIts ships are drawing nigh with swelling sails,And bands of savage men will fill our shores. [32] 1.68. I seem to be relying for illustrations on myths drawn from tragic poets. But you yourself are my authority for an instance of the same nature, and yet it is not fiction but a real occurrence. Gaius Coponius, a man of unusual capacity and learning, came to you at Dyrrachium while he, as praetor, was in command of the Rhodian fleet, and told you of a prediction made by a certain oarsman from one of the Rhodian quinqueremes. The prediction was that in less than thirty days Greece would be bathed in blood; Dyrrachium would be pillaged; its defenders would flee to their ships and, as they fled, would see behind them the unhappy spectacle of a great conflagration; but the Rhodian fleet would have a quick passage home. This story gave you some concern, and it caused very great alarm to those cultured men, Marcus Varro and Marcus Cato, who were at Dyrrachium at the time. In fact, a few days later Labienus reached Dyrrachium in flight from Pharsalus, with the news of the loss of the army. The rest of the prophecy was soon fulfilled. 2.111. He also employed a maze of obscurity so that the same verses might be adapted to different situations at different times. Moreover, that this poem is not the work of frenzy is quite evident from the quality of its composition (for it exhibits artistic care rather than emotional excitement), and is especially evident from the fact that it is written in what is termed acrostics, wherein the initial letters of each verse taken in order convey a meaning; as, for example, in some of Enniuss verses, the initial letters form the words, Quintus Ennius Fecit, that is, Quintus Ennius wrote it. That surely is the work of concentrated thought and not of a frenzied brain. 2.113. Then, I suppose you are going to force me to believe in myths? Let them be as charming as you please and as finished as possible in language, thought, rhythm, and melody, still we ought not to give credence to fictitious incidents or to quote them as authority. On that principle no reliance, in my opinion, should be placed in the prophecies of your Publicius — whoever he may have been — or in those of the Marcian bards or in those of the hazy oracles of Apollo: some were obviously false and others mere senseless chatter and none of them were ever believed in by any man of ordinary sense, much less by any person of wisdom.
3. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 4.62 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4.62. 1.  It is said that during the reign of Tarquinius another very wonderful piece of good luck also came to the Roman state, conferred upon it by the favour of some god or other divinity; and this good fortune was not of short duration, but throughout the whole existence of the country it has often saved it from great calamities.,2.  A certain woman who was not a native of the country came to the tyrant wishing to sell him nine books filled with Sibylline oracles; but when Tarquinius refused to purchase the books at the price she asked, she went away and burned three of them. And not long afterwards, bringing the remaining six books, she offered to sell them for the same price. But when they thought her a fool and mocked at her for asking the same price for the smaller number of books that she had been unable to get for even the larger number, she again went away and burned half of those that were left; then, bringing the remaining books, she asked the same amount of money for these.,3.  Tarquinius, wondering at the woman's purpose, sent for the augurs and acquainting them with the matter, asked them what he should do. These, knowing by certain signs that he had rejected a god-sent blessing, and declaring it to be a great misfortune that he had not purchased all the books, directed him to pay the woman all the money she asked and to get the oracles that were left.,4.  The woman, after delivering the books and bidding him take great care of them, disappeared from among men. Tarquinius chose two men of distinction from among the citizens and appointing two public slaves to assist them, entrusted to them the guarding of the books; and when one of these men, named Marcus Atilius, seemed to have been faithless to his trust and was informed upon by one of the public slaves, he ordered him to be sewed up in a leather bag and thrown into the sea as a parricide.,5.  Since the expulsion of the kings, the commonwealth, taking upon itself the guarding of these oracles, entrusts the care of them to persons of the greatest distinction, who hold this office for life, being exempt from military service and from all civil employments, and it assigns public slaves to assist them, in whose absence the others are not permitted to inspect the oracles. In short, there is no possession of the Romans, sacred or profane, which they guard so carefully as they do the Sibylline oracles. They consult them, by order of the senate, when the state is in the grip of party strife or some great misfortune has happened to them in war, or some important prodigies and apparitions have been seen which are difficult of interpretation, as has often happened. These oracles till the time of the Marsian War, as it was called, were kept underground in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in a stone chest under the guard of ten men.,6.  But when the temple was burned after the close of the one hundred and seventy-third Olympiad, either purposely, as some think, or by accident, these oracles together with all the offerings consecrated to the god were destroyed by the fire. Those which are now extant have been scraped together from many places, some from the cities of Italy, others from Erythrae in Asia (whither three envoys were sent by vote of the senate to copy them), and others were brought from other cities, transcribed by private persons. Some of these are found to be interpolations among the genuine Sibylline oracles, being recognized as such by means of the so‑called acrostics. In all this I am following the account given by Terentius Varro in his work on religion.
4. Livy, History, 10.8.2 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Vergil, Georgics, 1.427-1.435 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.427. Worship the Gods, and to great Ceres pay 1.428. Her yearly dues upon the happy sward 1.429. With sacrifice, anigh the utmost end 1.430. of winter, and when Spring begins to smile. 1.431. Then lambs are fat, and wines are mellowest then; 1.432. Then sleep is sweet, and dark the shadows fall 1.433. Upon the mountains. Let your rustic youth 1.434. To Ceres do obeisance, one and all; 1.435. And for her pleasure thou mix honeycomb
6. Valerius Flaccus Gaius, Argonautica, 7.400-7.406 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acrostics Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71; Johnson and Parker, ?Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (2009) 131
agariste Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43
anthologia latina Johnson and Parker, ?Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (2009) 131
apollo Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71; Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 48
cassandra Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 45, 48
cumaean sibyl, as state institution Pillinger, Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy in Greek and Latin Literature (2019) 171
delphic oracle Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 48
ennius Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 45
gender Pillinger, Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy in Greek and Latin Literature (2019) 171
georgics (vergil) Johnson and Parker, ?Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (2009) 131
hecate Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71
hecuba Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 45
inspired prophecy Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 45, 48
iphis Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71
jason Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71
julius caesar, gaius Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 45
masculinity Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 45
medea Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71
motherhood Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43
oneiromancy Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43, 45
oracles, oracular response Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 48
oracles, oracular site Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 48
oracles Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 48
pericles Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43
pompeius magnus, gnaeus (pompey) Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 45
pregnancy Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43, 45
prophecy, spontaneous vs. responsorial Pillinger, Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy in Greek and Latin Literature (2019) 171
pythia Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 48
quindecimuiri Pillinger, Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy in Greek and Latin Literature (2019) 171
roman libri sibyllini Bacchi, Uncovering Jewish Creativity in Book III of the Sibylline Oracles: Gender, Intertextuality, and Politics (2022) 63
rome Bacchi, Uncovering Jewish Creativity in Book III of the Sibylline Oracles: Gender, Intertextuality, and Politics (2022) 63
sibyl, sibylline books Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 48
sibylline books Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71; Pillinger, Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy in Greek and Latin Literature (2019) 171
stoicism Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43
translation, of sibylline books Pillinger, Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy in Greek and Latin Literature (2019) 171
tullius cicero, marcus Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43, 45, 48
tullius cicero, quintus Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 43, 45
underworld Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71
valerius flaccus, and aratean tradition Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71
valerius flaccus, as quindecimuir Augoustakis, Flavian Poetry and its Greek Past (2014) 71
vergil, and acrostics Johnson and Parker, ?Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (2009) 131
vergil, georgics Johnson and Parker, ?Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (2009) 131
written vs. oral prophecy' Pillinger, Cassandra and the Poetics of Prophecy in Greek and Latin Literature (2019) 171