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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



2298
Cicero, On Laws, 1.3-1.4


nanATTICUS: I donʼt doubt it, my Quintus; but there is one question I would ask, not of you, but of the poet Marcus himself, whether the tree is indebted for its celebrity to his verses alone, or whether the circumstance they record really happened in the history of Marius? MARCUS CICERO: I will answer you frankly, my Atticus. But you must first inform me what you think of the tradition which asserts, that not far from your house at Rome, Proculus Julius beheld our first king Romulus walking after his decease, and that he heard him declare his desire of being invoked as a God, of being entitled Quirinus, and of having a temple there dedicated to his memory? Tell me also what you think of the tradition of the Athenians, who maintain that not far from your Athenian villa, Boreas made a stolen match with Orithyia, for so runs the story.


nanATTICUS: For what purpose do you ask me such questions as these? MARCUS: For no purpose at all, unless it be to convince you that we had better not enquire too critically into those remarkable accounts which are thus handed down by tradition. ATTICUS: But this ingenious apology will not deter some from enquiring whether many of the statements in your Marius are true or false; and some will expect the greater accuracy from you, since Arpinum was your own birth place as well as that of Marius, and the events of his life must be fresh in your memory. MARCUS: I have certainly no ambition to gain the reputation of a liar. But some of these inquisitors, my Atticus, are really too severe. It is preposterous to expect an exact statement of matters of fact in a poem of this nature, as if I had written it not as a poet, but as an eye witness upon oath. I doubt not the same critics would make the same objections if I were to versify on Numaʼs intercourse with Egeria, and the Eagle which dropped a coronet in the head of the first Tarquin. QUINTUS: I understand you, my brother; you think that the historian must maintain a closer adherence to fact than the poet. MARCUS: Certainly. History has its laws, and poetry its privileges. The main object of the former is truth in all its relations: the main object of the latter is delight and pleasure of every description. Yet even in Herodotus, the father of Greek history, and in Theopompus, we find fables scarcely less numerous than those which appear in the works of the poets. ATTICUS: Stop there; I have found the occasion I wanted, and I shall not hesitate to urge my suit. MARCUS: What suit, Atticus? ATTICUS: We asked you, long ago, or rather implored you, to write a History of the Roman empire, for we conceive if you undertook this literary enterprise, even in the historical department, we should yield no palms or laurels to Greece. And if you will listen to my opinion, it seems to me that you owe this gift, not only to the affection of those who are delighted with your writings, but you likewise owe it to your country, that since you have saved her constitution, you should endeavour to adorn her annals, A good history of our country is a desideratum in our national literature, as I know by my own experience, and as I have often heard you declare. Now there is no man more likely than yourself to give general satisfaction in a work of this kind, since by your own avowal, it is of all the forms of composition that which most demands the eloquence of the orator. You would therefore be doing us a great favour if you would undertake this work, and devote your time to a complete history of Rome, which is unknown to most of our fellow-citizens, or at least neglected by them. For after the annals of the chief Pontiffs, which are very contracted, if we come to the book of Fabius, or Cato, whom you are always eulogizing, or the treatises of Piso, Fannius, and Venonius, though one of them may excel another, are they not all extremely defective? The contemporary of Fannius, Coelius Antipater, adopted a bolder style of expression. His energy was indeed somewhat rude and rough, without polish or point, but he did what he could to recommend a manly and truthful eloquence. But unfortunately he had for his successors a Claudius, an Asellio, who, far from improving on him, relapsed into the former dullness and insipidity. I scarcely need to mention Attius. His loquacity is not without its fine points, though he has derived them not so much from the great Grecian authors, as from the Latin scribblers. His style is full of littlenesses and atrocious conceits. His friend Sisenna, far surpasses all our historical writers whose compositions have yet been published, for of the rest we cannot judge. He has, however, never gained a name among the orators of your rank; and in his history he betrays a sort of puerility. He seems to have read no Greek author but Clitarchus, and him he imitates without reserve, but even when he succeeds in his imitation, he is still far enough from the best style. Therefore the task of historian of right belongs to you, and we shall expect you to accomplish it, unless Quintus can bring forward any reasonable objections. QUINTUS: I have nothing to say against it. Indeed we have often talked over the subject together, and I have made the same request as yourself; but we could never quite agree in our views of the subject. ATTICUS: How so? QUINTUS: Why we differed respecting the epoch from whence such a history should commence its narrative. In my opinion, it ought to begin with the origin of our state and nation, for the accounts that have hitherto been published respecting our primitive antiquities are so written as never to be read. My brother, on the other hand, wishes to confine himself to the events that have happened in our own times, so as only to describe those public affairs in which he himself bore a part. ATTICUS: In this respect I rather agree with him. For the grandest events in Roman history are probably those that have taken place within our own recollection. He would then be able to illustrate the praises of our noble friend Pompey, and describe the memorable year of his own consulship. These memoirs, I imagine, would be far more interesting than any thing he could tell us respecting Romulus and Remus. MARCUS: I know, my Atticus, that you and other friends have long urged me to this undertaking, nor should I be at all unwilling to attempt it, if I could find more free and leisure time. But it is vain to enter on so extensive a work while my mind is harassed with cares, and my hands are full of business. Such literary enterprises demand a perfect freedom from anxieties and political embarassments.


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

4 results
1. Cicero, On Laws, 1.1-1.2, 1.4-1.5, 2.6 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 2.62 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.62. Those gods therefore who were the authors of various benefits owned their deification to the value of the benefits which they bestowed, and indeed the names that I just now enumerated express the various powers of the gods that bear them. "Human experience moreover and general custom have made it a practice to confer the deification of renown and gratitude upon of distinguished benefactors. This is the origin of Hercules, of Castor and Pollux, of Aesculapius, and also of Liber (I mean Liber the son of Semele, not the Liber whom our ancestors solemnly and devoutly consecrated with Ceres and Libera, the import of which joint consecration may be gathered from the mysteries; but Liber and Libera were so named as Ceres' offspring, that being the meaning of our Latin word liberi — a use which has survived in the case of Libera but not of Liber) — and this is also the origin of Romulus, who is believed to be the same as Quirinus. And these benefactors were duly deemed divine, as being both supremely good and immortal, because their souls survived and enjoyed eternal life.
3. Ovid, Fasti, 1.31-1.38, 1.535-1.536, 3.111-3.112 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.31. Yet there’s a logic that might have possessed him 1.32. Caesar, and that might well justify his error. 1.33. He held that the time it takes for a mother’s womb 1.34. To produce a child, was sufficient for his year. 1.35. For as many months also, after her husband’s funeral 1.36. A widow maintains signs of mourning in her house. 1.37. So Quirinus in his ceremonial robes had that in view 1.38. When he decreed his year to an unsophisticated people. 1.535. So Livia shall be a new divinity, Julia Augusta.’ 1.536. When she had brought her tale to our own times 3.111. The stars then ran their course, freely, unobserved 3.112. Each year: yet everyone held them to be gods.
4. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 14.805-14.828 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
appropriation Jedan, Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics (2009) 195
astronomy, stars Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
athens Dinter and Guérin, Cultural Memory in Republican and Augustan Rome (2023) 88
belief, fama Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
calendar Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
ceres Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 143
de legibus Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37, 48
de oratore Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37, 48
de re publica Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37, 48
debates Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
deification, ascent to heavens Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120, 143, 145
dialogue form, in cicero Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37
distancing Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
divine honours Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 143
divine origins Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
divine support, by quirinus Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
doubt Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
emperor cult Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
ennius Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37
epiphany, of romulus-quirinus Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120, 143, 145
euripides Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37
festivals, carmentalia Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
festivals Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
forum augustum Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
hortensius hortalus, quintus (orator) Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37
imperial family Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120, 145
inventions, literary Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 143
irony, ironic Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 143
jupiter feretrius Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
legend, myth, fabula Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 143, 145
lieux de mémoire (sites of memory) Dinter and Guérin, Cultural Memory in Republican and Augustan Rome (2023) 88
marius, c. Dinter and Guérin, Cultural Memory in Republican and Augustan Rome (2023) 88
marius (poem of cicero) Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 48
mars Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
numa Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
ovids poems, metamorphoses Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
pacuvius Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37
plato, as model for cicero Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37, 48
plato, dialogue form in Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37
preconceptions' Jedan, Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics (2009) 195
rationalising Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
romulus, deified, quirinus Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120, 143, 145
romulus Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120, 143, 145
rumour Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
scaevola (poet) Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 48
scepticism Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 145
soul, immortality of Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 37
temple Dinter and Guérin, Cultural Memory in Republican and Augustan Rome (2023) 88
tullius cicero, m. Dinter and Guérin, Cultural Memory in Republican and Augustan Rome (2023) 88
twelve tables Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 48
vergil Erker, Ambiguity and Religion in Ovid’s Fasti: Religious Innovation and the Imperial Family (2023) 120
witness Dinter and Guérin, Cultural Memory in Republican and Augustan Rome (2023) 88