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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



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Cicero, On The Nature Of The Gods, 1.55


nanAn outcome of this theology was first of all your doctrine of Necessity or Fate, heimarmenē, as you termed it, the theory that every event is the result of an eternal truth and an unbroken sequence of causation. But what value can be assigned to a philosophy which thinks that everything happens by fate? it is a belief for old women, and ignorant old women at that. And next follows your doctrine of mantikē, or Divination, which would so steep us in superstition, if we consented to listen to you, that we should be the devotees of soothsayers, augurs, oracle-mongers, seers and interpreters of dreams.


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

12 results
1. Theophrastus, Characters, 16 (4th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.7, 2.19, 2.36, 2.90, 2.100, 2.125, 2.148 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.7. Sed haec quidem laus Academiae praestantissumi philosophi iudicio et testimonio conprobata est. Etenim nobismet ipsis quaerentibus, quid sit de divinatione iudicandum, quod a Carneade multa acute et copiose contra Stoicos disputata sint, verentibusque, ne temere vel falsae rei vel non satis cognitae adsentiamur, faciendum videtur, ut diligenter etiam atque etiam argumenta cum argumentis comparemus, ut fecimus in iis tribus libris, quos de natura deorum scripsimus. Nam cum omnibus in rebus temeritas in adsentiendo errorque turpis est, tum in eo loco maxime, in quo iudicandum est, quantum auspiciis rebusque divinis religionique tribuamus; est enim periculum, ne aut neglectis iis impia fraude aut susceptis anili superstitione obligemur. 2.19. Aut si negas esse fortunam et omnia, quae fiunt quaeque futura sunt, ex omni aeternitate definita dicis esse fataliter, muta definitionem divinationis, quam dicebas praesensionem esse rerum fortuitarum. Si enim nihil fieri potest, nihil accidere, nihil evenire, nisi quod ab omni aeternitate certum fuerit esse futurum rato tempore, quae potest esse fortuna? qua sublata qui locus est divinationi? quae a te fortuitarum rerum est dicta praesensio. Quamquam dicebas omnia, quae fierent futurave essent, fato contineri. Anile sane et plenum superstitionis fati nomen ipsum; sed tamen apud Stoicos de isto fato multa dicuntur; de quo alias; nunc quod necesse est. 2.36. deorum enim numini parere omnia. Haec iam, mihi crede, ne aniculae quidem existimant. An censes, eundem vitulum si alius delegerit, sine capite iecur inventurum; si alius, cum capite? Haec decessio capitis aut accessio subitone fieri potest, ut se exta ad immolatoris fortunam accommodent? non perspicitis aleam quandam esse in hostiis deligendis, praesertim cum res ipsa doceat? Cum enim tristissuma exta sine capite fuerunt, quibus nihil videtur esse dirius, proxuma hostia litatur saepe pulcherrime. Ubi igitur illae minae superiorum extorum? aut quae tam subito facta est deorum tanta placatio? Sed adfers in tauri opimi extis immolante Caesare cor non fuisse; id quia non potuerit accidere, ut sine corde victuma illa viveret, iudicandum esse tum interisse cor, cum immolaretur. 2.90. O delirationem incredibilem! non enim omnis error stultitia dicenda est. Quibus etiam Diogenes Stoicus concedit aliquid, ut praedicere possint dumtaxat, qualis quisque natura et ad quam quisque maxume rem aptus futurus sit; cetera, quae profiteantur, negat ullo modo posse sciri; etenim geminorum formas esse similis, vitam atque fortunam plerumque disparem. Procles et Eurysthenes, Lacedaemoniorum reges, gemini fratres fuerunt. 2.100. Restant duo dividi genera, quae habere dicimur a natura, non ab arte, vaticidi et somniandi; de quibus, Quinte, inquam, si placet, disseramus. Mihi vero, inquit, placet; his enim, quae adhuc disputasti, prorsus adsentior, et, vere ut loquar, quamquam tua me oratio confirmavit, tamen etiam mea sponte nimis superstitiosam de divinatione Stoicorum sententiam iudicabam; haec me Peripateticorum ratio magis movebat et veteris Dicaearchi et eius, qui nunc floret, Cratippi, qui censent esse in mentibus hominum tamquam oraclum aliquod, ex quo futura praesentiant, si aut furore divino incitatus animus aut somno relaxatus solute moveatur ac libere. His de generibus quid sentias et quibus ea rationibus infirmes, audire sane velim. 2.125. Quotus igitur est quisque, qui somniis pareat, qui intellegat, qui meminerit? quam multi vero, qui contemt eamque superstitionem inbecilli animi atque anilis putent! Quid est igitur, cur his hominibus consulens deus somniis moneat eos, qui illa non modo cura, sed ne memoria quidem digna ducant? Nec enim ignorare deus potest, qua mente quisque sit, nec frustra ac sine causa quid facere dignum deo est, quod abhorret etiam ab hominis constantia. Ita, si pleraque somnia aut ignorantur aut negleguntur, aut nescit hoc deus aut frustra somniorum significatione utitur; et horum neutrum in deum cadit; nihil igitur a deo somniis significari fatendum est. 2.148. Explodatur igitur haec quoque somniorum divinatio pariter cum ceteris. Nam, ut vere loquamur, superstitio fusa per gentis oppressit omnium fere animos atque hominum inbecillitatem occupavit. Quod et in iis libris dictum est, qui sunt de natura deorum, et hac disputatione id maxume egimus. Multum enim et nobismet ipsis et nostris profuturi videbamur, si eam funditus sustulissemus. Nec vero (id enim diligenter intellegi volo) superstitione tollenda religio tollitur. Nam et maiorum instituta tueri sacris caerimoniisque retinendis sapientis est, et esse praestantem aliquam aeternamque naturam, et eam suspiciendam admirandamque hominum generi pulchritudo mundi ordoque rerum caelestium cogit confiteri. 1.7. At any rate, this praiseworthy tendency of the Academy to doubt has been approved by the solemn judgement of a most eminent philosopher. [4] Accordingly, since I, too, am in doubt as to the proper judgement to be rendered in regard to divination because of the many pointed and exhaustive arguments urged by Carneades against the Stoic view, and since I am afraid of giving a too hasty assent to a proposition which may turn out either false or insufficiently established, I have determined carefully and persistently to compare argument with argument just as I did in my three books On the Nature of the Gods. For a hasty acceptance of an erroneous opinion is discreditable in any case, and especially so in an inquiry as to how much weight should be given to auspices, to sacred rites, and to religious observances; for we run the risk of committing a crime against the gods if we disregard them, or of becoming involved in old womens superstition if we approve them. [5] 1.7. As briefly as I could, I have discussed divination by means of dreams and frenzy, which, as I said, are devoid of art. Both depend on the same reasoning, which is that habitually employed by our friend Cratippus: The human soul is in some degree derived and drawn from a source exterior to itself. Hence we understand that outside the human soul there is a divine soul from which the human soul is sprung. Moreover, that portion of the human soul which is endowed with sensation, motion, and carnal desire is inseparable from bodily influence; while that portion which thinks and reasons is most vigorous when it is most distant from the body. 2.19. But if you deny the existence of chance and assert that the course of everything present or future has been inevitably determined from all eternity, then you must change your definition of divination, which you said was the foreknowledge of things that happen by chance. For if nothing can happen, nothing befall, nothing come to pass, except what has been determined from all eternity as bound to happen at a fixed time, how can there be such a thing as chance? And if there is no such thing as chance, what room is there for that divination, which you termed a foreknowledge of things that happen by chance? And you were inconsistent enough, too, to say that everything that is or will be is controlled by Fate! Why, the very word Fate is full of superstition and old womens credulity, and yet the Stoics have much to say of this Fate of yours. A discussion on Fate is reserved for another occasion; at present I shall speak of it only in so far as it is necessary. [8] 2.36. Upon my word, no old woman is credulous enough now to believe such stuff! Do you believe that the same bullock, if chosen by one man, will have a liver without a head, and if chosen by another will have a liver with a head? And is it possible that this sudden going or coming of the livers head occurs so that the entrails may adapt themselves to the situation of the person who offers the sacrifice? Do you Stoics fail to see in choosing the victim it is almost like a throw of the dice, especially as facts prove it? For when the entrails of the first victim have been without a head, which is the most fatal of all signs, it often happens that the sacrifice of the next victim is altogether favourable. Pray what became of the warnings of the first set of entrails? And how was the favour of the gods so completely and so suddenly gained?[16] But, you say, Once, when Caesar was offering a sacrifice, there was no heart in the entrails of the sacrificial bull; and, and, since it would have been impossible for the victim to live without a heart, the heart must have disappeared at the moment of immolation. 2.125. But how often, pray, do you find anyone who pays any attention to dreams or who understands or remembers them? On the other hand, how many treat them with disdain, and regard a belief in them as the superstition of a weak and effeminate mind! Moreover, why does God, in planning for the good of the human race, convey his warnings by means of dreams which men consider unworthy not only of worrying about, but even of remembering? For it is impossible that God does not know how people generally regard dreams; and to do anything needlessly and without a cause is unworthy of a god and is inconsistent even with the habits of right-thinking men. And hence, if most dreams are unnoticed and disregarded, either God is ignorant of that fact, or he does a vain thing in conveying information by means of dreams; but neither supposition accords with the nature of a god, therefore, it must be admitted that God conveys no information by means of dreams. [61] 2.148. Then let dreams, as a means of divination, be rejected along with the rest. Speaking frankly, superstition, which is widespread among the nations, has taken advantage of human weakness to cast its spell over the mind of almost every man. This same view was stated in my treatise On the Nature of the Gods; and to prove the correctness of that view has been the chief aim of the present discussion. For I thought that I should be rendering a great service both to myself and to my countrymen if I could tear this superstition up by the roots. But I want it distinctly understood that the destruction of superstition does not mean the destruction of religion. For I consider it the part of wisdom to preserve the institutions of our forefathers by retaining their sacred rites and ceremonies. Furthermore, the celestial order and the beauty of the universe compel me to confess that there is some excellent and eternal Being, who deserves the respect and homage of men.
3. Cicero, On The Ends of Good And Evil, 1.47-1.54 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.47. Eademque ratione ne temperantiam quidem propter se expetendam esse dicemus, sed quia pacem animis afferat et eos quasi concordia quadam placet ac leniat. temperantia est enim, quae in rebus aut expetendis aut fugiendis ut rationem sequamur monet. nec enim satis est iudicare quid faciendum non faciendumve sit, sed stare etiam oportet in eo, quod sit iudicatum. plerique autem, quod tenere atque servare id, quod ipsi statuerunt, non possunt, victi et debilitati obiecta specie voluptatis tradunt se libidinibus constringendos nec quid eventurum proventurum R sit provident ob eamque causam propter voluptatem et parvam et non non om. A 1 RN 1 necessariam et quae vel aliter pararetur et qua etiam carere possent sine dolore tum in morbos gravis, tum in damna, tum in dedecora incurrunt, saepe etiam legum iudiciorumque poenis obligantur. 1.48. Qui autem ita frui volunt voluptatibus, ut nulli propter eas consequantur dolores, et qui suum iudicium retinent, ne voluptate victi faciant id, quod sentiant non esse faciendum, ii ii A 1 V in BE hi A 2 hii RN voluptatem maximam adipiscuntur praetermittenda voluptate. idem etiam dolorem saepe perpetiuntur, ne, si id non faciant, incidant in maiorem. ex quo intellegitur nec intemperantiam propter se esse fugiendam temperantiamque expetendam, non quia voluptates fugiat, sed quia maiores consequatur. 1.49. Eadem fortitudinis ratio reperietur. nam neque laborum perfunctio neque perpessio dolorum per se ipsa allicit nec patientia nec assiduitas assiduitates ANV nec vigiliae nec ea ea om. BE ipsa, quae laudatur, industria, ne fortitudo quidem, sed ista sequimur, ut sine cura metuque vivamus animumque et corpus, quantum efficere possimus, possimus AEN possumus molestia liberemus. ut enim mortis metu omnis quietae vitae status perturbatur, et ut succumbere doloribus eosque humili animo inbecilloque ferre miserum est, ob eamque debilitatem animi multi parentes, parentis R multi amicos, non nulli patriam, plerique autem se ipsos penitus perdiderunt, sic robustus animus et excelsus omni est liber cura et angore, cum et mortem contemnit, qua qui qui quia A 1 BE affecti sunt in eadem causa sunt, qua ante quam nati, et ad dolores ita paratus est, ut meminerit maximos morte finiri, parvos multa habere intervalla requietis, mediocrium nos esse dominos, ut, si tolerabiles sint, feramus, si minus, animo aequo e vita, cum ea non placeat, tamquam e theatro exeamus. quibus rebus intellegitur nec timiditatem ignaviamque vituperari nec fortitudinem patientiamque laudari suo nomine, sed illas reici, quia dolorem pariant, has optari, quia voluptatem. 1.50. Iustitia restat, ut de omni virtute sit dictum. sed similia fere dici possunt. ut enim sapientiam, temperantiam, fortitudinem copulatas esse docui cum voluptate, ut ab ea nullo modo nec divelli nec distrahi possint, sic de iustitia iudicandum est, quae non modo numquam nocet cuiquam, sed contra semper afficit afficit ( cf. Tusc. 3,11 qui contra affecti sint) Se. aliquid ( in N ante aliquid ab alt. m. superscr. est alit) cum vi sua vi sua V, N (vi ab alt. m. in ras. scr. ); in sua BER sua vi A atque natura, quod tranquillat tranquillat Se. tranquillet animos, tum spe nihil earum rerum defuturum, quas natura non non om. RNV depravata desiderat. desiderat R 1 V desideret Et add. Lamb. quem ad modum temeritas et libido et ignavia semper animum excruciant et semper sollicitant turbulentaeque sunt, sic inprobitas si add. Mdv. cuius in mente consedit, hoc ipso, quod adest, turbulenta est est: si Grut. et si ABE turbulenta non potest fieri Et si RN turbulenta non potest fieri Si V ; si vero molita quippiam est, quamvis occulte fecerit, numquam tamen id confidet fore semper occultum. plerumque improborum facta primo suspicio insequitur, dein deinde NV sermo atque fama, tum accusator, tum iudex; index A multi etiam, ut te consule, ipsi se indicaverunt. indicaverunt A 2 RN indicaverat A 1 iudicaverunt BEV 1.51. quodsi qui satis sibi contra hominum sibi contra hominum ibi contra hominum V hominum sibi contra R conscientiam conscientiam t n scientiam R cumscientiam A 1 saepti esse et et om. E muniti et muniti om. R videntur, deorum tamen horrent easque ipsas sollicitudines, quibus eorum animi noctesque diesque noctes diesque R diesque noctesque B exeduntur, a diis inmortalibus supplicii causa importari inport. N putant. quae autem tanta ex improbis factis ad minuendas vitae molestias accessio potest fieri, quanta ad augendas, cum conscientia factorum, tum poena legum odioque civium? et tamen in quibusdam neque pecuniae modus est neque honoris neque imperii nec libidinum nec epularum nec reliquarum cupiditatum, quas nulla praeda umquam improbe parta minuit, minuit imminit BE sed add. dett. (sed auget potius atque inflammat) potius inflammat, ut coe+rcendi magis quam dedocendi esse videantur. 1.52. Invitat igitur vera ratio bene sanos ad iustitiam, aequitatem, fidem, neque homini infanti aut inpotenti iniuste facta conducunt, qui nec facile efficere possit, quod conetur, nec optinere, si effecerit, et opes vel fortunae fortuna E vel ingenii ingenii edd. ingenia liberalitati magis conveniunt, qua qui utuntur, utantur ARNV benivolentiam sibi conciliant et, quod aptissimum est ad quiete vivendum, caritatem, praesertim cum omnino nulla sit causa peccandi. 1.53. quae enim cupiditates a natura proficiscuntur, facile explentur sine ulla iniuria, iniuria ulla BE quae autem ies sunt, iis parendum non est. nihil enim desiderabile concupiscunt, plusque in ipsa iniuria detrimenti est quam in iis rebus emolumenti, quae pariuntur iniuria. Itaque ne iustitiam quidem recte quis dixerit per se ipsam optabilem, sed quia iucunditatis vel plurimum afferat. nam diligi et carum esse iucundum est propterea, quia tutiorem vitam et voluptatem pleniorem pleniorem voluptatem BE efficit. itaque non ob ea solum incommoda, quae eveniunt eveniunt et veniunt ARN inprobis, fugiendam inprobitatem putamus, sed multo etiam magis, quod, cuius in animo versatur, numquam sinit eum respirare, numquam adquiescere. 1.54. Quodsi ne ipsarum quidem virtutum laus, in qua maxime ceterorum philosophorum exultat oratio, reperire exitum potest, nisi derigatur ad voluptatem, voluptas autem est sola, quae nos vocet ad se et alliciat suapte natura, non potest esse dubium, quin id sit summum atque extremum bonorum omnium, beateque vivere nihil aliud sit nisi cum voluptate vivere.
4. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 1.18-1.54, 1.56-1.62, 1.69, 1.82, 1.92, 1.94-1.96, 1.100, 1.117-1.119, 1.121, 1.123, 2.3, 2.5, 2.57, 2.70, 2.72-2.73, 3.92 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.18. Hereupon Velleius began, in the confident manner (I need not say) that is customary with Epicureans, afraid of nothing so much as lest he should appear to have doubts about anything. One would have supposed he had just come down from the assembly of the gods in the intermundane spaces of Epicurus! "I am not going to expound to you doctrines that are mere baseless figments of the imagination, such as the artisan deity and world-builder of Plato's Timaeus, or that old hag of a fortune-teller, the Pronoia (which we may render 'Providence') of the Stoics; nor yet a world endowed with a mind and senses of its own, a spherical, rotatory god of burning fire; these are the marvels and monstrosities of philosophers who do not reason but dream. 1.19. What power of mental vision enabled your master Plato to descry the vast and elaborate architectural process which, as he makes out, the deity adopted in building the structure of the universe? What method of engineering was employed? What tools and levers and derricks? What agents carried out so vast an undertaking? And how were air, fire, water and earth enabled to obey and execute the will of the architect? How did the five regular solids, which are the basis of all other forms of matter, come into existence so nicely adapted to make impressions on our minds and produce sensations? It would be a lengthy task to advert upon every detail of a system that is such as to seem the result of idle theorizing rather than of real research; 1.20. but the prize example is that the thinker who represented the world not merely as having had an origin but even as almost made by hand, also declared that it will exist for ever. Can you suppose that a man can have even dipped into natural philosophy if he imagines that anything that has come into being can be eternal? What composite whole is not capable of dissolution? What thing is there that has a beginning but not an end? While as for your Stoic Providence, Lucilius, if it is the same thing as Plato's creator, I repeat my previous questions, what were its agents and instruments, and how was the entire undertaking planned out and carried though? If on the contrary it is something different, I ask why it made the world mortal, and not everlasting as did Plato's divine creator? 1.21. Moreover I would put to both of you the question, why did these deities suddenly awake into activity as world-builders after countless ages of slumber? for though the world did not exist, it does not follow that ages did not exist — meaning by ages, not periods made up of a number of days and nights in annual courses, for ages in this sense I admit could not have been produced without the circular motion of the firmament; but from the infinite past there has existed an eternity not measured by limited divisions of time, but of a nature intelligible in terms of extension; since it is inconceivable that there was ever a time when time did not exist. 1.22. Well then, Balbus, what I ask is, why did your Providence remain idle all through that extent of time of which you speak? Was it in order to avoid fatigue? But god cannot know fatigue; and also there was no fatigue in question, since all the elements, sky, fire, earth and sea, were obedient to the divine will. Also, why should god take a fancy to decorate the firmament with figures and illuminations, like an aedile? If it was to embellish his own abode, then it seems that he had previously between dwelling for an infinite time in a dark and gloomy hovel! And are we to suppose that thenceforward the varied beauties which we see adorning earth and sky have afforded him pleasure? How can a god take pleasure in things of this sort? And if he did, he could not have dispensed with it so long. 1.23. Or were these beauties designed for the sake of men, as your school usually maintains? For the sake of wise men? If so, all this vast effort of construction took place on account of a handful of people. For the sake of fools then? But in the first place there was no reason for god to do a service to the wicked and secondly, what good did he do? inasmuch as all fools are beyond question extremely miserable, precisely because they are fools (for what can be mentioned more miserable than folly?), and in the second place because there are so many troubles in life that, though wise men can assuage them by balancing against them life's advantages, fools can neither avoid their approach nor endure their presence. Those on the other hand who said that the world is itself endowed with life and with wisdom, failed entirely to discern what shape the nature of an intelligent living being could conceivably possess. I will touch on this a little later; 1.24. for the present I will confine myself to expressing my surprise at their stupidity in holding that a being who is immortal and also blessed is of a spherical shape, merely on the ground that Plato pronounces a sphere to be the most beautiful of all figures. For my own part, on the score of appearance I prefer either a cylinder or a cube or a cone or a pyramid. Then, what mode of existence is assigned to their spherical deity? Why, he is in a state of rotation, spinning round with a velocity that surpasses all powers of conception. But what room there can be in such an existence for steadfastness of mind and for happiness, I cannot see. Also, why should a condition that is painful in the human body, if even the smallest part of it is affected, be supposed to be painless in the deity? Now clearly the earth, being a part of the world, is also a part of god. Yet we see that vast portions of the earth's surface are uninhabitable deserts, being either scorched by the sun's proximity, or frost-bound and covered with snow owing to its extreme remoteness. But if the world is god, these, being parts of the world, must be regarded as limbs of god, undergoing the extremes of heat and cold respectively. 1.25. So much, Lucilius, for the doctrines of your school. To show what the older systems are like, I will trace their history from the remotest of your predecessors. Thales of Miletus, who was the first person to investigate these matters, said that water was the first principle of things, but that god was the mind that moulded all things out of water — supposing that gods can exist without sensation; and why did he make mind an adjunct of water, if mind can exist by itself, devoid of body? The view of Anaximander is that the gods are not everlasting but are born and perish at long intervals of time, and that they are worlds, countless in number. But how we conceive of god save as living for ever? 1.26. Next, Anaximenes held that air is god, and that it has a beginning in time, and is immeasurable and infinite in extent, and is always in motion; just as if formless air could be god, especially seeing that it is proper to god to possess not merely some shape but the most beautiful shape; or as if anything that has had a beginning must not necessarily be mortal. Then there is Anaxagoras, the successor of Anaximenes; he was the first thinker to hold that the orderly disposition of the universe is designed and perfected by the rational power of an infinite mind. But in saying this he failed to see that there can be no such thing as sentient and continuous activity in that which is infinite, and that sensation in general can only occur when the subject itself becomes sentient by the impact of a sensation. Further, if he intended his infinite mind to be a definite living creature, it must have some inner principle of life to justify the name. But mind is itself the innermost principle. Mind therefore will have an outer integument of body. 1.27. But this Anaxagoras will not allow; yet mind naked and simple, without any material adjunct to serve as an organ of sensation, seems to elude the capacity of our understanding. Alcmaeon of Croton, who attributed divinity to the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies, and also to the soul, did not perceive that he was bestowing immortality on things that are mortal. As for Pythagoras, who believed that the entire substance of the universe is penetrated and pervaded by a soul of which our souls are fragments, he failed to notice that this severance of the souls of men from the world-soul means the dismemberment and rending asunder of god; and that when their souls are unhappy, as happens to most men, then a portion of god is unhappy; which is impossible. 1.28. Again, if the soul of man is divine, why is it not omniscient? Moreover, if the Pythagorean god is pure soul, how is he implanted in, or diffused throughout, the world? Next, Xenophanes endowed the universe with mind, and held that, as being infinite, it was god. His view of mind is as open to objection as that of the rest; but on the subject of infinity he incurs still severer criticism, for the infinite can have no sensation and no contact with anything outside. As for Parmenides, he invents a purely fanciful something resembling a crown — stephanè is his name for it —, an unbroken ring of glowing lights, encircling the sky, which he entitles god; but no one can imagine this to possess divine form, or sensation. He also has many other portentous notions; he deifies war, strife, lust and the like, things which can be destroyed by disease or sleep or forgetfulness or lapse of time; and he also deifies the stars, but this has been criticized in another philosopher and need not be dealt with now in the case of Parmenides. 1.29. Empedocles again among many other blunders comes to grief most disgracefully in his theology. He assigns divinity to the four substances which in his system are the constituent elements of the universe, although manifestly these substances both come into and pass out of existence, and are entirely devoid of sensation. Protagoras also, who declares he has no clear views whatever about the gods, whether they exist or do not exist, or what they are like, seems to have no notion at all of the divine nature. Then in what a maze of error is Democritus involved, who at one moment ranks as gods his roving 'images,' at another the substance that emits and radiates these images, and at another again the scientific intelligence of man! At the same time his denial of immutability and therefore of eternity, to everything whatsoever surely involves a repudiation of deity so absolute as to leave no conception of a divine be remaining! Diogenes of Apollonia makes air a god; but how can air have sensation, or divinity in any shape? 1.30. The inconsistencies of Plato are a long story. In the Timaeus he says that it is impossible to name the father of this universe; and in the Laws he deprecates all inquiry into the nature of the deity. Again, he holds that god is entirely incorporeal (in Greek, asomatos); but divine incorporeity is inconceivable, for an incorporeal deity would necessarily be incapable of sensation, and also of practical wisdom, and of pleasure, all of which are attributes essential to our conception of deity. Yet both in the Timaeus and the Laws he says that the world, the sky, the stars, the earth and our souls are gods, in addition to those in whom we have been taught to believe; but it is obvious that these propositions are both inherently false and mutually destructive. 1.31. Xenophon also commits almost the same errors, though in fewer words; for in his memoir of the sayings of Socrates he represents Socrates as arguing that it is wrong to inquire about the form of god, but also as saying that both the sun and the soul are god, and as speaking at one moment of a single god and at another of several: utterances that involve almost the same mistakes as do those which we quoted from Plato. 1.32. Antisthenes also, in his book entitled The Natural Philosopher, says that while there are many gods of popular belief, there is one god in nature, so depriving divinity of all meaning or substance. Very similarly Speusippus, following his uncle Plato, and speaking of a certain force that governs all things and is endowed with life, does his best to root out the notion of deity from our minds altogether. 1.33. And Aristotle in the Third Book of his Philosophy has a great many confused notions, not disagreeing with the doctrines of his master Plato; at one moment he assigns divinity exclusively to the intellect, at another he says that the world is itself a god, then again he puts some other being over the world, and assigns to this being the rôle of regulating and sustaining the world-motion by means of a sort of inverse rotation; then he says that the celestial heat is god — not realizing that the heavens are a part of that world which elsewhere he himself has entitled god. But how could the divine consciousness which he assigns to the heavens persist in a state of such rapid motion? Where moreover are all the gods of accepted belief, if we count the heavens also as a god? Again, in maintaining that god is incorporeal, he robs him entirely of sensation, and also of wisdom. Moreover, how is motion possible for an incorporeal being, and how, if he is always in motion, can he enjoy tranquillity and bliss? 1.34. Nor was his fellow-pupil Xenocrates any wiser on this subject. His volumes On the Nature of the Gods give no intelligible account of the divine form; for he states that there are eight gods: five inhabiting the planets, and in a state of motion; one consisting of all the fixed stars, which are to be regarded as separate members constituting a single deity; seventh he adds the sun, and eighth the moon. But what sensation of bliss these things can enjoy it is impossible to conceive. Another member of the school of Plato, Heracleides of Pontus, filled volume after volume with childish fictions; at one moment he deems the world divine, at another the intellect; he also assigns divinity to the planets, and holds that the deity is devoid of sensation and mutable of form; and again in the same volume he reckons earth and sky as gods. 1.35. Theophrastus also is intolerably inconsistent; at one moment he assigns divine pre‑eminence to mind, at another to the heavens, and then again to the constellations and stars in the heavens. Nor is his pupil, Strato, surnamed the Natural Philosopher, worthy of attention; in his view the sole repository of divine power is nature, which contains in itself the causes of birth, growth and decay, but is entirely devoid of sensation and of form. 1.36. Lastly, Balbus, I come to your Stoic school. Zeno's view is that the law of nature is divine, and that its function is to command what is right and to forbid the opposite. How he makes out this law to be alive passes our comprehension; yet we undoubtedly expect god to be a living being. In another passage however Zeno declares that the aether is god — if there is any meaning in a god without sensation, a form of deity that never presents itself to us when we offer up our prayers and supplications and make our vows. And in other books again he holds the view that a 'reason' which pervades all nature is possessed of divine power. He likewise attributes the same powers to the stars, or at another time to the years, the months and the seasons. Again, in his interpretation of Hesiod's Theogony (or Origin of the Gods) he does away with the customary and received ideas of the gods altogether, for he does not reckon either Jupiter, Juno or Vesta as gods, or any being that bears a personal name, but teaches that these names have been assigned allegorically to dumb and lifeless things. 1.37. Zeno's pupil Aristo holds equally mistaken views. He thinks that the form of the deity cannot be comprehended, and he denies the gods sensation, and in fact is uncertain whether god is a living being at all. Cleanthes, who attended Zeno's lectures at the same time as the last-named, at one moment says that the world itself is god, at another gives this name to the mind and soul of the universe, and at another decides that the most unquestionable deity is that remote all‑surrounding fiery atmosphere called the aether, which encircles and embraces the universe on its outer side at an exceedingly lofty altitude; while in the books that he wrote to combat hedonism he babbles like one demented, now imagining gods of some definite shape and form, now assigning full divinity to the stars, now pronouncing that nothing is more divine than reason. The result is that the god whom we apprehend by our intelligence, and desire to make to correspond with a mental concept as a seal tallies with its impression, has utterly and entirely vanished. 1.38. Persaeus, another pupil of Zeno, says that men have deified those persons who have made some discovery of special utility for civilization, and that useful and health-giving things have themselves been called by divine names; he did not even say that they were discoveries of the gods, but speaks of them as actually divine. But what could be more ridiculous than to award divine honours to things mean and ugly, or to give the rank of gods to men now dead and gone, whose worship could only take the form of lamentation? 1.39. Chrysippus, who is deemed to be the most skilful interpreter of the Stoic dreams, musters an enormous mob of unknown gods — so utterly unknown that even imagination cannot guess at their form and nature, although our mind appears capable of visualizing anything; for he says that divine power resides in reason, and in the soul and mind of the universe; he calls the world itself a god, and also the all‑pervading world-soul, and again the guiding principle of that soul, which operates in the intellect and reason, and the common and all‑embracing nature of things; beside this, the fire that I previously termed aether; and also the power of Fate, and the Necessity that governs future events; and also all fluid and soluble substances, such as water, earth, air, the sun, moon and stars, and the all‑embracing unity of things; and even those human beings who have attained immortality. 1.40. He also argues that the god whom men call Jupiter is the aether, and that Neptune is the air which permeates the sea, and the goddess called Ceres the earth; and he deals in the same way with the whole series of the names of the other gods. He also identifies Jupiter with the mighty Law, everlasting and eternal, which is our guide of life and instructress in duty, and which he entitles Necessity or Fate, and the Everlasting Truth of future events; none of which conceptions is of such a nature as to be deemed to possess divinity. 1.41. This is what is contained in his Nature of the Gods, Book I. In Book II he aims at reconciling the myths of Orpheus, Musaeus, Hesiod and Homer with his own theology as enunciated in Book I, and so makes out that even the earliest poets of antiquity, who had no notion of these doctrines, were really Stoics. In this he is followed by Diogenes of Babylon, who in his book entitled Minerva rationalizes the myth of the birth of the virgin goddess from Jove by explaining it as an allegory of the processes of nature. 1.42. I have given a rough account of what are more like the dreams of madmen than the considered opinions of philosophers. For they are little less absurd than the outpourings of the poets, harmful as these have been owing to the mere charm of their style. The poets have represented the gods as inflamed by anger and maddened by lust, and have displayed to our gaze their wars and battles, their fights and wounds, their hatreds, enmities and quarrels, their births and deaths, their complaints and lamentations, the utter and unbridled licence of their passions, their adulteries and imprisonments, their unions with human beings and the birth of mortal progeny from an immortal parent. 1.43. With the errors of the poets may be classed the monstrous doctrines of the magi and the insane mythology of Egypt, and also the popular beliefs, which are a mere mass of inconsistencies sprung from ignorance. "Anyone pondering on the baseless and irrational character of these doctrines ought to regard Epicurus with reverence, and to rank him as one of the very gods about whom we are inquiring. For he alone perceived, first, that the gods exist, because nature herself has imprinted a conception of them on the minds of all mankind. For what nation or what tribe is there but possesses untaught some 'preconception' of the gods? Such notions Epicurus designates by the word prolepsis, that is, a sort of preconceived mental picture of a thing, without which nothing can be understood or investigated or discussed. The force and value of this argument we learn in that work of genius, Epicurus's Rule or Standard of Judgement. 1.44. You see therefore that the foundation (for such it is) of our inquiry has been well and truly laid. For the belief in the gods has not been established by authority, custom or law, but rests on the uimous and abiding consensus of mankind; their existence is therefore a necessary inference, since we possess an instinctive or rather an innate concept of them; but a belief which all men by nature share must necessarily be true; therefore it must be admitted that the gods exist. And since this truth is almost universally accepted not only among philosophers but also among the unlearned, we must admit it as also being an accepted truth that we possess a 'preconception,' as I called it above, or 'prior notion,' of the gods. (For we are bound to employ novel terms to denote novel ideas, just as Epicurus himself employed the word prolepsis in a sense in which no one had ever used it before.) 1.45. We have then a preconception of such a nature that we believe the gods to be blessed and immortal. For nature, which bestowed upon us an idea of the gods themselves, also engraved on our minds the belief that they are eternal and blessed. If this is so, the famous maxim of Epicurus truthfully enunciates that 'that which is blessed and eternal can neither know trouble itself nor cause trouble to another, and accordingly cannot feel either anger or favour, since all such things belong only to the weak.' "If we sought to attain nothing else beside piety in worshipping the gods and freedom from superstition, what has been said had sufficed; since the exalted nature of the gods, being both eternal and supremely blessed, would receive man's pious worship (for what is highest commands the reverence that is its due); and furthermore all fear of the divine power or divine anger would have been banished (since it is understood that anger and favour alike are excluded from the nature of a being at once blessed and immortal, and that these being eliminated we are menaced by no fears in regard to the powers above). But the mind strives to strengthen this belief by trying to discover the form of god, the mode of his activity, and the operation of his intelligence. 1.46. For the divine form we have the hints of nature supplemented by the teachings of reason. From nature all men of all races derive the notion of gods as having human shape and none other; for in what other shape do they ever appear to anyone, awake or asleep? But not to make primary concepts the sole test of all things, reason itself delivers the same pronouncement. 1.47. For it seems appropriate that the being who is the most exalted, whether by reason of his happiness or his eternity, should also be the most beautiful; but what disposition of the limbs, what cast of features, what shape or outline can be more beautiful than the human form? You Stoics at least, Lucilius, (for my friend Cotta says one thing at one time and another at another) are wont to portray the skill of the divine creator by enlarging on the beauty as well as the utility of design displayed in all parts of the human figure. 1.48. But if the human figure surpasses the form of all other living beings, and god is a living being, god must possess the shape which is the most beautiful of all; and since it is agreed that the gods are supremely happy, and no one can be happy without virtue, and virtue cannot exist without reason, and reason is only found in the human shape, it follows that the gods possess the form of man. 1.49. Yet their form is not corporeal, but only resembles bodily substance; it does not contain blood, but the semblance of blood. "These discoveries of Epicurus are so acute in themselves and so subtly expressed that not everyone would be capable of appreciating them. Still I may rely on your intelligence, and make my exposition briefer than the subject demands. Epicurus then, as he not merely discerns abstruse and recondite things with his mind's eye, but handles them as tangible realities, teaches that the substance and nature of the gods is such that, in the first place, it is perceived not by the senses but by the mind, and not materially or individually, like the solid objects which Epicurus in virtue of their substantiality entitles steremnia; but by our perceiving images owing to their similarity and succession, because an endless train of precisely similar images arises from the innumerable atoms and streams towards the gods, our minds with the keenest feelings of pleasure fixes its gaze on these images, and so attains an understanding of the nature of a being both blessed and eternal. 1.50. Moreover there is the supremely potent principle of infinity, which claims the closest and most careful study; we must understand that it has the following property, that in the sum of things everything has its exact match and counterpart. This property is termed by Epicurus isonomia, or the principle of uniform distribution. From this principle it follows that if the whole number of mortals be so many, there must exist no less a number of immortals, and if the causes of destruction are beyond count, the causes of conservation also are bound to be infinite. "You Stoics are also fond of asking us, Balbus, what is the mode of life of the gods and how they pass their days. 1.51. The answer is, their life is the happiest conceivable, and the one most bountifully furnished with all good things. God is entirely inactive and free from all ties of occupation; he toils not neither does he labour, but he takes delight in his own wisdom and virtue, and knows with absolute certainty that he will always enjoy pleasures at once consummate and everlasting. 1.52. This is the god whom we should call happy in the proper sense of the term; your Stoic god seems to us to be grievously overworked. If the world itself is god, what can be less restful than to revolve at incredible speed round the axis of the heavens without a single moment of respite? but repose is an essential condition of happiness. If on the other hand some god resides within the world as its governor and pilot, maintaining the courses of the stars, the changes of the seasons and all the ordered process of creation, and keeping a watch on land and sea to guard the interests and lives of men, why, what a bondage of irksome and laborious business is his! 1.53. We for our part deem happiness to consist in tranquillity of mind and entire exemption from all duties. For he who taught us all the rest has also taught us that the world was made by nature, without needing an artificer to construct it, and that the act of creation, which according to you cannot be performed without divine skill, is so easy, that nature will create, is creating and has created worlds without number. You on the contrary cannot see how nature can achieve all this without the aid of some intelligence, and so, like the tragic poets, being unable to bring the plot of your drama to a dénouement, you have recourse to a god; 1.54. whose intervention you assuredly would not require if you would but contemplate the measureless and boundless extent of space that stretches in every direction, into which when the mind projects and propels itself, it journeys onward far and wide without ever sighting any margin or ultimate point where it can stop. Well then, in this immensity of length and breadth and height there flits an infinite quantity of atoms innumerable, which though separated by void yet cohere together, and taking hold each of another form unions wherefrom are created those shapes and forms of things which you think cannot be created without the aid of bellows and anvils, and so have saddled us with an eternal master, whom day and night we are to fear; for who would not fear a prying busybody of a god, who foresees and thinks of and notices all things, and deems that everything is his concern? 1.56. But Epicurus has set us free from superstitious terrors and delivered us out of captivity, so that we have no fear of beings who, we know, create no trouble for themselves and seek to cause none to others, while we worship with pious reverence the transcendent majesty of nature. "But I fear that enthusiasm for my subject has made me prolix. It was difficult however to leave so vast and splendid a theme unfinished, although really it was not my business to be a speaker so much as a listener. 1.57. Then Cotta took up the discussion. "Well, Velleius," he rejoined, with his usual suavity, "unless you had stated a case, you certainly would have had no chance of hearing anything from me. I always find it much easier to think of arguments to prove a thing false than to prove it true. This often happens to me, and did so just now while I was listening to you. Ask me what I think that the divine nature is like, and very probably I shall make no reply; but inquire whether I believe that it resembles the description of it which you have just given, and I shall say that nothing seems to me less likely. But before proceeding to examine your arguments, I will give my opinion of yourself. 1.58. I fancy I have often heard that friend of yours [Lucius Crassus] declare that of all the Roman adherents of Epicureanism he placed you unquestionably first, and that few of those from Greece could be ranked beside you; but knowing his extraordinary esteem for you, I imagined that he was speaking with the partiality of a friend. I myself however, though reluctant to praise you to your face, must nevertheless pronounce that your exposition of an obscure and difficult theme has been most illuminating, and not only exhaustive in its treatment of the subject, but also graced with a charm of style not uncommon in your school. 1.59. When at Athens, I frequently attended the discourses of Zeno, whom our friend Philo used to call the leader of the Epicurean choir; in fact it was Philo who suggested that I should go to him — no doubt in order that I might be better able to judge how completely the Epicurean doctrine may be refuted when I had heard an exposition of it from the head of the school. Now Zeno, unlike most Epicureans, had a style as clear, cogent and elegant as your own. But what often occurred to me in his case happened just now while I was listening to you: I felt annoyed that talents so considerable should have chanced to select (if you will forgive my saying it) so trivial, not to say so stupid, a set of doctrines. 1.60. Not that I propose at the moment to contribute something better of my own. As I said just now, in almost all subjects, but especially in natural philosophy, I am more ready to say what is not true than what is. Inquire of me as to the being and nature of god, and I shall follow the example of Simonides, who having the same question put to him by the great Hiero, requested a day's grace for consideration; next day, when Hiero repeated the question, he asked for two days, and so went on several times multiplying the number of days by two; and when Hiero in surprise asked why he did so, he replied, 'Because the longer I deliberate the more obscure the matter seems to me.' But Simonides is recorded to have been not only a charming poet but also a man of learning and wisdom in other fields, and I suppose that so many acute and subtle ideas came into his mind that he could not decide which of them was truest, and therefore despaired of truth altogether. 1.61. But as for your master Epicurus (for I prefer to join issue with him rather than with yourself), which of his utterances is, I do not say worthy of philosophy, but compatible with ordinary common sense? "In an inquiry as to the nature of the gods, the first question that we ask is, do the gods exist or do they not? 'It is difficult to deny their existence.' No doubt it would be if the question were to be asked in a public assembly, but in private conversation and in a company like the present it is perfectly easy. This being so, I, who am a high priest, and who hold it to be a duty most solemnly to maintain the rights and doctrines of the established religion, should be glad to be convinced of this fundamental tenet of the divine existence, not as an article of faith merely but as an ascertained fact. For many disturbing reflections occur to my mind, which sometimes make me think that there are no gods at all. 1.62. But mark how generously I deal with you. I will not attack those tenets which are shared by your school with all other philosophers — for example the one in question, since almost all men, and I myself no less than any other, believe that the gods exist, and this accordingly I do not challenge. At the same time I doubt the adequacy of the argument which you adduce to prove it. You said that a sufficient reason for our admitting that the gods exist was the fact that all the nations and races of mankind believe it. But argument is both inconclusive and untrue. In the first place, how do you know what foreign races believe? For my part I think that there are many nations so uncivilized and barbarous as to have no notion of any gods at all. 1.69. This is a very common practice with your school. You advance a paradox, and then, when you want to escape censure, you adduce in support of it some absolute impossibility; so that you would have done better to abandon the point in dispute rather than to offer so shameless a defence. For instance, Epicurus saw that if the atoms travelled downwards by their own weight, we should have no freedom of the will, since the motion of the atoms would be determined by necessity. He therefore invented a device to escape from determinism (the point had apparently escaped the notice of Democritus): he said that the atom while travelling vertically downward by the force of gravity makes a very slight swerve to the side. 1.82. For we have often seen temples robbed and images of gods carried off from the holiest shrines by our fellow-countrymen, but no one ever even heard of an Egyptian laying profane hands on a crocodile or ibis or cat. What therefore do you infer? that the Egyptians do not believe their sacred bull Apis to be a god? Precisely as much as you believe the Saviour Juno of your native place to be a goddess. You never see her even in your dreams unless equipped with goat-skin, spear, buckler and slippers turned up at the toe. Yet that is not the aspect of the Argive Juno, nor of the Roman. It follows that Juno has one form for the Argives, another for the people of Lanuvium, and another for us. And indeed our Jupiter of the Capitol is not the same as the Africans' Juppiter Ammon. 1.92. Did you think they were all out of their minds because they pronounced that god can exist without hands or feet? Does not even a consideration of the adaptation of man's limbs to their functions convince you that the gods do not require human limbs? What need is there for feet without walking, or for hands if nothing has to be grasped, or for the rest of the list of the various parts of the body, in which nothing is useless, nothing without a reason, nothing superfluous, so that no art can imitate the cunning of nature's handiwork? It seems then that god will have a tongue, and will not speak; teeth, a palate, a throat, for no use; the organs that nature has attached to the body for the purpose of procreation — these god will possess, but to no purpose; and not only the external but also the internal organs, the heart, lungs, liver and the rest, which if they are not useful are assuredly not beautiful — since your school holds that god possesses bodily parts because of their beauty. 1.94. You yourself just now, when reeling off the list of philosophers like the censor calling the roll of the Senate, said that all those eminent men were fools, idiots and madmen. But if none of these discerned the truth about the divine nature, it is to be feared that the divine nature is entirely non‑existent. "For as for your school's account of the matter, it is the merest fairy-story, hardly worthy of old wives at work by lamplight. You don't perceive what a number of things you are let in for, if we consent to admit that men and gods have the same form. You will have to assign to god exactly the same physical exercises and care of the person as are proper to men: he will walk, run, recline, bend, sit, hold things in the hand, and lastly even converse and make speeches. 1.95. As for your saying that the gods are male and female, well, you must see what the consequence of that will be. For my part, I am at a loss to imagine how your great founder arrived at such notions. All the same you never cease vociferating that we must on no account relinquish the divine happiness and immortality. But what prevents god from being happy without having two legs? and why cannot your 'beatitude' or 'beatity,' whichever form we are to use — and either is certainly a hard mouthful, but words have to be softened by use — but whatever it is, why can it not apply to the sun yonder, or to this world of ours, or to some eternal intelligence devoid of bodily shape and members? 1.96. Your only answer is: 'I have never seen a happy sun or world.' Well, but have you ever seen any other world but this one? No, you will reply. Then why did you venture to assert the existence of, not thousands and thousands, but a countless number of worlds? 'That is what reason teaches.' Then will not reason teach you that when we seek to find a being who shall be supremely excellent, and happy and eternal as well — and nothing else constitutes divinity —, even as that being will surpass us in immortality, so also will it surpass us in mental excellence, and even as in mental excellence, so also in bodily. Why then, if we are inferior to god in all else, are we his equals in form? for man came nearer to the divine image in virtue than in outward aspect. 1.100. Then you censured those who argued from the splendour and the beauty of creation, and who, observing the world itself, and the parts of the world, the sky and earth and sea, and the sun, moon and stars that adorn them, and discovering the laws of the seasons and their periodic successions, conjectured that there must exist some supreme and transcendent being who had created these things, and who imparted motion to them and guided and governed them. Though this guess may be wide of the mark, I can see what they are after; but as for you, what mighty masterpiece pray do you adduce as apparently the creation of divine intelligence, leading you to conjecture that gods exist? 'We have an idea of god implanted in our minds,' you say. Yes, and an idea of Jupiter with a beard, and Minerva in a helmet; but do you therefore believe that those deities are really like that? 1.117. On the other hand what reason is there for adoring the gods on the ground of our admiration for the divine nature, if we cannot see that that nature possesses any special excellence? "As for freedom from superstition, which is the favourite boast of your school, that is easy to attain when you have deprived the gods of all power; unless perchance you think that it was possible for Diagoras or Theodorus to be superstitious, who denied the existence of the gods altogether. For my part, I don't see how it was possible even for Protagoras, who was not certain either that the gods exist or that they do not. For the doctrines of all these thinkers abolish not only superstition, which implies a groundless fear of the gods, but also religion, which consists in piously worshipping them. 1.118. Take again those who have asserted that the entire notion of the immortal gods is a fiction invented by wise men in the interest of the state, to the end that those whom reason was powerless to control might be led in the path of duty by religion; surely this view was absolutely and entirely destructive of religion. Or Prodicus of Ceos,',WIDTH,)" onmouseout="nd();"º who said that the gods were personifications of things beneficial to the life of man — pray what religion was left by his theory? 1.119. Or those who teach that brave or famous or powerful men have been deified after death, and that it is these who are the real objects of the worship, prayers and adoration which we are accustomed to offer — are not they entirely devoid of all sense of religion? This theory was chiefly developed by Euhemerus, who was translated and imitated especially by our poet Ennius. Yet Euhemerus describes the death and burial of certain gods; are we then to think of him as upholding religion, or rather as utterly and entirely destroying it? I say nothing of the holy and awe‑inspiring sanctuary of Eleusis, Where tribes from earth's remotest confines seek Initiation, and I pass over Samothrace and those occult mysteries Which throngs of worshippers at dead of night In forest coverts deep do celebrate at Lemnos, since such mysteries when interpreted and rationalized prove to have more to do with natural science than with theology. 1.121. for who could form a mental picture of such images? who could adore them and deem them worthy of worship or reverence? "Epicurus however, in abolishing divine beneficence and divine benevolence, uprooted and exterminated all religion from the human heart. For while asserting the supreme goodness and excellence of the divine nature, he yet denies to god the attribute of benevolence — that is to say, he does away with that which is the most essential element of supreme goodness and excellence. For what can be better or more excellent than kindness and beneficence? Make out god to be devoid of either, and you make him devoid of all love, affection or esteem for any other being, human or divine. It follows not merely that the gods do not care for mankind, but that they have no care for one another. How much more truth there is in the Stoics, whom you censure! They hold that all wise men are friends, even when strangers to each other, since nothing is more lovable than virtue, and he that attains to it will have our esteem in whatever country he dwells. 1.123. Epicurus is making fun of us, though he is not so much a humorist as a loose and careless writer. For how can holiness exist if the gods pay no heed to man's affairs? Yet what is the meaning of an animate being that pays no heed to anything? "It is doubtless therefore truer to say, as the good friend of us all, Posidonius, argued in the fifth book of his On the Nature of the Gods, that Epicurus does not really believe in the gods at all, and that he said what he did about the immortal gods only for the sake of deprecating popular odium. Indeed he could not have been so senseless as really to imagine god to be like a feeble human being, but resembling him only in outline and surface, not in solid substance, and possessing all man's limbs but entirely incapable of using them, an emaciated and transparent being, showing no kindness or beneficence to anybody, caring for nothing and doing nothing at all. In the first place, a being of this nature is an absolute impossibility, and Epicurus was aware of this, and so actually abolishes the gods, although professedly retaining them. 2.3. Even if I had any clear view, I should still prefer to hear you speak in your turn, now that I have said so much myself." "Well," replied Balbus, "I will yield to your wish; and I shall be as brief as I can, for indeed when the errors of Epicurus have been refuted, my argument is robbed of all occasion for prolixity. To take a general view, the topic of the immortal gods which you raise is divided by our school into four parts: first they prove that the gods exist; next they explain their nature; then they show that the world is governed by them; and lastly that they care for the fortunes of mankind. In our present discourse however let us take the first two of these heads; the third and fourth, being questions of greater magnitude, had better I think be put off to another time." "No, no," cried Cotta, "we are at leisure now, and moreover the subjects which we are discussing might fitly claim precedence even of matters of business. 2.5. how is the latter fact more evident than the former? Nothing but the presence in our minds of a firmly grasped concept of the deity could account for the stability and permanence of our belief in him, a belief which is only strengthened by the passage of the ages and grows more deeply rooted with each successive generation of mankind. In every other case we see that fictitious and unfounded opinions have dwindled away with lapse of time. Who believes that the Hippocentaur or the Chimaera ever existed? Where can you find an old wife senseless enough to be afraid of the monsters of the lower world that were once believed in? The years obliterate the inventions of the imagination, but confirm the judgements of nature. "Hence both in our own nation and among all others reverence for the gods and respect for religion grow continually stronger and more profound. 2.57. I therefore believe that I shall not be wrong if in discussing this subject I take my first principle from the prince of seekers after truth, Zeno himself. Now Zeno gives this definition of nature: 'nature (he says) is a craftsmanlike fire, proceeding methodically to the work of generation.' For he holds that the special function of an art or craft is to create and generate, and that what in the processes of our arts is done by the hand is done with far more skilful craftsmanship by nature, that is, as I said, by that 'craftsmanlike' fire which is the teacher of the other arts. And on this theory, while each department of nature is 'craftsmanlike,' in the sense of having a method or path marked out for it to follow 2.70. Do you see therefore how from a true and valuable philosophy of nature has been evolved this imaginary and fanciful pantheon? The perversion has been a fruitful source of false beliefs, crazy errors and superstitions hardly above the level of old wives' tales. We know what the gods look like and how old they are, their dress and their equipment, and also their genealogies, marriages and relationships, and all about them is distorted into the likeness of human frailty. They are actually represented as liable to passions and emotions — we hear of their being in love, sorrowful, angry; according to the myths they even engage in wars and battles, and that not only when as in Homer two armies and contending and the gods take sides and intervene on their behalf, but they actually fought wars of their own, for instance with the Titans and with the Giants. These stories and these beliefs are utterly foolish; they are stuffed with nonsense and absurdity of all sorts. 2.72. Persons who spent whole days in prayer and sacrifice to ensure that their children should outlive them were termed 'superstitious' (from superstes, a survivor), and the word later acquired a wider application. Those on the other hand who carefully reviewed and so to speak retraced all the lore of ritual were called 'religious' from relegere (to retrace or re‑read), like 'elegant' from eligere (to select), 'diligent' from diligere (to care for), 'intelligent' fromintellegere (to understand); for all these words contain the same sense of 'picking out' (legere) that is present in 'religious.' Hence 'superstitious' and 'religious' came to be terms of censure and approval respectively. I think that I have said enough to prove the existence of the gods and their nature. 2.73. Next I have to show that the world is governed by divine providence. This is of course a vast topic; the doctrine is hotly contested by your school, Cotta, and it is they no doubt that are my chief adversaries here. As for you and your friends, Velleius, you scarcely understand the vocabulary of the subject; for you only read your own writings, and are so enamoured of them that you pass judgement against all the other schools without giving them a hearing. For instance, you yourself told us yesterday that the Stoics present Pronoia or providence in the guise of an old hag of a fortune-teller; this was due to your mistaken notion that they imagine providence as a kind of special deity who rules and governs the universe. But as a matter of fact 'providence' is an elliptical expression; 3.92. But at all events a god could have come to the aid of those great and splendid cities and have preserved them — for you yourselves are fond of saying that there is nothing that a god cannot accomplish, and that without any toil; as man's limbs are effortlessly moved merely by his mind and will, so, as you say, the god's power can mould and move and alter all things. Nor do you say this as some superstitious fable or old wives' tale, but you give a scientific and systematic account of it: you allege that matter, which constitutes and contains all things, is in its entirety flexible and subject to change, so that there is nothing that cannot be moulded and transmuted out of it however suddenly, but the moulder and manipulator of this universal substance is divine providence, and therefore providence, whithersoever it moves, is able to perform whatever it will. Accordingly either providence does not know its own powers, or it does not regard human affairs, or it lacks power of judgement to discern what is the best.
5. Cicero, On Duties, 1.47-1.54 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.47. De benivolentia autem, quam quisque habeat erga nos, primum illud est in officio, ut ei plurimum tribuamus, a quo plurimum diligamur, sed benivolentiam non adulescentulorum more ardore quodam amoris, sed stabilitate potius et constantia iudicemus. Sin erunt merita, ut non ineunda, sed referenda sit gratia, maior quaedam cura adhibenda est; nullum enim officium referenda gratia magis necessarium est. 1.48. Quodsi ea, quae utenda acceperis, maiore mensura, si modo possis, iubet reddere Hesiodus, quidnam beneficio provocati facere debemus? an imitari agros fertiles, qui multo plus efferunt quam acceperunt? Etenim si in eos, quos speramus nobis profuturos, non dubitamus officia conferre, quales in eos esse debemus, qui iam profuerunt? Nam cum duo genera liberalitatis sint, unum dandi beneficii, alterum reddendi, demus necne, in nostra potestate est, non reddere viro bono non licet, modo id facere possit sine iniuria. 1.49. Acceptorum autem beneficiorum sunt dilectus habendi, nec dubium, quin maximo cuique plurimum debeatur. In quo tamen in primis, quo quisque animo, studio, benivolentia fecerit, ponderandum est. Multi enim faciunt multa temeritate quadam sine iudicio vel morbo in omnes vel repentino quodam quasi vento impetu animi incitati; quae beneficia aeque magna non sunt habenda atque ea, quae iudicio, considerate constanterque delata sunt. Sed in collocando beneficio et in referenda gratia, si cetera paria sunt, hoc maxime officii est, ut quisque maxime opis indigeat, ita ei potissimum opitulari; quod contra fit a plerisque; a quo enim plurimum sperant, etiamsi ille iis non eget, tamen ei potissimum inserviunt. 1.50. Optime autem societas hominum coniunctioque servabitur, si, ut quisque erit coniunctissimus, ita in eum benignitatis plurimum conferetur. Sed, quae naturae principia sint communitatis et societatis humanae, repetendum videtur altius; est enim primum, quod cernitur in universi generis humani societate. Eius autem vinculum est ratio et oratio, quae docendo, discendo, communicando, disceptando, iudicando conciliat inter se homines coniungitque naturali quadam societate; neque ulla re longius absumus a natura ferarum, in quibus inesse fortitudinem saepe dicimus, ut in equis, in leonibus, iustitiam, aequitatem, bonitatem non dicimus; sunt enim rationis et orationis expertes. 1.51. Ac latissime quidem patens hominibus inter ipsos, omnibus inter omnes societas haec est; in qua omnium rerum, quas ad communem hominum usum natura genuit, est servanda communitas, ut, quae discripta sunt legibus et iure civili, haec ita teneantur, ut sit constitutum legibus ipsis, cetera sic observentur, ut in Graecorum proverbio est, amicorum esse communia omnia. Omnium autem communia hominum videntur ea, quae sunt generis eius, quod ab Ennio positum in una re transferri in permultas potest: Homó, qui erranti cómiter monstrát viam, Quasi lúmen de suo lúmine accendát, facit. Nihiló minus ipsi lúcet, cum illi accénderit. Una ex re satis praecipit, ut, quicquid sine detrimento commodari possit, id tribuatur vel ignoto; 1.52. ex quo sunt illa communia: non prohibere aqua profluente, pati ab igne ignem capere, si qui velit, consilium fidele deliberanti dare, quae sunt iis utilia, qui accipiunt, danti non molesta. Quare et his utendum est et semper aliquid ad communem utilitatem afferendum. Sed quoniam copiae parvae singulorum sunt, eorum autem, qui his egeant, infinita est multitudo, vulgaris liberalitas referenda est ad illum Ennii finem: Nihilo minus ipsi lucet, ut facultas sit, qua in nostros simus liberales. 1.53. Gradus autem plures sunt societatis hominum. Ut enim ab illa infinita discedatur, propior est eiusdem gentis, nationis, linguae, qua maxime homines coniunguntur; interius etiam est eiusdem esse civitatis; multa enim sunt civibus inter se communia, forum, fana, porticus, viae, leges, iura: iudicia, suffragia, consuetudines praeterea et familiaritates multisque cum multis res rationesque contractae. Artior vero colligatio est societatis propinquorum; ab illa enim immensa societate humani generis in exiguum angustumque concluditur. 1.54. Nam cum sit hoc natura commune animantium, ut habeant libidinem procreandi, prima societas in ipso coniugio est, proxima in liberis, deinde una domus, communia omnia; id autem est principium urbis et quasi seminarium rei publicae. Sequuntur fratrum coniunctiones, post consobrinorum sobrinorumque, qui cum una domo iam capi non possint, in alias domos tamquam in colonias exeunt. Sequuntur conubia et affinitates, ex quibus etiam plures propinqui; quae propagatio et suboles origo est rerum publicarum. Sanguinis autem coniunctio et benivolentia devincit homines et caritate; 1.47.  But as to the affection which anyone may have for us, it is the first demand of duty that we do most for him who loves us most; but we should measure affection, not like youngsters, by the ardour of its passion, but rather by its strength and constancy. But if there shall be obligations already incurred, so that kindness is not to begin with us, but to be requited, still greater diligence, it seems, is called for; for no duty is more imperative that that of proving one's gratitude. 1.48.  But if, as Hesiod bids, one is to repay with interest, if possible, what one has borrowed in time of need, what, pray, ought we to do when challenged by an unsought kindness? Shall we not imitate the fruitful fields, which return more than they receive? For if we do not hesitate to confer favours upon those who we hope will be of help to us, how ought we to deal with those who have already helped us? For generosity is of two kinds: doing a kindness and requiting one. Whether we do the kindness or not is optional; but to fail to requite one is not allowable to a good man, provided he can make the requital without violating the rights of others. 1.49.  Furthermore, we must make some discrimination between favours received; for, as a matter of course the greater the favour, the greater is the obligation. But in deciding this we must above all give due weight to the spirit, the devotion, the affection that prompted the favour. For many people often do favours impulsively for everybody without discrimination, prompted by a morbid sort of benevolence or by a sudden impulse of the heart, shifting the wind. Such acts of generosity are not to be so highly esteemed as those which are performed with judgment, deliberation, and mature consideration. But in bestowing a kindness, as well as in making a requital, the first rule of duty requires us — other things being equal — to lend assistance preferably to people in proportion to their individual need. Most people adopt the contrary course: they put themselves most eagerly at the service of the one from whom they hope to receive the greatest favours even though he has no need of their help. 1.50.  The interests of society, however, and its common bonds will be best conserved, if kindness be shown to each individual in proportion to the closeness of his relationship. But it seems we must trace back to their ultimate sources the principles of fellowship and society that Nature has established among men. The first principle is that which is found in the connection subsisting between all the members of the human race; and that bond of connection is reason and speech, which by the processes of teaching and learning, of communicating, discussing, and reasoning associate men together and unite them in a sort of natural fraternity. In no other particular are we farther removed from the nature of beasts; for we admit that they may have courage (horses and lions, for example); but we do not admit that they have justice, equity, and goodness; for they are not endowed with reason or speech. 1.51.  This, then, is the most comprehensive bond that unites together men as men and all to all; and under it the common right to all things that Nature has produced for the common use of man is to be maintained, with the understanding that, while everything assigned as private property by the statutes and by civil law shall be so held as prescribed by those same laws, everything else shall be regarded in the light indicated by the Greek proverb: "Amongst friends all things in common." Furthermore, we find the common property of all men in things of the sort defined by Ennius; and, though restricted by him to one instance, the principle may be applied very generally: "Who kindly sets a wand'rer on his way Does e'en as if he lit another's lamp by his: No less shines his, when he his friend's hath lit." In this example he effectively teaches us all to bestow even upon a stranger what it costs us nothing to give. 1.52.  On this principle we have the following maxims:"Deny no one the water that flows by;" "Let anyone who will take fire from our fire;" "Honest counsel give to one who is in doubt;" for such acts are useful to the recipient and cause the giver no loss. We should, therefore, adopt these principles and always be contributing something to the common weal. But since the resources of individuals are limited and the number of the needy is infinite, this spirit of universal liberality must be regulated according to that test of Ennius — "No less shines his" — in order that we may continue to have the means for being generous to our friends. 1.53.  Then, too, there are a great many degrees of closeness or remoteness in human society. To proceed beyond the universal bond of our common humanity, there is the closer one of belonging to the same people, tribe, and tongue, by which men are very closely bound together; it is a still closer relation to be citizens of the same city-state; for fellow-citizens have much in common — forum, temples colonnades, streets, statutes, laws, courts, rights of suffrage, to say nothing of social and friendly circles and diverse business relations with many. But a still closer social union exists between kindred. Starting with that infinite bond of union of the human race in general, the conception is now confined to a small and narrow circle. 1.54.  For since the reproductive instinct is by Nature's gift the common possession of all living creatures, the first bond of union is that between husband and wife; the next, that between parents and children; then we find one home, with everything in common. And this is the foundation of civil government, the nursery, as it were, of the state. Then follow the bonds between brothers and sisters, and next those of first and then of second cousins; and when they can no longer be sheltered under one roof, they go out into other homes, as into colonies. Then follow between these in turn, marriages and connections by marriage, and from these again a new stock of relations; and from this propagation and after-growth states have their beginnings. The bonds of common blood hold men fast through good-will and affection;
6. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, 5.11, 5.50, 5.73-5.82, 5.119 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5.11. cuius multiplex ratio disputandi rerumque varietas et ingenii magnitudo Platonis memoria et litteris consecrata plura genera effecit effecit s efficit X dissentientium philosophorum, e quibus nos id potissimum consecuti consecuti con del. V 2 sumus, quo Socratem usum arbitrabamur, arbitramur V 2 s ut nostram ipsi sententiam tegeremus, errore alios levaremus et in omni disputatione, quid esset simillimum veri, quaereremus. quaeremus G 1 K quem morem moyerem G 2 cum Carneades acutissime copiosissimeque tenuisset, fecimus et alias saepe et nuper in Tusculano, ut ad eam eam ( del. c ) R consuetudinem disputaremus. et quadridui quidem sermonem superioribus ad ad a R missimus G 1 K te perscriptum libris misimus, quinto autem die cum eodem in loco consedissemus, sic est propositum, de quo disputaremus: 5.50. quod si est, add. Lb. beata vita glorianda et praedicanda et prae se ferenda est; nihil est enim aliud quod praedicandum et prae se ferendum praeferendum V ( cf. ad 426, 20 ) sit. quibus positis intellegis quid sequatur. Et quidem, nisi ea vita beata est, quae est eadem honesta, sit aliud necesse est melius vita beata; quod erit enim enim add. G 2 honestum, certe fatebuntur esse melius. ita erit beata vita melius aliquid; quo quid potest dici perversius? dicimus itaque sapientem...9 pacem et 14 beata... 427,7 perversius H Quid? cum fatentur satis magnam vim esse in vitiis ad invitusad V miseram vitam, nonne fatendum est eandem vim in virtute virtute B 1 virtutem X virtutum s esse ad beatam vitam? contrariorum enim contraria sunt consequentia. 5.73. An Epic.fr.604 tu me in viola putabas aut in rosa dicere? an Epicuro, qui qui G 1 quia G 2 KRV cf.438,19 tantum modo induit personam philosophi et sibi ipse hoc nomen inscripsit, dicere licebit, licebit alt. i in r. V quod quidem, ut habet se res, me tamen plaudente dicit, nullum sapienti esse tempus, etiamsi uratur torqueatur secetur, quin possit exclamare: quam pro nihilo puto! cum praesertim omne malum dolore definiat defirmat ( vel defirniat) V 1 bonum voluptate, haec nostra honesta turpia inrideat dicatque nos in vocibus Epic.fr.511 occupatos iis sonos fundere, neque quicquam ad nos pertinere nisi quod aut leve aut asperum in corpore sentiatur: huic ergo, ut dixi, non multum differenti a iudicio ferarum oblivisci licebit sui et tum fortunam contemnere, cum sit omne et bonum eius et malum in potestate fortunae, tum dicere se se add. G 2 beatum in summo cruciatu atque tormentis, cum constituerit non modo summum malum esse dolorem, sed etiam solum? 5.74. nec vero illa sibi remedia comparavit ad tolerandum tollerandum X (toll endum G 1 ) dolorem, firmitatem animi, turpitudinis verecundiam, exercitationem consuetudinemque patiendi, praecepta fortitudinis, praecepta fortitudinis del.Sey.sed Cic.l.2,34—41 exercitationem consuetudinemque,postea (cf. maxime 51. 53) praecepta fortitudinis animo proposita (p.313,15sqq.) valere ad tolerandum dolorem exponit (cf.p.285.6 295, 24sqq.fin.2,94.95; 4, 31). cf.etiam Plasberg, Festschrift f. Vahlen p.234 (obloq. Se.,Jb.d.ph.V.29 p.97) duritiam virilem, sed una se dicit recordatione adquiescere praeteritarum voluptatium, voluptatum Bai.cf.Neue 1, 410 ut si quis aestuans, cum vim caloris non non postea add. R 1 facile patiatur, patiatur putatur V 1 recordari velit sese sese s esse X (se V 3 ) aliquando in Arpinati nostro gelidis fluminibus circumfusum fuisse. non enim video, quo modo sedare possint 5.75. mala praesentia praeteritae voluptates—sed cum is is his G 1 KV 1 dicat semper beatum esse sapientem, cui dicere hoc, si si add. G 2 sibi constare vellet, non liceret, quidnam faciendum est is qui nihil expetendum, nihil in bonis ducendum, quod honestate careat, existumant? existumant -a- e corr. R 1 Me quidem auctore auctore ex auctoritate R c etiam Peripatetici veteresque Academici balbuttire balbuttire GR Non. balbut ire V 1 balbutire K aliquando desit me...24 desit Non. 80, 13 aperteque et clara voce audeant dicere beatam vitam in Phalaridis taurum descensuram. decen suram X ( corr. V 3 ) 5.76. sint enim tria genera bonorum, ut ut aut V iam a laqueis Stoicorum, quibus usum me pluribus quam soleo intellego, recedamus, sint sane illa genera bonorum, dum corporis et et s om. X externa iaceant humi et tantum modo, quia sumenda sint, appellentur bona, animi animi Jeep (cf.427,14 443,3 458,6;divini ani- mi bona divina sunt caelumque contingunt) autem illa alii K alia GRV illa add. G 2 divina longe lateque se pandant caelumque contingant; ut, ut del.Lb.sed cf.p.242,25 ea qui adeptus sit, cur eum beatum modo et non beatissimum etiam dixerim? Dolorem vero sapiens extimescet? is enim huic maxime maxime huic G 1 sententiae repugnat. nam nam non V contra mortem nostram atque nostrorum contraque aegritudinem et reliquas animi perturbationes satis esse videmur videmus K superiorum dierum disputationibus armati et parati; dolor esse videtur acerrumus virtutis virtutis We. virtuti istis ard. G adversarius; is ardentis faces intentat, is fortitudinem, magnitudinem animi, patientiam se debilitaturum minatur. 5.77. huic igitur succumbet virtus, huic beata sapientis et constantis viri vita cedet? caedet RV quam turpe, o dii boni! pueri Spartiatae non ingemescunt ingemiscunt K 1 R c B verberum verberum ex verborum V 1 G 2 dolore laniati. adulescentium greges reges V 1 Lacedaemone vidimus ipsi incredibili contentione contione X (conditione G 1 ) corr. B 1 s certantis pugnis calcibus unguibus morsu denique, cum exanimarentur prius quam victos se faterentur. quae barbaria India vastior aut agrestior? quae...agrestior? Non.415,11 in ea tamen aut... tamen add. V c gente primum sqq. cf.Val.Max.3,3,6 ext.2,6,14 ei, qui sapientes habentur, nudi aetatem agunt et Caucasi nives hiemalemque vim perferunt sine sqq. cf.Val.Max.3,3,6 ext.2,6,14 dolore, cumque ad flammam se adplicaverunt, applicaverunt KRV sine gemitu aduruntur. 5.78. mulieres vero in India, cum est cuius cuiuis V 3 communis Geel ( sed tum plures...nuptae post mortuus legeretur; cf.etiam Se., Jb.d.ph.V.26 p.301 ) earum vir mortuus, in certamen iudiciumque veniunt, quam plurumum ille dilexerit— plures enim singulis solent esse nuptae—; quae est victrix, ea laeta prosequentibus suis una unam V 1 cum viro in rogum imponitur, ponitur G 1 illa ilia cf.Quint.inst.1,3,2 victa quae Se. non male,cf.Claud.de nupt.Hon.64 (superatae cum...maerore in vita remanent Val.M. ) maesta discedit. numquam naturam mos vinceret; vinceret vincit H est enim ea semper invicta; sed nos umbris deliciis delitiis X (deliciis V, sed ci in r scr.,alt. i ss. V 2 ) otio languore langore G desidia animum infecimus, opinionibus maloque more delenitum delinitum V 1 H mollivimus. mollium KR 1 ( corr. 1 aut c )H Aegyptiorum morem quis ignorat? ignoret K quorum inbutae mentes pravitatis erroribus quamvis carnificinam carnifici. nam X prius subierint quam ibim aut aspidem aut faelem felem GV cf.nat.deor.1, 82 aut canem aut corcodillum corcodillum GRV corcodrillum KH cf.Th.l.l. violent, volent V 1 quorum etiamsi inprudentes quippiam fecerint, poenam nullam recusent. 5.79. de hominibus loquor; quid? bestiae non frigus, non famem, non montivagos atque silvestris cursus lustrationesque patiuntur? non pro suo sua G 1 partu ita propugt, ut ut K vulnera excipiant, nullos impetus nullos ictus reformident? omitto, quae omittoque p.G 1 V 1 perferant quaeque patiantur ambitiosi honoris causa, laudis studiosi gloriae gratia, amore incensi cupiditatis. plena plana GRV 1 ( corr. 3 ) vita exemplorum exemplum G 1 est. 5.80. Sed adhibeat oratio modum et redeat illuc, unde deflexit. dabit, inquam, dabit, dabit, inquam edd. vett. se in tormenta vita beata nec iustitiam temperantiam in primisque fortitudinem, magnitudinem animi, patientiam patientia GRVH prosecuta, cum tortoris os viderit, consistet virtutibusque omnibus sine ullo animi terrore ad cruciatum profectis resistet extra extra ( fuit et) R fores, ut ante ante cf.p. 410,8 dixi, limenque lumenque G 1 carceris. quid enim ea foedius, quid deformius sola relicta, a add. Lb. comitatu pulcherrimo pulcherrumo KR segregata? quod tamen fieri nullo pacto potest; nec enim virtutes sine beata vita cohaerere possunt nec illa sine virtutibus. 5.81. itaque eam tergiversari non sinent sinent s V rec Non. sinenti secumque rapient, itaque...6 rapienti Non.41,26 ad quemcumque ipsae ipse X dolorem cruciatumque ducentur. sapientis est enim proprium nihil quod paenitere possit possit add. G 2 facere, nihil invitum, splendide constanter graviter graviter c nstanter R honeste omnia, nihil ita expectare exspectare GRH ( alt.loco ) quasi certo incerto H (inc. alt.loco futurum, nihil, cum acciderit, admirari, ut inopinatum opinatum R 1 ac novum accidisse videatur, omnia ad suum arbitrium referre, suis stare iudiciis. quo quod G ( exp. 2 ) quid sit beatius, mihi certe in mentem venire non potest. numquam...441, 7 sapientis ( om. 441, 12 omnia...14 potest) H 5.82. Stoicorum quidem facilis conclusio est; qui cum finem bonorum esse esse om. H senserint congruere congruę G 1 naturae cumque ea convenienter vivere, cum id sit in sapientis sapientis Lb. sapiente situm non officio solum, verum etiam etiam om. H potestate, sequatur necesse est, ut, cuius in potestate summum bonum, in eiusdem vita beata ita ista V 1 sit. ita fit semper vita beata sapientis. Habes, quae fortissime de beata vita dici putem et, quo modo nunc est, nisi quid tu melius attuleris, etiam verissime. Melius equidem adferre nihil possum, sed a te impetrarim lubenter, ut, nisi molestum sit, sit est Ha. quoniam te nulla vincula impediunt ullius ullius V 3 B Corr s illius X certae disciplinae libasque ex omnibus, quodcumque te maxime specie veritatis movet,—quod paulo ante paulo ante 438,22 Peripateticos veteremque Academiam hortari videbare, ut sine retractatione libere dicere dicerent G ( corr. 1 ) RV ( corr. rec ) auderent audirent K sapientis esse semper beatissimos, id velim audire, quem ad modum his putes consentaneum esse id dicere. multa multi K 1 enim a te contra istam sententiam dicta sunt et Stoicorum ratione conclusa. 5.119. Quodsi is philosophis, his philosophis XF ii ( vel hi) philosophi corr. s V b vulgo; sed anacoluthon ( C. pergere volebat : semper beatus videtur sapiens cf. p. 418,23 ) tolerari potest, si v. 458,3 si i (et X id ut vid. F ei We. ) scribitur. quorum ea sententia est, ut virtus per se ipsa nihil valeat, omneque, omnesque XF ut v. omneque s quod honestum nos et laudabile esse dicamus, dicimus s id illi cassum cassum ex casus G 1 casum V quiddam et ii iis F vocis sono decoratum esse dicant,— si i si i cf. ad p. 457,21 tamen semper beatum censent esse sapientem, quid tandem a Socrate et Platone profectis perfectis KRH ( in V legi non potest ) philosophis faciendum videtur? uidetur V b (ui solum nunc in V dispicitur ) vides XF iudicas Sey. quorum alii tantam praestantiam in bonis animi esse dicunt, ut ab is is his X iis F corporis et externa obruantur, obruantur F cf. p. 314, 22 fin. 5,91 observant X (observan in V dispicitur observent R 2 ) obscurentur s (observatur pro obruatur Gr. p. 358, 1 ) alii autem haec ne ne nec K bona quidem ducunt, in animo reponunt omnia. haud...458, 8 omnia H
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.14 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.14. and the subjects being all the natures beneath the moon, hovering in the air and adjacent to the earth. But that the rulers aforesaid are not independent and absolute, but are the viceroys of one supreme Being, the Father of all, in imitation of whom they administer with propriety and success the charge committed to their care, as he also presides over all created things in strict accordance with justice and with law. Others, on the contrary, who have not discovered the supreme Governor, who thus rules everything, have attributed the causes of the different things which exist in the world to the subordinate powers, as if they had brought them to pass by their own independent act.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 2.24 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2.24. But on this fast it is not lawful to take any food or any drink, in order that no bodily passion may at all disturb or hinder the pure operations of the mind; but these passions are wont to be generated by fulness and satiety, so that at this time men feast, propitiating the Father of the universe with holy prayers, by which they are accustomed to solicit pardon for their former sins, and the acquisition and enjoyment of new blessings.
9. New Testament, Ephesians, 3.14-3.21, 4.18 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

3.14. For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 3.15. from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named 3.16. that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; 3.17. that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love 3.18. may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth 3.19. and to know Christ's love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 3.20. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us 3.21. to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. 4.18. being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts;
10. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 30.14 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. Tacitus, Annals, 6.22 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6.22.  For myself, when I listen to this and similar narratives, my judgement wavers. Is the revolution of human things governed by fate and changeless necessity, or by accident? You will find the wisest of the ancients, and the disciplines attached to their tenets, at complete variance; in many of them a fixed belief that Heaven concerns itself neither with our origins, nor with our ending, nor, in fine, with mankind, and that so adversity continually assails the good, while prosperity dwells among the evil. Others hold, on the contrary, that, though there is certainly a fate in harmony with events, it does not emanate from wandering stars, but must be sought in the principles and processes of natural causation. Still, they leave us free to choose our life: that choice made, however, the order of the future is certain. Nor, they maintain, are evil and good what the crowd imagines: many who appear to be the sport of adverse circumstances are happy; numbers are wholly wretched though in the midst of great possessions — provided only that the former endure the strokes of fortune with firmness, while the latter employ her favours with unwisdom. With most men, however, the faith is ineradicable that the future of an individual is ordained at the moment of his entry into life; but at times a prophecy is falsified by the event, through the dishonesty of the prophet who speaks he knows not what; and thus is debased the credit of an art, of which the most striking evidences have been furnished both in the ancient world and in our own. For the forecast of Nero's reign, made by the son of this very Thrasyllus, shall be related at its fitting place: at present I do not care to stray too far from my theme.
12. Augustine, The City of God, 5.2, 5.4, 6.9 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

5.2. Cicero says that the famous physician Hippocrates has left in writing that he had suspected that a certain pair of brothers were twins, from the fact that they both took ill at once, and their disease advanced to its crisis and subsided in the same time in each of them. Posidonius the Stoic, who was much given to astrology, used to explain the fact by supposing that they had been born and conceived under the same constellation. In this question the conjecture of the physician is by far more worthy to be accepted, and approaches much nearer to credibility, since, according as the parents were affected in body at the time of copulation, so might the first elements of the fœtuses have been affected, so that all that was necessary for their growth and development up till birth having been supplied from the body of the same mother, they might be born with like constitutions. Thereafter, nourished in the same house, on the same kinds of food, where they would have also the same kinds of air, the same locality, the same quality of water - which, according to the testimony of medical science, have a very great influence, good or bad, on the condition of bodily health - and where they would also be accustomed to the same kinds of exercise, they would have bodily constitutions so similar that they would be similarly affected with sickness at the same time and by the same causes. But, to wish to adduce that particular position of the stars which existed at the time when they were born or conceived as the cause of their being simultaneously affected with sickness, manifests the greatest arrogance, when so many beings of most diverse kinds, in the most diverse conditions, and subject to the most diverse events, may have been conceived and born at the same time, and in the same district, lying under the same sky. But we know that twins do not only act differently, and travel to very different places, but that they also suffer from different kinds of sickness; for which Hippocrates would give what is in my opinion the simplest reason, namely, that, through diversity of food and exercise, which arises not from the constitution of the body, but from the inclination of the mind, they may have come to be different from each other in respect of health. Moreover, Posidonius, or any other asserter of the fatal influence of the stars, will have enough to do to find anything to say to this, if he be unwilling to im pose upon the minds of the uninstructed in things of which they are ignorant. But, as to what they attempt to make out from that very small interval of time elapsing between the births of twins, on account of that point in the heavens where the mark of the natal hour is placed, and which they call the horoscope, it is either disproportionately small to the diversity which is found in the dispositions, actions, habits, and fortunes of twins, or it is disproportionately great when compared with the estate of twins, whether low or high, which is the same for both of them, the cause for whose greatest difference they place, in every case, in the hour on which one is born; and, for this reason, if the one is born so immediately after the other that there is no change in the horoscope, I demand an entire similarity in all that respects them both, which can never be found in the case of any twins. But if the slowness of the birth of the second give time for a change in the horoscope, I demand different parents, which twins can never have. 5.4. In the time of the ancient fathers, to speak concerning illustrious persons, there were born two twin brothers, the one so immediately after the other, that the first took hold of the heel of the second. So great a difference existed in their lives and manners, so great a dissimilarity in their actions, so great a difference in their parents' love for them respectively, that the very contrast between them produced even a mutual hostile antipathy. Do we mean, when we say that they were so unlike each other, that when the one was walking the other was sitting, when the one was sleeping the other was waking - which differences are such as are attributed to those minute portions of space which cannot be appreciated by those who note down the position of the stars which exists at the moment of one's birth, in order that the mathematicians may be consulted concerning it? One of these twins was for a long time a hired servant; the other never served. One of them was beloved by his mother; the other was not so. One of them lost that honor which was so much valued among their people; the other obtained it. And what shall we say of their wives, their children, and their possessions? How different they were in respect to all these! If, therefore, such things as these are connected with those minute intervals of time which elapse between the births of twins, and are not to be attributed to the constellations, wherefore are they predicted in the case of others from the examination of their constellations? And if, on the other hand, these things are said to be predicted, because they are connected, not with minute and inappreciable moments, but with intervals of time which can be observed and noted down, what purpose is that potter's wheel to serve in this matter, except it be to whirl round men who have hearts of clay, in order that they may be prevented from detecting the emptiness of the talk of the mathematicians? 6.9. And as to those very offices of the gods, so meanly and so minutely portioned out, so that they say that they ought to be supplicated, each one according to his special function - about which we have spoken much already, though not all that is to be said concerning it - are they not more consistent with mimic buffoonery than divine majesty? If any one should use two nurses for his infant, one of whom should give nothing but food, the other nothing but drink, as these make use of two goddesses for this purpose, Educa and Potina, he should certainly seem to be foolish, and to do in his house a thing worthy of a mimic. They would have Liber to have been named from liberation, because through him males at the time of copulation are liberated by the emission of the seed. They also say that Libera (the same in their opinion as Venus) exercises the same function in the case of women, because they say that they also emit seed; and they also say that on this account the same part of the male and of the female is placed in the temple, that of the male to Liber, and that of the female to Libera. To these things they add the women assigned to Liber, and the wine for exciting lust. Thus the Bacchanalia are celebrated with the utmost insanity, with respect to which Varro himself confesses that such things would not be done by the Bacchanals except their minds were highly excited. These things, however, afterwards displeased a saner senate, and it ordered them to be discontinued. Here, at length, they perhaps perceived how much power unclean spirits, when held to be gods, exercise over the minds of men. These things, certainly, were not to be done in the theatres; for there they play, not rave, although to have gods who are delighted with such plays is very like raving. But what kind of distinction is this which he makes between the religious and the superstitious man, saying that the gods are feared by the superstitious man, but are reverenced as parents by the religious man, not feared as enemies; and that they are all so good that they will more readily spare those who are impious than hurt one who is innocent? And yet he tells us that three gods are assigned as guardians to a woman after she has been delivered, lest the god Silvanus come in and molest her; and that in order to signify the presence of these protectors, three men go round the house during the night, and first strike the threshold with a hatchet, next with a pestle, and the third time sweep it with a brush, in order that these symbols of agriculture having been exhibited, the god Silvanus might be hindered from entering, because neither are trees cut down or pruned without a hatchet, neither is grain ground without a pestle, nor grain heaped up without a besom. Now from these three things three gods have been named: Intercidona, from the cut made by the hatchet; Pilumnus, from the pestle; Diverra, from the besom;- by which guardian gods the woman who has been delivered is preserved against the power of the god Silvanus. Thus the guardianship of kindly-disposed gods would not avail against the malice of a mischievous god, unless they were three to one, and fought against him, as it were, with the opposing emblems of cultivation, who, being an inhabitant of the woods, is rough, horrible, and uncultivated. Is this the innocence of the gods? Is this their concord? Are these the health-giving deities of the cities, more ridiculous than the things which are laughed at in the theatres? When a male and a female are united, the god Jugatinus presides. Well, let this be borne with. But the married woman must be brought home: the god Domiducus also is invoked. That she may be in the house, the god Domitius is introduced. That she may remain with her husband, the goddess Manturn is used. What more is required? Let human modesty be spared. Let the lust of flesh and blood go on with the rest, the secret of shame being respected. Why is the bed-chamber filled with a crowd of deities, when even the groomsmen have departed? And, moreover, it is so filled, not that in consideration of their presence more regard may be paid to chastity, but that by their help the woman, naturally of the weaker sex, and trembling with the novelty of her situation, may the more readily yield her virginity. For there are the goddess Virginiensis, and the god-father Subigus, and the goddess-mother Prema, and the goddess Pertunda, and Venus, and Priapus. What is this? If it was absolutely necessary that a man, laboring at this work, should be helped by the gods, might not some one god or goddess have been sufficient? Was Venus not sufficient alone, who is even said to be named from this, that without her power a woman does not cease to be a virgin? If there is any shame in men, which is not in the deities, is it not the case that, when the married couple believe that so many gods of either sex are present, and busy at this work, they are so much affected with shame, that the man is less moved, and the woman more reluctant? And certainly, if the goddess Virginiensis is present to loose the virgin's zone, if the god Subigus is present that the virgin may be got under the man, if the goddess Prema is present that, having been got under him, she may be kept down, and may not move herself, what has the goddess Pertunda to do there? Let her blush; let her go forth. Let the husband himself do something. It is disgraceful that any one but himself should do that from which she gets her name. But perhaps she is tolerated because she is said to be a goddess, and not a god. For if she were believed to be a male, and were called Pertundus, the husband would demand more help against him for the chastity of his wife than the newly-delivered woman against Silvanus. But why am I saying this, when Priapus, too, is there, a male to excess, upon whose immense and most unsightly member the newly-married bride is commanded to sit, according to the most honorable and most religious custom of matrons? Let them go on, and let them attempt with all the subtlety they can to distinguish the civil theology from the fabulous, the cities from the theatres, the temples from the stages, the sacred things of the priests from the songs of the poets, as honorable things from base things, truthful things from fallacious, grave from light, serious from ludicrous, desirable things from things to be rejected, we understand what they do. They are aware that that theatrical and fabulous theology hangs by the civil, and is reflected back upon it from the songs of the poets as from a mirror; and thus, that theology having been exposed to view which they do not dare to condemn, they more freely assail and censure that picture of it, in order that those who perceive what they mean may detest this very face itself of which that is the picture - which, however, the gods themselves, as though seeing themselves in the same mirror, love so much, that it is better seen in both of them who and what they are. Whence, also, they have compelled their worshippers, with terrible commands, to dedicate to them the uncleanness of the fabulous theology, to put them among their solemnities, and reckon them among divine things; and thus they have both shown themselves more manifestly to be most impure spirits, and have made that rejected and reprobated theatrical theology a member and a part of this, as it were, chosen and approved theology of the city, so that, though the whole is disgraceful and false, and contains in it fictitious gods, one part of it is in the literature of the priests, the other in the songs of the poets. Whether it may have other parts is another question. At present, I think, I have sufficiently shown, on account of the division of Varro, that the theology of the city and that of the theatre belong to one civil theology. Wherefore, because they are both equally disgraceful, absurd, shameful, false, far be it from religious men to hope for eternal life from either the one or the other. In fine, even Varro himself, in his account and enumeration of the gods, starts from the moment of a man's conception. He commences the series of those gods who take charge of man with Janus, carries it on to the death of the man decrepit with age, and terminates it with the goddess N nia, who is sung at the funerals of the aged. After that, he begins to give an account of the other gods, whose province is not man himself, but man's belongings, as food, clothing, and all that is necessary for this life; and, in the case of all these, he explains what is the special office of each, and for what each ought to be supplicated. But with all this scrupulous and comprehensive diligence, he has neither proved the existence, nor so much as mentioned the name, of any god from whom eternal life is to be sought - the one object for which we are Christians. Who, then, is so stupid as not to perceive that this man, by setting forth and opening up so diligently the civil theology, and by exhibiting its likeness to that fabulous, shameful, and disgraceful theology, and also by teaching that that fabulous sort is also a part of this other, was laboring to obtain a place in the minds of men for none but that natural theology, which he says pertains to philosophers, with such subtlety that he censures the fabulous, and, not daring openly to censure the civil, shows its censurable character by simply exhibiting it; and thus, both being reprobated by the judgment of men of right understanding, the natural alone remains to be chosen? But concerning this in its own place, by the help of the true God, we have to discuss more diligently.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
anger Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 103
astrology Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 245
atom / atomism Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
brutus m. junius Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
chaldeans Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 245
cicero Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
cotta c. aurelius Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
criterium / criterion Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
cyrenaics Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
desire / tendency / adpetitio Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
determinism Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
dialogues Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
dio chrysostom (of prusa) Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
dionysius the sophist Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 245
doxography Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
epicureans Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96, 245; Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
epicurus Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 216; Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
evil Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
fate/ heimarmene' "256.0_96.0@god's governance" Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
father, fatherhood Albrecht, The Divine Father: Religious and Philosophical Concepts of Divine Parenthood in Antiquity (2014) 317
gender, and age Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 51
gods, existence Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
good Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
happiness / εὐδαιμονία Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
lucilius balbus, quintus Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 51
necessity Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
necessity / necessitas / necessarium / ἀνάγκη Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
omens, on piety Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 105
pantheism Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
philodemus Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 216
posidonius Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 245
probable / probability / probabilitas / πιθανόν Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
providence Albrecht, The Divine Father: Religious and Philosophical Concepts of Divine Parenthood in Antiquity (2014) 317; Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
pyrrho Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 245
sophists, sophistry Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
stoicism Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 51
stoics, stoicism Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 216
superstition/religio Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96, 245
superstition Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 51
theology Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 96
torquatus, lucius manlius Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
tullius cicero, marcus Mowat, Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic (2021) 51
velleius, gaius Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
velleius c. Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
verisimilaritude / veri simile / εἰκός Maso, CIcero's Philosophy (2022) 35
virtues Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 79
yom kippur' Albrecht, The Divine Father: Religious and Philosophical Concepts of Divine Parenthood in Antiquity (2014) 317