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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



2300
Cicero, On The Nature Of The Gods, 3.93


nan'It does not care for individuals.' This is no wonder; no more does it care for cities. Not for temple? Not for tribes or nations either. And if it shall appear that it despises even nations, what wonder is it that it has scorned the entire human race? But how can you both maintain that the gods do not pay attention to everything and also believe that dreams are distributed and doled out to men by the immortal gods? I argue this with you because the belief in the truth of dreams is a tenet of your school. And do you also say that it is proper for men to take vows upon themselves? Well, but vows are made by individuals; therefore the divine mind gives a hearing even to the concerns of individuals; do you see therefore that it is not so engrossed in business as you thought? Grant that it is distracted between moving the heavens and watching the earth and controlling the seas: why does it suffer so many gods to be idle and keep holiday? why does it not appoint some of leisured gods whose countless numbers you expounded, Balbus, to superintend human affairs? "This more or less is what I have to say about the nature of the gods; it is not my design to disprove it, but to bring you to understand how obscure it is and how difficult to explain.


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

9 results
1. Cicero, On Divination, 1.52.118, 2.33 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.33. Haec observari certe non potuerunt, ut supra docui. Sunt igitur artis inventa, non vetustatis, si est ars ulla rerum incognitarum; cum rerum autem natura quam cognationem habent? quae ut uno consensu iuncta sit et continens, quod video placuisse physicis, eisque maxume, qui omne, quod esset, unum esse dixerunt, quid habere mundus potest cum thesauri inventione coniunctum? Si enim extis pecuniae mihi amplificatio ostenditur idque fit natura, primum exta sunt coniuncta mundo, deinde meum lucrum natura rerum continetur. Nonne pudet physicos haec dicere? Ut enim iam sit aliqua in natura rerum contagio, quam esse concedo (multa enim Stoici colligunt; nam et musculorum iecuscula bruma dicuntur augeri, et puleium aridum florescere brumali ipso die, et inflatas rumpi vesiculas, et semina malorum, quae in iis mediis inclusa sint, in contrarias partis se vertere, iam nervos in fidibus aliis pulsis resonare alios, ostreisque et conchyliis omnibus contingere, ut cum luna pariter crescant pariterque decrescant, arboresque ut hiemali tempore cum luna simul senescente, quia tum exsiccatae sint, tempestive caedi putentur. 2.33. Such signs, as I have shown before, certainly could not come within your classification of the kinds of divination dependent on observation. Therefore they are not the result of immemorial usage, but they are the inventions of art — if there can be any art in the occult. But what relationship have they with the laws of nature? Assuming that all the works of nature are firmly bound together in a harmonious whole (which, I observe, is the view of the natural philosophers and especially of those men who maintain that the universe is a unit), what connexion can there be between the universe and the finding of a treasure? For instance, if the entrails foretell an increase in my fortune and they do so in accordance with some law of nature, then, in the first place, there is some relationship between them and the universe, and in the second place, my ficial gain is regulated by the laws of nature. Are not the natural philosophers ashamed to utter such nonsense? And yet a certain contact between the different parts of nature may be admitted and I concede it. The Stoics have collected much evidence to prove it. They claim, for example, that the livers of mice become larger in winter; that the dry pennyroyal blooms the very day of the winter solstice, and that its seed-pods become inflated and burst and the seeds enclosed thither are sent in various directions; that at times when certain strings of the lyre are struck others sound; that it is the habit of oysters and of all shell-fish to grow with the growth of the moon and to become smaller as it wanes; and that trees are considered easiest to cut down in winter and in the dark of the moon, because they are then free from sap.
2. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 3.68, 3.86-3.90, 3.92 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.68. Medea was criminal, but also she was perfectly rational. Again, does not the hero plotting the direful banquet for his brother turn the design this way and that in his thoughts? More must I moil and bigger bale must brew, Whereby to quell and crush his cruel heart. Nor must we pass over Thyestes himself, who Was not content to tempt my wife to sin — an offence of which Atreus speaks correctly and with perfect truth — the which I deem the height of peril In matters of high state, if royal mothers Shall be debauched, the royal blood corrupted, The lineage mixed. But how craftily this very crime is plotted by his brother, employing adultery as a means to gain the throne: Thereto withal (says Atreus) the heavenly sire did send me A warning portent, to confirm my reign — A lamb, conspicuous among the flock With fleece of gold, Thyestes once did dare To steal from out my palace, and in this deed My consort did suborn as his accomplice. 3.86. 'But,' it may be objected, 'the gods disregard smaller matters, and do not pay attention to the petty farms and paltry vines of individuals, and any trifling damage done by blight or hail cannot have been a matter for the notice of Jupiter; even kings do not attend to all the petty affairs in their kingdoms': this is how you argue. As if forsooth it was Publius Rutilius's estate at Formiae about which I complained a little time ago, and not his loss of all security! But this is the way with all mortals: their external goods, their vineyards, cornº-fields and olive-yards, with their abundant harvests and fruits, and in short all the comfort and prosperity of their lives, they think of as coming to them from the gods; but virtue no one ever imputed to a god's bounty. 3.87. And doubtless with good reason; for our virtue is a just ground for others' praise and a right reason for our own pride, and this would not be so if the gift of virtue came to us from a god and not from ourselves. On the other hand when we achieve some honour or some accession to our estate, or obtain any other of the goods or avoid any of the evils of fortune, it is then that we render thanks to the gods, and do not think that our credit has been enhanced. Did anyone ever render thanks to the gods because he was a good man? No, but because he was rich, honoured, secure. The reason why men give to Jupiter the titles of Best and Greatest is not that they the hand that he makes us just, temperate or wise, but safe, secure, wealthy and opulent. 3.88. Nor did anyone ever vow to pay a tithe to Hercules if he became a wise man! It is true there is a story that Pythagoras used to sacrifice an ox to the Muses when he had made a new discovery in geometry! but I don't believe it, since Pythagoras refused even to sacrifice a victim to Apollo of Delos, for fear of sprinkling the altar with blood. However, to return to my point, it is the considered belief of all mankind that they must pray to god for fortune but obtain wisdom for themselves. Let us dedicate temples as we will to Intellect, Virtue and Faith, yet we perceive that these things are within ourselves; hope, safety, wealth, victory are blessings which we must seek from the gods. Accordingly the prosperity and good fortune of the wicked, as Diogenes used to say, disprove the might and power of the gods entirely. 3.89. 'But sometimes good men come to good ends.' Yes, and we seize upon these cases and impute them with no reason to the immortal gods. Diagoras, named the Atheist, once came to Samothrace, and a certain friend said to him, 'You who think that the gods disregard men's affairs, do you not remark all the votive pictures that prove how many persons have escaped the violence of the storm, and come safe to port, by dint of vows to the gods?' 'That is so,' replied Diagoras; 'it is because there are nowhere any pictures of those who have been shipwrecked and drowned at sea.' On another voyage he encountered a storm which threw the crew of the vessel into a panic, and in their terror they told him that they had brought it on themselves by having taken him on board their ship. He pointed out to them a never of other vessels making heavy weather on the same course, and inquired whether they supposed that those ships also had a Diagoras on board. The fact really is that your character and past life make no difference whatever as regards your fortune good or bad. 3.90. 'The gods do not take notice of everything, any more than do human rulers,' says our friend. Where is the parallel? If human rulers knowingly overlook a fault they are greatly to blame; but as for god, he cannot even offer the excuse of ignorance. And how remarkably you champion his cause, when you declare that the divine power is such that even if a person has escaped punishment by dying, the punishment is visited on his children and grandchildren and their descendants! What a remarkable instance of the divine justice! Would any state tolerate a lawgiver who should enact that a son or grandson was to be sentenced for the transgression of a father or grandfather? Where shall the Tantalids' vendetta end? What penalty for Myrtilus' murder Shall ever glut the appetite of vengeance? 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.
3. Plutarch, On Fate, None (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4. Apuleius, On The God of Socrates, 6.132 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Maximus of Tyre, Dialexeis, 5.4-5.7 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 7.119 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7.119. They are also, it is declared, godlike; for they have a something divine within them; whereas the bad man is godless. And yet of this word – godless or ungodly – there are two senses, one in which it is the opposite of the term godly, the other denoting the man who ignores the divine altogether: in this latter sense, as they note, the term does not apply to every bad man. The good, it is added, are also worshippers of God; for they have acquaintance with the rites of the gods, and piety is the knowledge of how to serve the gods. Further, they will sacrifice to the gods and they keep themselves pure; for they avoid all acts that are offences against the gods, and the gods think highly of them: for they are holy and just in what concerns the gods. The wise too are the only priests; for they have made sacrifices their study, as also establishing holy places, purifications, and all the other matters appertaining to the gods.
7. Origen, Against Celsus, 4.88, 5.3 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

4.88. And wishing to show at greater length that even the thoughts of God entertained by the human race are not superior to those of all other mortal creatures, but that certain of the irrational animals are capable of thinking about Him regarding whom opinions so discordant have existed among the most acute of mankind- Greeks and Barbarians - he continues: If, because man has been able to grasp the idea of God, he is deemed superior to the other animals, let those who hold this opinion know that this capacity will be claimed by many of the other animals; and with good reason: for what would any one maintain to be more divine than the power of foreknowing and predicting future events? Men accordingly acquire the art from the other animals, and especially from birds. And those who listen to the indications furnished by them, become possessed of the gift of prophecy. If, then, birds, and the other prophetic animals, which are enabled by the gift of God to foreknow events, instruct us by means of signs, so much the nearer do they seem to be to the society of God, and to be endowed with greater wisdom, and to be more beloved by Him. The more intelligent of men, moreover, say that the animals hold meetings which are more sacred than our assemblies, and that they know what is said at these meetings, and show that in reality they possess this knowledge, when, having previously stated that the birds have declared their intention of departing to some particular place, and of doing this thing or the other, the truth of their assertions is established by the departure of the birds to the place in question, and by their doing what was foretold. And no race of animals appears to be more observant of oaths than the elephants are, or to show greater devotion to divine things; and this, I presume, solely because they have some knowledge of God. See here now how he at once lays hold of, and brings forward as acknowledged facts, questions which are the subject of dispute among those philosophers, not only among the Greeks, but also among the Barbarians, who have either discovered or learned from certain demons some things about birds of augury and other animals, by which certain prophetic intimations are said to be made to men. For, in the first place, it has been disputed whether there is an art of augury, and, in general, a method of divination by animals, or not. And, in the second place, they who admit that there is an art of divination by birds, are not agreed about the manner of the divination; since some maintain that it is from certain demons or gods of divination that the animals receive their impulses to action - the birds to flights and sounds of different kinds, and the other animals to movements of one sort or another. Others, again, believe that their souls are more divine in their nature, and fitted to operations of that kind, which is a most incredible supposition. 5.3. But observe how, in his desire to subvert our opinions, he who never acknowledged himself throughout his whole treatise to be an Epicurean, is convicted of being a deserter to that sect. And now is the time for you, (reader), who peruse the works of Celsus, and give your assent to what has been advanced, either to overturn the belief in a God who visits the human race, and exercises a providence over each individual man, or to grant this, and prove the falsity of the assertions of Celsus. If you, then, wholly annihilate providence, you will falsify those assertions of his in which he grants the existence of God and a providence, in order that you may maintain the truth of your own position; but if, on the other hand, you still admit the existence of providence, because you do not assent to the dictum of Celsus, that neither has a God nor the son of a God come down nor is to come down to mankind, why not rather carefully ascertain from the statements made regarding Jesus, and the prophecies uttered concerning Him, who it is that we are to consider as having come down to the human race as God, and the Son of God?- whether that Jesus who said and ministered so much, or those who under pretence of oracles and divinations, do not reform the morals of their worshippers, but who have besides apostatized from the pure and holy worship and honour due to the Maker of all things, and who tear away the souls of those who give heed to them from the one only visible and true God, under a pretence of paying honour to a multitude of deities?
8. Stobaeus, Anthology, 2.67.13 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

9. Papyri, Derveni Papyrus, 1



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aristippus of cyrene Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
balbus Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 114
cause, four Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
celsus, and platonism Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
celsus, and stoicism Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
celsus, on fate (εἱμαρμένη) Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
celsus, on god Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
celsus, on providence (πρόνοια) Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
celsus Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
cicero Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
contract, conditional self-curse of oath Fletcher, Performing Oaths in Classical Greek Drama (2012) 186
cosmos, cycle Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 114
cosmos, order Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 114
daimons Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
demons, (middle) platonists on Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
derveni author Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
destiny Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
dike Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
divination Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
dreams, interpretation of oracular dreams Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
erinyes Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
experts, expertise, derveni author as expert Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
expiation Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
fate (εἱμαρμένη), celsus on Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
fate (εἱμαρμένη), platonists on Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
fate (εἱμαρμένη), plotinus Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
fate (εἱμαρμένη), stoics on Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
fire, in ritual Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
fortune (chance) Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
gods, celsus on Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
gods Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42; Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 114
hades, terrors of hades Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
justice Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
knowledge, superior knowledge of divine origin Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
maximus of tyre Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
necessity Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
neuhausen, h. Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
obrien, c.s. Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
offerings (bloodless) Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
oracles, interpretation of Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
origen Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
orpheus Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
perjury Fletcher, Performing Oaths in Classical Greek Drama (2012) 186
platonists/platonism/plato, and celsus Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
platonists/platonism/plato, on fate (εἱμαρμένη) Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
plotinus, on fate (εἱμαρμένη) Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
porphyry Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
prayer, criticism of Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
prayer, petitionary Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
prayer, usefulness of Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
prayer, uselessness of Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
predestination (προόρισις), celsus on Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
proclus Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
providence Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92; Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 114
reason/ logos Frede and Laks, Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology, its Background and Aftermath (2001) 114
rites, rituals Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
sacrifices Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
scrofani, g. Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
servants of the gods (minor deities) Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
skepticism, academic' Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 113
souls Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
stoicism Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
stoics/stoicism, and celsus Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
stoics/stoicism, on fate (εἱμαρμένη) Brouwer and Vimercati, Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age (2020) 285
stoics Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
theology Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
timotin, a. Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
uranus phallus, in ritual Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42
zeller, d. Dillon and Timotin, Platonic Theories of Prayer (2015) 92
zeus Alvarez, The Derveni Papyrus: Unearthing Ancient Mysteries (2018) 42