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4471
Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 2.29


nan But to us it seems not inappropriate to speak briefly of the Chaldaeans of Babylon and of their antiquity, that we may omit nothing which is worthy of record., Now the Chaldaeans, belonging as they do to the most ancient inhabitants of Babylonia, have about the same position among the divisions of the state as that occupied by the priests of Egypt; for being assigned to the service of the gods they spend their entire life in study, their greatest renown being in the field of astrology. But they occupy themselves largely with soothsaying as well, making predictions about future events, and in some cases by purifications, in others by sacrifices, and in others by some other charms they attempt to effect the averting of evil things and the fulfilment of the good., They are also skilled in soothsaying by the flight of birds, and they give out interpretations of both dreams and portents. They also show marked ability in making divinations from the observation of the entrails of animals, deeming that in this branch they are eminently successful. The training which they receive in all these matters is not the same as that of the Greeks who follow such practices., For among the Chaldaeans the scientific study of these subjects is passed down in the family, and son takes it over from father, being relieved of all other services in the state. Since, therefore, they have their parents for teachers, they not only are taught everything ungrudgingly but also at the same time they give heed to the precepts of their teachers with a most unwavering trust. Furthermore, since they are bred in these teachings from childhood up, they attain a great skill in them, both because of the ease with which youth is taught and because of the great amount of time which is devoted to this study., Among the Greeks, on the contrary, the student who takes up a large number of subjects without preparation turns to the higher studies only quite late, and then, after labouring upon them to some extent, gives them up, being distracted by the necessity of earning a livelihood; and but a few here and there really strip for the higher studies and continue in the pursuit of them as profit-making business, and these are always trying to make innovations in connection with the most important doctrines instead of following in the path of their predecessors., The result of this is that the barbarians, by sticking to the same things always, keep a firm hold on every detail, while the Greeks, on the other hand, aiming at the profit to be made out of the business, keep founding new schools and, wrangling with each other over the most important matters of speculation, bring it about that their pupils hold conflicting views, and that their minds, vacillating throughout their lives and unable to believe at all with firm conviction, simply wander in confusion. It is at any rate true that, if a man were to examine carefully the most famous schools of the philosophers, he would find them differing from one another to the uttermost degree and maintaining opposite opinions regarding the most fundamental tenets.


nan1.  But to us it seems not inappropriate to speak briefly of the Chaldaeans of Babylon and of their antiquity, that we may omit nothing which is worthy of record.,2.  Now the Chaldaeans, belonging as they do to the most ancient inhabitants of Babylonia, have about the same position among the divisions of the state as that occupied by the priests of Egypt; for being assigned to the service of the gods they spend their entire life in study, their greatest renown being in the field of astrology. But they occupy themselves largely with soothsaying as well, making predictions about future events, and in some cases by purifications, in others by sacrifices, and in others by some other charms they attempt to effect the averting of evil things and the fulfilment of the good.,3.  They are also skilled in soothsaying by the flight of birds, and they give out interpretations of both dreams and portents. They also show marked ability in making divinations from the observation of the entrails of animals, deeming that in this branch they are eminently successful. The training which they receive in all these matters is not the same as that of the Greeks who follow such practices.,4.  For among the Chaldaeans the scientific study of these subjects is passed down in the family, and son takes it over from father, being relieved of all other services in the state. Since, therefore, they have their parents for teachers, they not only are taught everything ungrudgingly but also at the same time they give heed to the precepts of their teachers with a most unwavering trust. Furthermore, since they are bred in these teachings from childhood up, they attain a great skill in them, both because of the ease with which youth is taught and because of the great amount of time which is devoted to this study.,5.  Among the Greeks, on the contrary, the student who takes up a large number of subjects without preparation turns to the higher studies only quite late, and then, after labouring upon them to some extent, gives them up, being distracted by the necessity of earning a livelihood; and but a few here and there really strip for the higher studies and continue in the pursuit of them as profit-making business, and these are always trying to make innovations in connection with the most important doctrines instead of following in the path of their predecessors.,6.  The result of this is that the barbarians, by sticking to the same things always, keep a firm hold on every detail, while the Greeks, on the other hand, aiming at the profit to be made out of the business, keep founding new schools and, wrangling with each other over the most important matters of speculation, bring it about that their pupils hold conflicting views, and that their minds, vacillating throughout their lives and unable to believe at all with firm conviction, simply wander in confusion. It is at any rate true that, if a man were to examine carefully the most famous schools of the philosophers, he would find them differing from one another to the uttermost degree and maintaining opposite opinions regarding the most fundamental tenets.


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

5 results
1. Herodotus, Histories, 1.181-1.183 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1.181. These walls are the city's outer armor; within them there is another encircling wall, nearly as strong as the other, but narrower. ,In the middle of one division of the city stands the royal palace, surrounded by a high and strong wall; and in the middle of the other is still to this day the sacred enclosure of Zeus Belus, a square of four hundred and forty yards each way, with gates of bronze. ,In the center of this sacred enclosure a solid tower has been built, two hundred and twenty yards long and broad; a second tower rises from this and from it yet another, until at last there are eight. ,The way up them mounts spirally outside the height of the towers; about halfway up is a resting place, with seats for repose, where those who ascend sit down and rest. ,In the last tower there is a great shrine; and in it stands a great and well-covered couch, and a golden table nearby. But no image has been set up in the shrine, nor does any human creature lie there for the night, except one native woman, chosen from all women by the god, as the Chaldaeans say, who are priests of this god. 1.182. These same Chaldaeans say (though I do not believe them) that the god himself is accustomed to visit the shrine and rest on the couch, as in Thebes of Egypt, as the Egyptians say ,(for there too a woman sleeps in the temple of Theban Zeus, and neither the Egyptian nor the Babylonian woman, it is said, has intercourse with men), and as does the prophetess of the god at Patara in Lycia, whenever she is appointed; for there is not always a place of divination there; but when she is appointed she is shut up in the temple during the night. 1.183. In the Babylonian temple there is another shrine below, where there is a great golden image of Zeus, sitting at a great golden table, and the footstool and the chair are also gold; the gold of the whole was said by the Chaldeans to be eight hundred talents' weight. ,Outside the temple is a golden altar. There is also another great altar, on which are sacrificed the full-grown of the flocks; only nurslings may be sacrificed on the golden altar, but on the greater altar the Chaldeans even offer a thousand talents' weight of frankincense yearly, when they keep the festival of this god; and in the days of Cyrus there was still in this sacred enclosure a statue of solid gold twenty feet high. ,I myself have not seen it, but I relate what is told by the Chaldeans. Darius son of Hystaspes proposed to take this statue but dared not; Xerxes his son took it, and killed the priest who warned him not to move the statue. Such is the furniture of this temple, and there are many private offerings besides.
2. Cicero, On Divination, 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.
3. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 2.30-2.31 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.30. 1.  Now, as the Chaldaeans say, the world is by its nature eternal, and neither had a first beginning nor will at a later time suffer destruction; furthermore, both the disposition and the orderly arrangement of the universe have come about by virtue of a divine providence, and to‑day whatever takes place in the heavens is in every instance brought to pass, not at haphazard nor by virtue of any spontaneous action, but by some fixed and firmly determined divine decision.,2.  And since they have observed the stars over a long period of time and have noted both the movements and the influences of each of them with greater precision than any other men, they foretell to mankind many things that will take place in the future.,3.  But above all in importance, they say, is the study of the influence of the five stars known as planets, which they call "Interpreters" when speaking of them as a group, but if referring to them singly, the one named Cronus by the Greeks, which is the most conspicuous and presages more events and such as are of greater importance than the others, they call the star of Helius, whereas the other four they designate as the stars of Ares, Aphrodite, Hermes, and Zeus, as do our astrologers.,4.  The reason why they call them "Interpreters" is that whereas all the other stars are fixed and follow a singular circuit in a regular course, these alone, by virtue of following each its own course, point out future events, thus interpreting to mankind the design of the gods. For sometimes by their risings, sometimes by their settings, and again by their colour, the Chaldaeans say, they give signs of coming events to such as are willing to observe them closely;,5.  for at one time they show forth mighty storms of winds, at another excessive rains or heat, at times the appearance of comets, also eclipses of both sun and moon, and earthquakes, and in a word all the conditions which owe their origin to the atmosphere and work both benefits and harm, not only to whole peoples or regions, but also to kings and to persons of private station.,6.  Under the course in which these planets move are situated, according to them, thirty stars, which they designate as "counselling gods"; of these one half oversee the regions above the earth and the other half those beneath the earth, having under their purview the affairs of mankind and likewise those of the heavens; and every ten days one of the stars above is sent as a messenger, so to speak, to the stars below, and again in like manner one of the stars below the earth to those above, and this movement of theirs is fixed and determined by means of an orbit which is unchanging for ever.,7.  Twelve of these gods, they say, hold chief authority, and to each of these the Chaldaeans assign a month and one of the signs of the zodiac, as they are called. And through the midst of these signs, they say, both the sun and moon and the five planets make their course, the sun completing his cycle in a year and the moon traversing her circuit in a month. 2.31. 1.  Each of the planets, according to them, has its own particular course, and its velocities and periods of time are subject to change and variation. These stars it is which exert the greatest influence for both good and evil upon the nativity of men; and it is chiefly from the nature of these planets and the study of them that they know what is in store for mankind.,2.  And they have made predictions, they say, not only to numerous other kings, but also to Alexander, who defeated Darius, and to Antigonus and Seleucus Nicator who afterwards became kings, and in all their prophecies they are thought to have hit the truth. But of these things we shall write in detail on a more appropriate occasion.,3.  Moreover, they also foretell to men in private station what will befall them, and with such accuracy that those who have made trial of them marvel at the feat and believe that it transcends the power of man.,4.  Beyond the circle of the zodiac they designate twenty-four other stars, of which one half, they say, are situated in the northern parts and one half in the southern, and of these those which are visible they assign to the world of the living, allow those which are invisible they regard as being adjacent to the dead, and so they call them "Judges of the Universe.",5.  And under all the stars hitherto mentioned the moon, according to them, takes her way, being nearest the earth because of her weight and completing her course in a very brief period of time, not by reason of her great velocity, but because her orbit is so short.,6.  They also agree with the Greeks in saying that her light is reflected and that her eclipses are due to the shadow of the earth. Regarding the eclipse of the sun, however, they offer the weakest kind of explanation, and do not presume to predict it or to define the times of its occurrence with any precision.,7.  Again, in connection with the earth they make assertions entirely peculiar to themselves, saying that it is shaped like a boat and hollow, and they offer many plausible arguments about both the earth and all other bodies in the firmament, a full discussion of which we feel would be alien to our history.,8.  This point, however, a man may fittingly maintain, that the Chaldaeans have of all men the greatest grasp of astrology, and that they bestowed the greatest diligence upon the study of it.,9.  But as to the number of years which, according to their statements, the order of the Chaldaeans has spent on the study of the bodies of the universe, a man can scarcely believe them; for they reckon that, down to Alexander's crossing over into Asia, it has been four hundred and seventy-three thousand years, since they began in early times to make their observations of the stars.,10.  So far as the Chaldaeans are concerned we shall be satisfied with what has been said, that we may not wander too far from the matter proper to our history; and now that we have given an account of the destruction of the kingdom of the Assyrians by the Medes we shall return to the point at which we digressed.
4. Strabo, Geography, 16.1.6, 16.1.16 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

16.1.6. In Babylon a residence was set apart for the native philosophers called Chaldaeans, who are chiefly devoted to the study of astronomy. Some, who are not approved of by the rest, profess to understand genethlialogy, or the casting of nativities. There is also a tribe of Chaldaeans, who inhabit a district of Babylonia, in the neighbourhood of the Arabians, and of the sea called the Persian Sea. There are several classes of the Chaldaean astronomers. Some have the name of Orcheni, some Borsippeni, and many others, as if divided into sects, who disseminate different tenets on the same subjects. The mathematicians make mention of some individuals among them, as Cidenas, Naburianus, and Sudinus. Seleucus also of Seleuceia is a Chaldaean, and many other remarkable men. 16.1.16. In former times the capital of Assyria was Babylon; it is now called Seleuceia upon the Tigris. Near it is a large village called Ctesiphon. This the Parthian kings usually made their winter residence, with a view to spare the Seleucians the burden of furnishing quarters for the Scythian soldiery. In consequence of the power of Parthia, Ctesiphon may be considered as a city rather than a village; from its size it is capable of lodging a great multitude of people; it has been adorned with public buildings by the Parthians, and has furnished merchandise, and given rise to arts profitable to its masters.The kings usually passed the winter there, on account of the salubrity of the air, and the summer at Ecbatana and in Hyrcania, induced by the ancient renown of these places.As we call the country Babylonia, so we call the people Babylonians, not from the name of the city, but of the country; the case is not precisely the same, however, as regards even natives of Seleuceia, as, for instance, Diogenes, the stoic philosopher [who had the appellation of the Babylonian, and not the Seleucian].
5. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 18.372 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

18.372. which made those Jews so, vehemently to resent the injuries they received from the Babylonians, that being neither able to fight them, nor bearing to live with them, they went to Seleucia, the principal city of those parts, which was built by Seleucus Nicator. It was inhabited by many of the Macedonians, but by more of the Grecians; not a few of the Syrians also dwelt there;


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
alexander the great, and mesopotamia Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
astrology Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
astronomy Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
baal Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
babylon, babylonia, babylonians, astronomical research and Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
babylon, babylonia, babylonians Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
bouch´e-leclercq, a. Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
carneades Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
chrysippus Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
cicero, on astrology Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
ctesiphon Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
diogenes laertius Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
dodds, e.r. Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
euphrates river, and babylon Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
euphrates river Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
heresy, rabbinic judaism, influence of hellenistic jewish polemic against paganism' Cohen, The Significance of Yavneh and other Essays in Jewish Hellenism (2010) 543
hipparchus Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
hipparenum Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
honourableness, horoscopes Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
iamblichus Pinheiro et al., Cultural Crossroads in the Ancient Novel (2018) 41
jupiter (god) Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
livia drusilla Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
macedonia, macedonians Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
manilius Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
menippus of gadara Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (2016) 42
mesopotamia Pinheiro et al., Cultural Crossroads in the Ancient Novel (2018) 41; Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
nechepso Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (2016) 42
neugebauer, o. Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
panaetius Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
parthia Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
petosiris Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (2016) 42
plutarch Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (2016) 42
posidonius Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
representation Pinheiro et al., Cultural Crossroads in the Ancient Novel (2018) 41
seleucia on the tigris Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
seleucid period Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
seven wonders of the world Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
stars Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
stoicism, stoics, and astrology Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132
syria Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
tigris river Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
trajanus Pinheiro et al., Cultural Crossroads in the Ancient Novel (2018) 41
virgil Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (2016) 42
vologescerta Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
vologesus i Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
zeus baal Roller, A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder (2022) 370
zodiac Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (2006) 132