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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9613
Plutarch, Dinner Of The Seven Wise Men, 159a


nanand so destroy the primitive and ancient way of divination. Add to this, that our whole life will be of one form and fashion, and our soul enclosed in a body to no purpose; many and those the principal parts thereof are naturally so formed and fashioned as to be organs of nutriment; so the tongue, the teeth, the stomach, and the liver, whereof none are idle, none framed for other use, so that whosoever hath no need of nutriment has no need of his body; that is, in other words, no man hath any need of himself, for every man hath a body of his own. This I have thought fit to offer in vindication of our bellies; if Solon or any other has any thing to object to what I have said, I am willing to hear him.


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

5 results
1. Plato, Timaeus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

71d. rectifies all its parts so as to make them straight and smooth and free, it causes the part of the soul planted round the liver to be cheerful and serene, so that in the night it passes its time sensibly, being occupied in its slumbers with divination, seeing that in reason and intelligence it has no share.
2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.11, 1.64, 1.116, 2.26, 2.125 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.11. Ego vero, inquam, philosophiae, Quinte, semper vaco; hoc autem tempore, cum sit nihil aliud, quod lubenter agere possim, multo magis aveo audire, de divinatione quid sentias. Nihil, inquit, equidem novi, nec quod praeter ceteros ipse sentiam; nam cum antiquissimam sententiam, tum omnium populorum et gentium consensu conprobatam sequor. Duo sunt enim dividi genera, quorum alterum artis est, alterum naturae. 1.64. Divinare autem morientes illo etiam exemplo confirmat Posidonius, quod adfert, Rhodium quendam morientem sex aequales nominasse et dixisse, qui primus eorum, qui secundus, qui deinde deinceps moriturus esset. Sed tribus modis censet deorum adpulsu homines somniare, uno, quod provideat animus ipse per sese, quippe qui deorum cognatione teneatur, altero, quod plenus ae+r sit inmortalium animorum, in quibus tamquam insignitae notae veritatis appareant, tertio, quod ipsi di cum dormientibus conloquantur. Idque, ut modo dixi, facilius evenit adpropinquante morte, ut animi futura augurentur. 1.116. Hic magna quaedam exoritur, neque ea naturalis, sed artificiosa somniorum Antiphontis interpretatio eodemque modo et oraculorum et vaticinationum sunt enim explanatores, ut grammatici poe+tarum . Nam ut aurum et argentum, aes, ferrum frustra natura divina genuisset, nisi eadem docuisset, quem ad modum ad eorum venas perveniretur, nec fruges terrae bacasve arborum cum utilitate ulla generi humano dedisset, nisi earum cultus et conditiones tradidisset, materiave quicquam iuvaret, nisi consectionis eius fabricam haberemus, sic cum omni utilitate, quam di hominibus dederunt, ars aliqua coniuncta est, per quam illa utilitas percipi possit. Item igitur somniis, vaticinationibus, oraclis, quod erant multa obscura, multa ambigua, explanationes adhibitae sunt interpretum. 2.26. Sed haec fuerit nobis tamquam levis armaturae prima orationis excursio; nunc comminus agamus experiamurque, si possimus cornua commovere disputationis tuae. Duo enim genera dividi esse dicebas, unum artificiosum, alterum naturale; artificiosum constare partim ex coniectura, partim ex observatione diuturna; naturale, quod animus arriperet aut exciperet extrinsecus ex divinitate, unde omnes animos haustos aut acceptos aut libatos haberemus. Artificiosa divinationis illa fere genera ponebas: extispicum eorumque, qui ex fulgoribus ostentisque praedicerent, tum augurum eorumque, qui signis aut ominibus uterentur, omneque genus coniecturale in hoc fere genere ponebas. 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. 1.11. Really, my dear Quintus, said I, I always have time for philosophy. Moreover, since there is nothing else at this time that I can do with pleasure, I am all the more eager to hear what you think about divination.There is, I assure you, said he, nothing new or original in my views; for those which I adopt are not only very old, but they are endorsed by the consent of all peoples and nations. There are two kinds of divination: the first is dependent on art, the other on nature. 1.11. The second division of divination, as I said before, is the natural; and it, according to exact teaching of physics, must be ascribed to divine Nature, from which, as the wisest philosophers maintain, our souls have been drawn and poured forth. And since the universe is wholly filled with the Eternal Intelligence and the Divine Mind, it must be that human souls are influenced by their contact with divine souls. But when men are awake their souls, as a rule, are subject to the demands of everyday life and are withdrawn from divine association because they are hampered by the chains of the flesh. 1.64. Moreover, proof of the power of dying men to prophesy is also given by Posidonius in his well-known account of a certain Rhodian, who, when on his death-bed, named six men of equal age and foretold which of them would die first, which second, and so on. Now Posidonius holds the view that there are three ways in which men dream as the result of divine impulse: first, the soul is clairvoyant of itself because of its kinship with the gods; second, the air is full of immortal souls, already clearly stamped, as it were, with the marks of truth; and third, the gods in person converse with men when they are asleep. And, as I said just now, it is when death is at hand that men most readily discern signs of the future. 1.116. At this point it is pertinent to mention Antiphons well-known theory of the interpretation of dreams. His view is that the interpreters of dreams depending upon technical skill and not upon inspiration. He has the same view as to the interpretation of oracles and of frenzied utterances; for they all have their interpreters, just as poets have their commentators. Now it is clear that divine nature would have done a vain thing if she had merely created iron, copper, silver, and gold and had not shown us how to reach the veins in which those metals lie; the gift of field crops and orchard fruits would have been useless to the human race without a knowledge of how to cultivate them and prepare them for food; and building material would be of no service without the carpenters art to convert it into lumber. So it is with everything that the gods have given for the advantage of mankind, there has been joined some art whereby that advantage may be turned to account. The same is true of dreams, prophecies, and oracles: since many of them were obscure and doubtful, resort was had to the skill of professional interpreters. 2.26. But this introductory part of my discussion has been mere skirmishing with light infantry; now let me come to close quarters and see if I cannot drive in both wings of your argument.[11] You divided divination into two kinds, one artificial and the other natural. The artificial, you said, consists in part of conjecture and in part of long-continued observation; while the natural is that which the soul has seized, or, rather, has obtained, from a source outside itself — that is, from God, whence all human souls have been drawn off, received, or poured out. Under the head of artificial divination you placed predictions made from the inspection of entrails, those made from lightnings and portents, those made by augurs, and by persons who depend entirely upon premonitory signs. Under the same head you included practically every method of prophecy in which conjecture was employed. 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]
3. Artemidorus, Oneirocritica, 4.72 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4. Plutarch, On The Obsolescence of Oracles, None (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

432c. Souls therefore, all possessed of this power, which is innate but dim and hardly manifest, nevertheless oftentimes disclose its flower and radiance in dreams, and some in the hour of death, when the body becomes cleansed of all impurities and attains a temperament adapted to this end, a temperament through which the reasoning and thinking faculty of the souls is relaxed and released from their present state as they range amid the irrational and imaginative realms of the future. It is not true, as Euripides says, that The best of seers is he that guesses well; no, the best of seers is the intelligent man, following the guidance of that in his soul which possesses sense and which, with the help of reasonable probability, leads him on his way. But that which foretells the future, like a tablet without writing
5. Lucian, Alexander The False Prophet, 49 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

49. The constant increase in the number of visitors, the inadequacy of accommodation in the city, and the difficulty of finding provisions for consultants led to his introducing what he called night oracles. He received the packets, slept upon them, in his own phrase, and gave answers which the God was supposed to send him in dreams. These were generally not lucid, but ambiguous and confused, especially when he came to packets sealed with exceptional care. He did not risk tampering with these but wrote down any words that came into his head, the results obtained corresponding well enough to his conception of the oracular. There were regular interpreters in attendance, who made considerable sums out of the recipients by expounding and unriddling these oracles. This office contributed to his revenue, the interpreters paying him 250 each.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aristides, aelius Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
artemidorus of daldi (dream interpreter) Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
asclepius Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
cosmic sympathy Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
daemons Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
divination Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
dreams, interpretation of' Hubbard, A Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities (2014) 298
dreams, interpretation of Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
dreams Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 163
epidaurus Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
iatromancy Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
incubation Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287
posidonius Luck, Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts (2006) 287