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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



11242
Xenophon, Memoirs, 4.3


nannan, Skill in speaking and efficiency in affairs, therefore, and ingenuity, were not the qualities that he was eager to foster in his companions. He held that they needed first to acquire prudence. For he believed that those faculties, unless accompanied by prudence, increased in their possessors injustice and power for mischief. , In the first place, then, he tried to make his companions prudent towards the gods. Accordingly he discoursed on this topic at various times, as those who were present used to relate. The following conversation between him and Euthydemus I heard myself. , Tell me, Euthydemus, he began, has it ever occurred to you to reflect on the care the gods have taken to furnish man with what he needs? No, indeed it has not, replied Euthydemus. Well, no doubt you know that our first and foremost need is light, which is supplied to us by the gods? Of course; since without light our eyes would be as useless as if we were blind. And again, we need rest; and therefore the gods grant us the welcome respite of night. Yes, for that too we owe them thanks. , And since the night by reason of her darkness is dim, whereas the sun by his brightness illuminates the hours of the day and all things else, have they not made stars to shine in the night, that mark the watches of night for us, and do we not thereby satisfy many of our needs? That is so. Moreover, the moon reveals to us not only the divisions of the night, but of the month too. Certainly. , Now, seeing that we need food, think how they make the earth to yield it, and provide to that end appropriate seasons which furnish in abundance the diverse things that minister not only to our wants but to our enjoyment. Truly these things too show loving-kindness. , Think again of their precious gift of water, that aids the earth and the seasons to give birth and increase to all things useful to us and itself helps to nourish our bodies, and mingling with all that sustains us, makes it more digestible, more wholesome, and more palatable: and how, because we need so much of it, they supply it without stint. That too shows design at work. , Think again of the blessing of fire, our defence against cold and against darkness, our helpmate in every art and all that man contrives for his service. In fact, to put it shortly, nothing of any account that is useful to the life of man is contrived without the aid of fire. This too is a signal token of loving-kindness. , Think again how the sun, when past the winter solstice, approaches, ripening some things and withering others, whose time is over; and having accomplished this, approaches no nearer, but turns away, careful not to harm us by excess of heat; and when once again in his retreat he reaches the point where it is clear to ourselves, that if he goes further away, we shall be frozen with the cold, back he turns once more and draws near and revolves in that region of the heavens where he can best serve us. Yes, verily, these things do seem to be done for the sake of mankind. , And again, since it is evident that we could not endure the heat or the cold if it came suddenly, Cyropaedia VI. ii. 29. the sun’s approach and retreat are so gradual that we arrive at the one or the other extreme imperceptibly. For myself, exclaimed Euthydemus, I begin to doubt whether after all the gods are occupied in any other work than the service of man. The one difficulty I feel is that the lower animals also enjoy these blessings. , Yes, replied Socrates, and is it not evident that they too receive life and food for the sake of man? For what creature reaps so many benefits as man from goats and sheep and horses and oxen and asses and the other animals? He owes more to them, in my opinion, than to the fruits of the earth. At the least they are not less valuable to him for food and commerce; in fact a large portion of mankind does not use the products of the earth for food, but lives on the milk and cheese and flesh they get from live stock. Moreover, all men tame and domesticate the useful kinds of animals, and make them their fellow-workers in war and many other undertakings. There too I agree with you, seeing that animals far stronger than man become so entirely subject to him that he puts them to any use he chooses. , Think again of the multitude of things beautiful and useful and their infinite variety, and how the gods have endowed man with senses adapted for the perception of every kind, so that there is nothing good that we cannot enjoy; and again, how they have implanted in us the faculty of reasoning, whereby we are able to reason about the objects of our perceptions and to commit them to memory, and so come to know what advantage every kind can yield, and devise many means of enjoying the good and driving away the bad; , and think of the power of expression, which enables us to impart to one another all good things by teaching and to take our share of them, to enact laws and to administer states. Truly, Socrates, it does appear that the gods devote much care to man. Yet again, in so far as we are powerless of ourselves to foresee what is expedient for the future, Cyropaedia I. vi. 46. the gods lend us their aid, revealing the issues by divination to inquirers, and teaching them how to obtain the best results. With you, Socrates, they seem to deal even more friendly than with other men, if it is true that, even unasked, they warn you by signs what to do and what not to do. , Yes, and you will realise the truth of what I say if, instead of waiting for the gods to appear to you in bodily presence, you are content to praise and worship them because you see their works. Mark that the gods themselves give the reason for doing so; for when they bestow on us their good gifts, not one of them ever appears before us gift in hand; and especially he who co-ordinates and holds together the universe, wherein all things are fair and good, and presents them ever unimpaired and sound and ageless for our use, ibid. VIII. vii. 22. and quicker than thought to serve us unerringly, is manifest in his supreme works, and yet is unseen by us in the ordering of them. , Mark that even the sun, who seems to reveal himself to all, permits not man to behold him closely, but if any attempts to gaze recklessly upon him, blinds their eyes. And the gods’ ministers too you will find to be invisible. That the thunderbolt is hurled from heaven, and that he overwhelms all on whom he falls, is evident, but he is seen neither coming nor striking nor going. And the winds are themselves invisible, yet their deeds are manifest to us, and we perceive their approach. Moreover, the soul of man, which more than all else that is human partakes of the divine, reigns manifestly within us, and yet is itself unseen. For these reasons it behoves us not to despise the things that are unseen, but, realising their power in their manifestations, to honour the godhead. , Socrates, replied Euthydemus, that I will in no wise be heedless of the godhead I know of a surety. But my heart fails me when I think that no man can ever render due thanks to the gods for their benefits. , Nay, be not down-hearted, Euthydemus; for you know that to the inquiry, How am I to please the gods? the Delphic god replies, Follow the custom of the state ; and everywhere, I suppose, it is the custom that men propitiate the gods with sacrifices according to their power. How then can a man honour the gods more excellently and more devoutly than by doing as they themselves ordain? , Only he must fall no whit short of his power. For when he does that, it is surely plain that he is not then honouring the gods. Therefore it is by coming no whit short of his power in honouring the gods that he is to look with confidence for the greatest blessing. Cyropaedia I. vi. 4. For there are none from whom a man of prudence would hope for greater things than those who can confer the greatest benefits, nor can he show his prudence more clearly than by pleasing them. And how can he please them better than by obeying them strictly? , Thus by precept and by example alike he strove to increase in his companions Piety and Prudence.


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

14 results
1. Plato, Apology of Socrates, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

31c. as to produce a witness to testify that I ever exacted or asked pay of anyone. For I think I have a sufficient witness that I speak the truth, namely, my poverty.Perhaps it may seem strange that I go about and interfere in other people’s affairs to give this advice in private, but do not venture to come before your assembly and advise the state. But the reason for this, as you have heard me say
2. Plato, Laws, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

889b. Ath. I will explain it more clearly. Fire and water and earth and air, they say, all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art; and by means of these, which are wholly iimate, the bodies which come next—those, namely, of the earth, sun, moon and stars—have been brought into existence. It is by chance all these elements move, by the interplay of their respective forces, and according as they meet together and combine fittingly,—hot with cold, dry with moist
3. Plato, Phaedo, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

98b. So I thought when he assigned the cause of each thing and of all things in common he would go on and explain what is best for each and what is good for all in common. I prized my hopes very highly, and I seized the books very eagerly and read them as fast as I could, that I might know as fast as I could about the best and the worst. My glorious hope, my friend, was quickly snatched away from me. As I went on with my reading I saw that the man made no use of intelligence
4. Plato, Timaeus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

48a. For, in truth, this Cosmos in its origin was generated as a compound, from the combination of Necessity and Reason. And inasmuch as Reason was controlling Necessity by persuading her to conduct to the best end the most part of the things coming into existence, thus and thereby it came about, through Necessity yielding to intelligent persuasion, that this Universe of ours was being in this wise constructed at the beginning. Wherefore if one is to declare how it actually came into being on this wise, he must include also the form of the Errant Cause, in the way that it really acts. To this point, therefore, we must return
5. Xenophon, The Cavalry General, 9.8-9.9 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

6. Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.7.15, 4.3.13, 4.8.22 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1.7.15. Then the Prytanes, stricken with fear, agreed to put the question,—all of them except Socrates, On Socrates’ conduct at this time cp. Plato, Apol. 32B and Xen. Mem. I. i. 18. the son of Sophroniscus; and he said that in no case would he act except in accordance with the law. 4.3.13. Now Agesilaus, on learning these things, at first was overcome with sorrow; but when he had considered that the most of his troops were the sort of men to share gladly in good fortune if good fortune came, but that if they saw anything unpleasant, they were under no compulsion to share in it, I.e., being practically volunteers (cp. ii. 4). —thereupon, changing the report, he said that word had come that Peisander was dead, but victorious in the naval battle. 4.8.22. This Diphridas was as a man no less attractive than Thibron, and as a general he was more self-controlled and enterprising. For the pleasures of the body did not hold the mastery over him, but in whatever task he was engaged, he always gave himself wholly to it. As for Ecdicus, after sailing to Cnidos and learning that the commons in Rhodes were in possession of everything, and were masters both by land and by sea, having twice as many triremes as he had himself, he remained quiet in Cnidos.
7. Xenophon, Memoirs, 1.1.2-1.1.4, 1.1.6-1.1.9, 1.1.11-1.1.15, 1.1.18-1.1.19, 1.4, 1.4.11-1.4.14, 4.3.8-4.3.12, 4.4.2, 4.4.19-4.4.24 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1.1.2. First then, that he rejected the gods acknowledged by the state — what evidence did they produce of that? He offered sacrifices constantly, and made no secret of it, now in his home, now at the altars of the state temples, and he made use of divination with as little secrecy. Indeed it had become notorious that Socrates claimed to be guided by the deity: That immanent divine something, as Cicero terms it, which Socrates claimed as his peculiar possession. it was out of this claim, I think, that the charge of bringing in strange deities arose. 1.1.3. He was no more bringing in anything strange than are other believers in divination, who rely on augury, oracles, coincidences and sacrifices. For these men’s belief is not that the birds or the folk met by accident know what profits the inquirer, but that they are the instruments by which the gods make this known; and that was Socrates ’ belief too. 1.1.4. Only, whereas most men say that the birds or the folk they meet dissuade or encourage them, Socrates said what he meant: for he said that the deity gave him a sign. Many of his companions were counselled by him to do this or not to do that in accordance with the warnings of the deity: and those who followed his advice prospered, and those who rejected it had cause for regret. 1.1.6. Another way he had of dealing with intimate friends was this: if there was no room for doubt, he advised them to act as they thought best; but if the consequences could not be foreseen, he sent them to the oracle to inquire whether the thing ought to be done. 1.1.7. Those who intended to control a house or a city, he said, needed the help of divination. For the craft of carpenter, smith, farmer or ruler, and the theory of such crafts, and arithmetic and economics and generalship might be learned and mastered by the application of human powers; 1.1.8. but the deepest secrets of these matters the gods reserved to themselves; they were dark to men. You may plant a field well; but you know not who shall gather the fruits: you may build a house well; but you know not who shall dwell in it: able to command, you cannot know whether it is profitable to command: versed in statecraft, you know not whether it is profitable to guide the state: though, for your delight, you marry a pretty woman, you cannot tell whether she will bring you sorrow: though you form a party among men mighty in the state, you know not whether they will cause you to be driven from the state. 1.1.9. If any man thinks that these matters are wholly within the grasp of the human mind and nothing in them is beyond our reason, that man, he said, is irrational. But it is no less irrational to seek the guidance of heaven in matters which men are permitted by the gods to decide for themselves by study: to ask, for instance, Is it better to get an experienced coachman to drive my carriage or a man without experience? Cyropaedia I. vi. 6. Is it better to get an experienced seaman to steer my ship or a man without experience? So too with what we may know by reckoning, measurement or weighing. To put such questions to the gods seemed to his mind profane. In short, what the gods have granted us to do by help of learning, we must learn; what is hidden from mortals we should try to find out from the gods by divination: for to him that is in their grace the gods grant a sign. 1.1.11. He did not even discuss that topic so favoured by other talkers, the Nature of the Universe : and avoided speculation on the so-called Cosmos of the Professors, how it works, and on the laws that govern the phenomena of the heavens: indeed he would argue that to trouble one’s mind with such problems is sheer folly. 1.1.12. In the first place, he would inquire, did these thinkers suppose that their knowledge of human affairs was so complete that they must seek these new fields for the exercise of their brains; or that it was their duty to neglect human affairs and consider only things divine? 1.1.13. Moreover, he marvelled at their blindness in not seeing that man cannot solve these riddles; since even the most conceited talkers on these problems did not agree in their theories, but behaved to one another like madmen. 1.1.14. As some madmen have no fear of danger and others are afraid where there is nothing to be afraid of, as some will do or say anything in a crowd with no sense of shame, while others shrink even from going abroad among men, some respect neither temple nor altar nor any other sacred thing, others worship stocks and stones and beasts, so is it, he held, with those who worry with Universal Nature. Some hold that What is is one, others that it is infinite in number: some that all things are in perpetual motion, others that nothing can ever be moved at any time: some that all life is birth and decay, others that nothing can ever be born or ever die. 1.1.15. Nor were those the only questions he asked about such theorists. Students of human nature, he said, think that they will apply their knowledge in due course for the good of themselves and any others they choose. Do those who pry into heavenly phenomena imagine that, once they have discovered the laws by which these are produced, they will create at their will winds, waters, seasons and such things to their need? Or have they no such expectation, and are they satisfied with knowing the causes of these various phenomena? 1.1.18. For instance, when he was on the Council and had taken the counsellor’s oath by which he bound himself to give counsel in accordance with the laws, it fell to his lot to preside in the Assembly when the people wanted to condemn Thrasyllus and Erasinides and their colleagues to death by a single vote. That was illegal, and he refused the motion in spite of popular rancour and the threats of many powerful persons. It was more to him that he should keep his oath than that he should humour the people in an unjust demand and shield himself from threats. 1.1.19. For, like most men, indeed, he believed that the gods are heedful of mankind, but with an important difference; for whereas they do not believe in the omniscience of the gods, Socrates thought that they know all things, our words and deeds and secret purposes; that they are present everywhere, and grant signs to men of all that concerns man. IV. iii, 2; Cyropaedia I. vi. 46. 1.4.11. I assure you, that if I believed that the gods pay any heed to man, I would not neglect them. Then do you think them unheeding? In the first place, man is the only living creature that they have caused to stand upright; and the upright position gives him a wider range of vision in front and a better view of things above, and exposes him less to injury. Secondly, to grovelling creatures they have given feet that afford only the power of moving, whereas they have endowed man with hands, which are the instruments to which we chiefly owe our greater happiness. 1.4.12. Again, though all creatures have a tongue, the tongue of man alone has been formed by them to be capable of contact with different parts of the mouth, so as to enable us to articulate the voice and express all our wants to one another. Once more, for all other creatures they have prescribed a fixed season of sexual indulgence; in our case the only time limit they have set is old age. 1.4.13. Nor was the deity content to care for man’s body. What is of yet higher moment, he has implanted in him the noblest type of soul. For in the first place what other creature’s soul has apprehended the existence of gods who set in order the universe, greatest and fairest of things? And what race of living things other than man worships gods? And what soul is more apt than man’s to make provision against hunger and thirst, cold and heat, to relieve sickness and promote health, to acquire knowledge by toil, and to remember accurately all that is heard, seen, or learned? 1.4.14. For is it not obvious to you that, in comparison with the other animals, men live like gods, by nature peerless both in body and in soul? For with a man’s reason and the body of an ox we could not carry out our wishes, and the possession of hands without reason is of little worth. Do you, then, having received the two most precious gifts, yet think that the gods take no care of you? What are they to do, to make you believe that they are heedful of you? 4.3.8. Think again how the sun, when past the winter solstice, approaches, ripening some things and withering others, whose time is over; and having accomplished this, approaches no nearer, but turns away, careful not to harm us by excess of heat; and when once again in his retreat he reaches the point where it is clear to ourselves, that if he goes further away, we shall be frozen with the cold, back he turns once more and draws near and revolves in that region of the heavens where he can best serve us. Yes, verily, these things do seem to be done for the sake of mankind. 4.3.9. And again, since it is evident that we could not endure the heat or the cold if it came suddenly, Cyropaedia VI. ii. 29. the sun’s approach and retreat are so gradual that we arrive at the one or the other extreme imperceptibly. For myself, exclaimed Euthydemus, I begin to doubt whether after all the gods are occupied in any other work than the service of man. The one difficulty I feel is that the lower animals also enjoy these blessings. 4.3.10. Yes, replied Socrates, and is it not evident that they too receive life and food for the sake of man? For what creature reaps so many benefits as man from goats and sheep and horses and oxen and asses and the other animals? He owes more to them, in my opinion, than to the fruits of the earth. At the least they are not less valuable to him for food and commerce; in fact a large portion of mankind does not use the products of the earth for food, but lives on the milk and cheese and flesh they get from live stock. Moreover, all men tame and domesticate the useful kinds of animals, and make them their fellow-workers in war and many other undertakings. There too I agree with you, seeing that animals far stronger than man become so entirely subject to him that he puts them to any use he chooses. 4.3.11. Think again of the multitude of things beautiful and useful and their infinite variety, and how the gods have endowed man with senses adapted for the perception of every kind, so that there is nothing good that we cannot enjoy; and again, how they have implanted in us the faculty of reasoning, whereby we are able to reason about the objects of our perceptions and to commit them to memory, and so come to know what advantage every kind can yield, and devise many means of enjoying the good and driving away the bad; 4.3.12. and think of the power of expression, which enables us to impart to one another all good things by teaching and to take our share of them, to enact laws and to administer states. Truly, Socrates, it does appear that the gods devote much care to man. Yet again, in so far as we are powerless of ourselves to foresee what is expedient for the future, Cyropaedia I. vi. 46. the gods lend us their aid, revealing the issues by divination to inquirers, and teaching them how to obtain the best results. With you, Socrates, they seem to deal even more friendly than with other men, if it is true that, even unasked, they warn you by signs what to do and what not to do. 4.4.2. When chairman in the Assemblies he would not permit the people to record an illegal vote, but, upholding the laws, resisted a popular impulse that might even have overborne any but himself. 4.4.19. Do you know what is meant by unwritten laws, Hippias? Yes, those that are uniformly observed in every country. Could you say that men made them? Nay, how could that be, seeing that they cannot all meet together and do not speak the same language? Then by whom have these laws been made, do you suppose? I think that the gods made these laws for men. For among all men the first law is to fear the gods. 4.4.20. Is not the duty of honouring parents another universal law? Yes, that is another. And that parents shall not have sexual intercourse with their children nor children with their parents? Cyropaedia V. i. 10. No, I don’t think that is a law of God. Why so? Because I notice that some transgress it. 4.4.21. Yes, and they do many other things contrary to the laws. But surely the transgressors of the laws ordained by the gods pay a penalty that a man can in no wise escape, as some, when they transgress the laws ordained by man, escape punishment, either by concealment or by violence. 4.4.22. And pray what sort of penalty is it, Socrates, that may not be avoided by parents and children who have intercourse with one another? The greatest, of course. For what greater penalty can men incur when they beget children than begetting them badly? 4.4.23. How do they beget children badly then, if, as may well happen, the fathers are good men and the mothers good women? Surely because it is not enough that the two parents should be good. They must also be in full bodily vigour: unless you suppose that those who are in full vigour are no more efficient as parents than those who have not yet reached that condition or have passed it. of course that is unlikely. Which are the better then? Those who are in full vigour, clearly. Consequently those who are not in full vigour are not competent to become parents? It is improbable, of course. In that case then, they ought not to have children? Certainly not. Therefore those who produce children in such circumstances produce them wrongly? I think so. Who then will be bad fathers and mothers, if not they? I agree with you there too. 4.4.24. Again, is not the duty of requiting benefits universally recognised by law? Yes, but this law too is broken. Then does not a man pay forfeit for the breach of that law too, in the gradual loss of good friends and the necessity of hunting those who hate him? Or is it not true that, whereas those who benefit an acquaintance are good friends to him, he is hated by them for his ingratitude, if he makes no return, and then, because it is most profitable to enjoy the acquaintance of such men, he hunts them most assiduously? Assuredly, Socrates, all this does suggest the work of the gods. For laws that involve in themselves punishment meet for those who break them, must, I think, be framed by a better legislator than man.
8. Cicero, Academica, 2.120 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

9. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 1.2, 1.23, 2.93, 2.154-2.167 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.2. As regards the present subject, for example, most thinkers have affirmed that the gods exist, and this is the most probable view and the one to which we are all led by nature's guidance; but Protagoras declared himself uncertain, and Diagoras of Melos and Theodorus of Cyrene held that there are no gods at all. Moreover, the upholders of the divine existence differ and disagree so widely, that it would be a troublesome task to recount their opinions. Many views are put forward about the outward form of the gods, their dwelling-places and abodes, and mode of life, and these topics are debated with the widest variety of opinion among philosophers; but as to the question upon which the whole issue of the dispute principally turns, whether the gods are entirely idle and inactive, taking no part at all in the direction and government of the world, or whether on the contrary all things both were created and ordered by them in the beginning and are controlled and kept in motion by them throughout eternity, here there is the greatest disagreement of all. And until this issue is decided, mankind must continue to labour under the profoundest uncertainty, and to be in ignorance about matters of the highest moment. 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; 2.93. At this point must I not marvel that there should be anyone who can persuade himself that there are certain solid and indivisible particles of matter borne along by the force of gravity, and that the fortuitous collision of those particles produces this elaborate and beautiful world? I cannot understand why he who considers it possible for this to have occurred should not all think that, if a counts number of copies of the one-and‑twenty letters of alphabet, made of gold or what you will, were thrown together into some receptacle and then shaken out on the ground, it would be possible that they should produce the Annals of Ennius, all ready for the reader. I doubt whether chance could possibly succeed in producing even a single verse! 2.154. It remains for me to show, in coming finally to a conclusion, that all the things in this world which men employ have been created and provided for the sake of men. "In the first place the world itself was created for the sake of gods and men, and the things that it contains were provided and contrived for the enjoyment of men. For the world is as it were the common dwelling-place of gods and men, or the city that belongs to both; for they alone have the use of reason and live by justice and by law. As therefore Athens and Sparta must be deemed to have been founded for the sake of the Athenians and the Spartans, and all the things contained in those cities are rightly said to belong to those peoples, so whatever things are contained in all the world must be deemed to belong to the gods and to men. 2.155. Again the revolutions of the sun and moon no other heavenly bodies, although also contributing to the maintece of the structure of the world, nevertheless also afford a spectacle for man to behold; for there is no sight of which it is more impossible to grow weary, none more beautiful nor displaying a more surpassing wisdom and skill; for by measuring the courses of the stars we know when the seasons will come round, and when their variations and changes will occur; and if these things are known to men alone, they must be judged to have been created for the sake of men. 2.156. Then the earth, teeming with grain and vegetables of various kinds, which she pours forth in lavish abundance — does she appear to give birth to this produce for the sake of the wild beasts or for the sake of men? What shall I say of the vines and olives, whose bounteous and delightful fruits do not concern the lower animals at all? In fact the beasts of the field are entirely ignorant of the arts of sowing and cultivating, and of reaping and gathering the fruits of the earth in due season and storing them in garners; all these products are both enjoyed and tended by men. 2.157. Just as therefore we are bound to say that lyres and flutes were made for the sake of those who can use them, so it must be agreed that the things of which I have spoken have been provided for those only who make use of them, and even if some portion of them is filched or plundered by some of the lower animals, we shall not admit that they were created for the sake of these animals also. Men do not store up corn for the sake of mice and ants but for their wives and children and households; so the animals share these fruits of the earth only by stealth as I have said, whereas the masters enjoy them openly and freely. 2.158. It must therefore be admitted that all this abundance was provided for the sake of men, unless perchance the bounteous plenty and variety of our orchard fruit and the delightfulness not only of its flavour but also of its scent and appearance lead us to doubt whether nature intended this gift for man alone! So far is it from being true that the furs of the earth were provided for the sake of animals as well as men, that the animals themselves, as we may see, were created for the benefit of men. What other use have sheep save that their fleeces are dressed and woven into clothing for men? and in fact they could not have been reared nor sustained nor have produced anything of value without man's care and tendance. Then think of the dog, with its trusty watchfulness, its fawning affection for its master and hatred of strangers, its incredible keenness of scent in following a trail and its eagerness in hunting — what do these qualities imply except that they were created to serve the conveniences of men? 2.159. Why should I speak of oxen? the very shape of their backs makes it clear that they were not destined to carry burdens, whereas their necks were born for the yoke and their broad powerful shoulders for drawing the plough. And as it was by their means that the earth was brought under tillage by breaking up its clods, no violence was ever used towards them, so the poets say, by the men of that Golden Age; But then the iron race sprang into being, And first did dare to forge the deadly sword, And taste the ox its hand had tamed to bondage. So valuable was deemed the service that man received from oxen that to eat their flesh was held a crime. "It would be a long story to tell of the services rendered by mules and asses, which were undoubtedly created for the use of men. 2.160. As for the pig, it can only furnish food; indeed Chrysippus actually says that its soul was given it to serve as salt and keep it from putrefaction; and because this animal was fitted for the food of man, nature made it the most prolific of all her offspring. Why should I speak of the teeming swarms of delicious fish? or of birds, which afford us so much pleasure that our Stoic Providence appears to have been at times a disciple of Epicurus? and they could not even be caught save by man's intelligence and cunning; — although some birds, birds of flight and birds of utterance as our augurs call them, we believe to have been created for the purpose of giving omens. 2.161. The great beasts of the forest again we take by hunting, both for food and in order to exercise ourselves in the mimic warfare of the chase, and also, as in the case of elephants, to train and discipline them for our employment, and to procure from their busy a variety of medicines for diseases and wounds, as also we do from certain roots and herbs whose values we have learnt by long-continued use and trial. Let the mind's eye survey the whole earth and all the seas, and you will behold now fruitful plains of measureless extent and mountains thickly clad with forests and pastures filled with flocks, now vessels sailing with marvellous swiftness across the sea. 2.162. Nor only on the surface of the earth, but also in its darkest recesses there lurks an abundance of commodities which were created for men's use and which men alone discover. "The next subject is one which each of you perhaps will seize upon for censure, Cotta because Carneades used to enjoy tilting at the Stoics, Velleius because nothing provokes the ridicule of Epicurus so much as the art of prophecy; but in my view it affords the very strongest proof that man's welfare is studied by divine providence. I refer of course to Divination, which we see practised in many regions and upon various matters and occasions both private and more especially public. 2.163. Many observations are made by those who inspect the victims at sacrifices, many events are foreseen by augurs or revealed in oracles and prophecies, dreams and portents, a knowledge of which has often led to the acquisition of many things gratifying men's wishes and requirements, and also to the avoidance of many dangers. This power or art or instinct therefore has clearly been bestowed by the immortal gods on man, and on no other creature, for the ascertainment of future events. "And if perchance these arguments separately fail to convince you, nevertheless in combination their collective weight will be bound to do so. 2.164. Nor is the care and providence of the immortal gods bestowed only upon the human race in its entirety, but it is also wont to be extended to individuals. We may narrow down the entirety of the human race and bring it gradually down to smaller and smaller groups, and finally to single individuals. For if we believe, for the reasons that we have spoken of before, that the gods care for all human beings everywhere in every coast and region of the lands remote from this continent in which we dwell, then they care also for the men who inhabit with us these lands between the sunrise and the sunset. 2.165. But if they care for these who inhabit that sort of vast island which we call the round earth, they also care for those who occupy continue divisions of that island, Europe, Asia and Africa. Therefore they also cherish the divisions of those divisions, for instance Rome, Athens, Sparta and Rhodes; and they cherish the individual citizens of those cities regarded separately from the whole body collectively, for example, Curius, Fabricius and Coruncanius in the war with Pyrrhus, Calatinus, Duellius, Metellus and Lutatius in the First Punic War, and Maximus, Marcellus and Africanus in the Second, and at a later date Paulus, Gracchus and Cato, or in our fathers' time Scipio and Laelius; and many remarkable men besides both our own country and Greece have given birth to, none of whom would conceivably have been what he was save by god's aid. 2.166. It was this reason which drove the poets, and especially Homer, to attach to their chief heroes, Ulysses, Diomede, Agamemnon or Achilles, certain gods as the companions of their perils and adventures; moreover the gods have often appeared to men in person, as in the cases which I have mentioned above, so testifying that they care both for communities and for individuals. And the same is proved by the portents of future occurrences that are vouchsafed to men sometimes when they are asleep and sometimes when they are awake. Moreover we receive a number of warnings by means of signs and of the entrails of victims, and by many other things that long-continued usage has noted in such a manner as to create the art of divination. 2.167. Therefore no great man ever existed who did not enjoy some portion of divine inspiration. Nor yet is this argument to be deprived by pointing to cases where a man's cornfields or vineyards have been damaged by a storm, or an accident has robbed him of some commodity of value, and inferring that the victim of one of these misfortunes is the object of god's hatred or neglect. The gods attend to great matters; they neglect small ones. Now great men always prosper in all their affairs, assuming that the teachers of our school and Socrates, the prince of philosophy, have satisfactorily discoursed upon the bounteous abundance of wealth that virtue bestows.
10. Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things, 2.180-2.181, 3.296, 5.195-5.234 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

11. Diogenes of Oenoanda, Fragments, 20 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

12. Seneca The Younger, On Anger, 2.27.2 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

13. Marcus Aurelius Emperor of Rome, Meditations, 4.3, 9.28, 10.6 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14. Lactantius, De Ira Dei, 13 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
agesilaus ii Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423, 424
animals, danger of Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
animals, survival/extinction of Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
anthropocentrism Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111, 156
arginusae, battle of Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 424
aristotle, on teleology Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
cambyses Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423
cicero Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
cosmology Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
creationism Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
cyrus the elder Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423
design/purpose Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
diogenes laertius Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
divination Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423
divine laws Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 424
gods, providence Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111, 156
infancy/children Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
italy Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
marcus aurelius Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
natural philosophy, socrates and prior tradition Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 424
oaths Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423, 424
philodemus Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
piety Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423, 424
plague Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
plato, on anthropocentrism Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
platonism Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111, 156
polemo Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
scepticism Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
self-mastery/self-restraint (enkrateia), in xenophon Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423
socrates, piety Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423, 424
socrates Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111, 156
socratic literature, of xenophon Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423, 424
stoicism Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111, 156
teleology' Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111
teleology Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
velleius Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 156
xenophon, on piety Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423, 424
xenophon, on self-mastery Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423
xenophon, on socrates and natural philosophy Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 424
xenophon Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 111; Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 423, 424