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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Livy, Per., 14

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1. Cicero, On Divination, 1.16, 2.45 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.16. hoc sum contentus, quod, etiamsi, cur quidque fiat, ignorem, quid fiat, intellego. Pro omni igitur divinatione idem, quod pro rebus iis, quas commemoravi, respondebo. Quid scammoneae radix ad purgandum, quid aristolochia ad morsus serpentium possit, quae nomen ex inventore repperit, rem ipsam inventor ex somnio, video, quod satis est; cur possit, nescio. Sic ventorum et imbrium signa, quae dixi, rationem quam habeant, non satis perspicio; vim et eventum agnosco, scio, adprobo. Similiter, quid fissum in extis, quid fibra valeat, accipio; quae causa sit, nescio. Atque horum quidem plena vita est; extis enim omnes fere utuntur. Quid? de fulgurum vi dubitare num possumus? Nonne cum multa alia mirabilia, tum illud in primis: Cum Summanus in fastigio Iovis optumi maxumi, qui tum erat fictilis, e caelo ictus esset nec usquam eius simulacri caput inveniretur, haruspices in Tiberim id depulsum esse dixerunt, idque inventum est eo loco, qui est ab haruspicibus demonstratus. 2.45. quid, cum in altissimos montis, quod plerumque fit? quid, cum in desertas solitudines? quid, cum in earum gentium oras, in quibus haec ne observantur quidem? At inventum est caput in Tiberi. Quasi ego artem aliquam istorum esse negem! divinationem nego. Caeli enim distributio, quam ante dixi, et certarum rerum notatio docet, unde fulmen venerit, quo concesserit; quid significet autem, nulla ratio docet. Sed urges me meis versibus: Nam pater altitos stellanti nixus Olympo Ipse suos quondam tumulos ac templa petivit Et Capitolinis iniecit sedibus ignis. Tum statua Nattae, tum simulacra deorum Romulusque et Remus cum altrice belua vi fulminis icti conciderunt, deque his rebus haruspicum extiterunt responsa verissuma. 1.16. Nor do I ever inquire why this tree alone blooms three times, or why it makes the appearance of its blossoms accord with the proper time for ploughing. I am content with my knowledge that it does, although I may not know why. Therefore, as regards all kinds of divination I will give the same answer that I gave in the cases just mentioned. [10] I see the purgative effect of the scammony root and I see an antidote for snake-bite in the aristolochia plant — which, by the way, derives its name from its discoverer who learned of it in a dream — I see their power and that is enough; why they have it I do not know. Thus as to the cause of those premonitory signs of winds and rains already mentioned I am not quite clear, but their force and effect I recognize, understand, and vouch for. Likewise as to the cleft or thread in the entrails: I accept their meaning; I do not know their cause. And life is full of individuals in just the same situation that I am in, for nearly everybody employs entrails in divining. Again: is it possible for us to doubt the prophetic value of lightning? Have we not many instances of its marvels? and is not the following one especially remarkable? When the statue of Summanus which stood on the top of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus — his statue was then made of clay — was struck by a thunderbolt and its head could not be found anywhere, the soothsayers declared that it had been hurled into the Tiber; and it was discovered in the very spot which they had pointed out. [11] 2.45. What, for example, is his object in hurling them into the middle of the sea? or, as he so often does, on to the tops of lofty mountains? Why, pray, does he waste them in solitary deserts? And why does he fling them on the shores of peoples who do not take any notice of them?[20] Oh! but you say, the head was found in the Tiber. As if I contended that your soothsayers were devoid of art! My contention is that there is no divination. By dividing the heavens in the manner already indicated and by noting what happened in each division the soothsayers learn whence the thunderbolt comes and whither it goes, but no method can show that the thunderbolt has any prophetic value. However, you array those verses of mine against me:For high-thundering Jove, as he stood on starry Olympus,Hurtled his blows at the temples and monuments raised in his honour,And on the Capitols site unloosed the bolts of his lightning.Then, the poem goes on to say, the statue of Natta, the images of the gods and the piece representing Romulus and Remus, with their wolf-nurse, were struck by a thunderbolt and fell to the ground. The prophecies made by the soothsayers from these events were fulfilled to the letter.

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aemilia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
ager publicus Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
allotment Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
capitol Santangelo (2013) 84
cato the elder (porcius cato,m. censorius) Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
columna rostrata Santangelo (2013) 84
economy Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148
fabia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
floronia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
frugality,ethos of Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
frugality,of the subaltern Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148
gracchus,tiberius (sempronius gracchus,t.) Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
haruspices,prophecies Santangelo (2013) 84
haruspices Santangelo (2013) 84
housing Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148
intersexuality Mowat (2021) 110
iugera Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148, 184
jupiter Santangelo (2013) 84
landownership Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
lex licinia de modo agrorum Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
licinia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
licinius stolo,c. Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
livy Santangelo (2013) 84; Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
marcia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
modus agrorum Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
opimia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
poverty Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148
prodigy,interpretation Santangelo (2013) 84
prodigy Mowat (2021) 110; Santangelo (2013) 84
public divination Santangelo (2013) 84
pyrrhus Santangelo (2013) 84
rhodians Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
ritual,prescription' Santangelo (2013) 84
sabine Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148, 184
sacrifice Mowat (2021) 110
sextilia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
sibyl,sibylline books Mowat (2021) 110
subsistence Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148
summanus Santangelo (2013) 84
surplus Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 148
tuccia the vestal Mowat (2021) 110
tullius cicero,m. Santangelo (2013) 84
valerius maximus Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020) 184
vestal virgins Mowat (2021) 110