Home About Network of subjects Linked subjects heatmap Book indices included Search by subject Search by reference Browse subjects Browse texts

Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10249
Seneca The Younger, Quaestiones Naturales, 2.37
NaN


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

5 results
1. Cicero, On Divination, 1.9, 1.13, 1.86, 2.8, 2.13, 2.15-2.19, 2.28 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.9. Eius rationi non sane desidero quid respondeam; satis enim defensa religio est in secundo libro a Lucilio, cuius disputatio tibi ipsi, ut in extremo tertio scribis, ad veritatem est visa propensior. Sed, quod praetermissum est in illis libris (credo, quia commodius arbitratus es separatim id quaeri deque eo disseri), id est de divinatione, quae est earum rerum, quae fortuitae putantur, praedictio atque praesensio, id, si placet, videamus quam habeat vim et quale sit. Ego enim sic existimo, si sint ea genera dividi vera, de quibus accepimus quaeque colimus, esse deos, vicissimque, si di sint, esse qui divinent. 1.13. Mirari licet, quae sint animadversa a medicis herbarum genera, quae radicum ad morsus bestiarum, ad oculorum morbos, ad vulnera, quorum vim atque naturam ratio numquam explicavit, utilitate et ars est et inventor probatus. Age ea, quae quamquam ex alio genere sunt, tamen divinationi sunt similiora, videamus: Atque etiam ventos praemonstrat saepe futuros Inflatum mare, cum subito penitusque tumescit, Saxaque cana salis niveo spumata liquore Tristificas certant Neptuno reddere voces, Aut densus stridor cum celso e vertice montis Ortus adaugescit scopulorum saepe repulsus. Atque his rerum praesensionibus Prognostica tua referta sunt. Quis igitur elicere causas praesensionum potest? etsi video Boe+thum Stoicum esse conatum, qui hactenus aliquid egit, ut earum rationem rerum explicaret, quae in mari caelove fierent. 1.86. Cur fiat quidque, quaeris. Recte omnino; sed non nunc id agitur; fiat necne fiat, id quaeritur. Ut, si magnetem lapidem esse dicam, qui ferrum ad se adliciat et attrahat, rationem, cur id fiat, adferre nequeam, fieri omnino neges. Quod idem facis in divinatione, quam et cernimus ipsi et audimus et legimus et a patribus accepimus. Neque ante philosophiam patefactam, quae nuper inventa est, hac de re communis vita dubitavit, et, posteaquam philosophia processit, nemo aliter philosophus sensit, in quo modo esset auctoritas. 2.8. Nam cum de divinatione Quintus frater ea disseruisset, quae superiore libro scripta sunt, satisque ambulatum videretur, tum in bibliotheca, quae in Lycio est, adsedimus. Atque ego: Adcurate tu quidem, inquam, Quinte, et Stoice Stoicorum sententiam defendisti, quodque me maxime delectat, plurimis nostris exemplis usus es, et iis quidem claris et inlustribus. Dicendum est mihi igitur ad ea, quae sunt a te dicta, sed ita, nihil ut adfirmem, quaeram omnia, dubitans plerumque et mihi ipse diffidens. Si enim aliquid certi haberem, quod dicerem, ego ipse divinarem, qui esse divinationem nego. 2.13. Sed animadverti, Quinte, te caute et ab iis coniecturis, quae haberent artem atque prudentiam, et ab iis rebus, quae sensibus aut artificiis perciperentur, abducere divinationem eamque ita definire: divinationem esse earum rerum praedictionem et praesensionem, quae essent fortuitae. Primum eodem revolveris. Nam et medici et gubernatoris et imperatoris praesensio est rerum fortuitarum. Num igitur aut haruspex aut augur aut vates quis aut somnians melius coniecerit aut e morbo evasurum aegrotum aut e periculo navem aut ex insidiis exercitum quam medicus, quam gubernator, quam imperator? 2.15. Potestne igitur earum rerum, quae nihil habent rationis, quare futurae sint, esse ulla praesensio? Quid est enim aliud fors, quid fortuna, quid casus, quid eventus, nisi cum sic aliquid cecidit, sic evenit, ut vel aliter cadere atque evenire potuerit? Quo modo ergo id, quod temere fit caeco casu et volubilitate fortunae, praesentiri et praedici potest? 2.16. Medicus morbum ingravescentem ratione providet, insidias imperator, tempestates gubernator; et tamen ii ipsi saepe falluntur, qui nihil sine certa ratione opitur; ut agricola, cum florem oleae videt, bacam quoque se visurum putat, non sine ratione ille quidem; sed non numquam tamen fallitur. Quodsi falluntur ii, qui nihil sine aliqua probabili coniectura ac ratione dicunt, quid existimandum est de coniectura eorum, qui extis aut avibus aut ostentis aut oraclis aut somniis futura praesentiunt? Nondum dico, quam haec signa nulla sint, fissum iecoris, corvi cantus, volatus aquilae, stellae traiectio, voces furentium, sortes, somnia; de quibus singulis dicam suo loco; nunc de universis. 2.17. Qui potest provideri quicquam futurum esse, quod neque causam habet ullam neque notam, cur futurum sit? Solis defectiones itemque lunae praedicuntur in multos annos ab iis, qui siderum motus numeris persequuntur; ea praedicunt enim, quae naturae necessitas perfectura est. Vident ex constantissimo motu lunae, quando illa e regione solis facta incurrat in umbram terrae, quae est meta noctis, ut eam obscurari necesse sit, quandoque eadem luna subiecta atque opposita soli nostris oculis eius lumen obscuret, quo in signo quaeque errantium stellarum quoque tempore futura sit, qui exortus quoque die signi alicuius aut qui occasus futurus sit. Haec qui ante dicunt, quam rationem sequantur, vides. 2.18. Qui thesaurum inventum iri aut hereditatem venturam dicunt, quid sequuntur? aut in qua rerum natura inest id futurum? Quodsi haec eaque, quae sunt eiusdem generis, habent aliquam talem necessitatem, quid est tandem, quod casu fieri aut forte fortuna putemus? Nihil enim est tam contrarium rationi et constantiae quam fortuna, ut mihi ne in deum quidem cadere videatur, ut sciat, quid casu et fortuito futurum sit. Si enim scit, certe illud eveniet; sin certe eveniet, nulla fortuna est; est autem fortuna; rerum igitur fortuitarum nulla praesensio est. 2.19. Aut si negas esse fortunam et omnia, quae fiunt quaeque futura sunt, ex omni aeternitate definita dicis esse fataliter, muta definitionem divinationis, quam dicebas praesensionem esse rerum fortuitarum. Si enim nihil fieri potest, nihil accidere, nihil evenire, nisi quod ab omni aeternitate certum fuerit esse futurum rato tempore, quae potest esse fortuna? qua sublata qui locus est divinationi? quae a te fortuitarum rerum est dicta praesensio. Quamquam dicebas omnia, quae fierent futurave essent, fato contineri. Anile sane et plenum superstitionis fati nomen ipsum; sed tamen apud Stoicos de isto fato multa dicuntur; de quo alias; nunc quod necesse est. 2.28. Ut ordiar ab haruspicina, quam ego rei publicae causa communisque religionis colendam censeo. Sed soli sumus; licet verum exquirere sine invidia, mihi praesertim de plerisque dubitanti. Inspiciamus, si placet, exta primum. Persuaderi igitur cuiquam potest ea, quae significari dicuntur extis, cognita esse ab haruspicibus observatione diuturna? Quam diuturna ista fuit? aut quam longinquo tempore observari potuit? aut quo modo est conlatum inter ipsos, quae pars inimica, quae pars familiaris esset, quod fissum periculum, quod commodum aliquod ostenderet? An haec inter se haruspices Etrusci, Elii, Aegyptii, Poeni contulerunt? At id, praeterquam quod fieri non potuit, ne fingi quidem potest; alios enim alio more videmus exta interpretari, nec esse unam omnium disciplinam. 1.9. However, I am really at no loss for a reply to his reasoning; for in the second book Lucilius has made an adequate defence of religion and his argument, as you yourself state at the end of the third book, seemed to you nearer to the truth than Cottas. But there is a question which you passed over in those books because, no doubt, you thought it more expedient to inquire into it in a separate discussion: I refer to divination, which is the foreseeing and foretelling of events considered as happening by chance. Now let us see, if you will, what efficacy it has and what its nature is. My own opinion is that, if the kinds of divination which we have inherited from our forefathers and now practise are trustworthy, then there are gods and, conversely, if there are gods then there are men who have the power of divination. [6] 1.9. Nor is the practice of divination disregarded even among uncivilized tribes, if indeed there are Druids in Gaul — and there are, for I knew one of them myself, Divitiacus, the Aeduan, your guest and eulogist. He claimed to have that knowledge of nature which the Greeks call physiologia, and he used to make predictions, sometimes by means of augury and sometimes by means of conjecture. Among the Persians the augurs and diviners are the magi, who assemble regularly in a sacred place for practice and consultation, just as formerly you augurs used to do on the Nones. 1.13. We may wonder at the variety of herbs that have been observed by physicians, of roots that are good for the bites of wild beasts, for eye affections, and for wounds, and though reason has never explained their force and nature, yet through their usefulness you have won approval for the medical art and for their discoverer.But come, let us consider instances, which although outside the category of divination, yet resemble it very closely:The heaving sea oft warns of coming storms,When suddenly its depths begin to swell;And hoary rocks, oerspread with snowy brine,To the sea, in boding tones, attempt reply;Or when from lofty mountain-peak upspringsA shrilly whistling wind, which stronger growsWith each repulse by hedge of circling cliffs.[8] Your book, Prognostics, is full of such warning signs, but who can fathom their causes? And yet I see that the Stoic Boëthus has attempted to do so and has succeeded to the extent of explaining the phenomena of sea and sky. 1.13. And while it is difficult, perhaps, to apply this principle of nature to explain that kind of divination which we call artificial, yet Posidonius, who digs into the question as deep as one can, thinks that nature gives certain signs of future events. Thus Heraclides of Pontus records that it is the custom of the people of Ceos, once each year, to make a careful observation of the rising of the Dog-star and from such observation to conjecture whether the ensuing year will be healthy or pestilential. For if the star rises dim and, as it were enveloped in a fog, this indicates a thick and heavy atmosphere, which will give off very unwholesome vapours; but if the star appears clear and brilliant, this is a sign that the atmosphere is light and pure and, as a consequence, will be conducive to good health. 1.86. You ask why everything happens. You have a perfect right to ask, but that is not the point at issue now. The question is, Does it happen, or does it not? For example, if I were to say that the magnet attracted iron and drew it to itself, and I could not tell you why, then I suppose you would utterly deny that the magnet had any such power. At least that is the course you pursue in regard to the existence of the power of divination, although it is established by our reading and by the traditions of our forefathers. Why, even before the dawn of philosophy, which is a recent discovery, the average man had no doubt about divination, and, since its development, no philosopher of any sort of reputation has had any different view. 2.8. After my brother Quintus had delivered his views on divination, as set out in the preceding volume, and we had walked as much as we wished, we took our seats in the library in my Lyceum, and I remarked:Really, my dear Quintus, you have defended the Stoic doctrine with accuracy and like a Stoic. But the thing that delights me most is the fact that you illustrated your argument with many incidents taken from Roman sources — incidents, too, of a distinguished and noble type. I must now reply to what you said, but I must do so with great diffidence and with many misgivings, and in such a way as to affirm nothing and question everything. For if I should assume anything that I said to be certain I should myself be playing the diviner while saying that no such thing as divination exists! 2.8. Then dismiss Romuluss augural staff, which you say the hottest of fires was powerless to burn, and attach slight importance to the whetstone of Attus Navius. Myths would have no place in philosophy. It would have been more in keeping with your rôle as a philosopher to consider, first, the nature of divination generally, second, its origin, and third, its consistency. What, then, is the nature of an art which makes prophets out of birds that wander aimlessly about — now here, now there — and makes the action or inaction of men depend upon the song or flight of birds? and why was the power granted to some birds to give a favourable omen when on the left side and to others when on the right? Again, however, when, and by whom, shall we say that the system was invented? The Etruscans, it is true, find the author of their system in the boy who was ploughed up out of the ground; but whom have we? Attus Navius? But Romulus and Remus, both of whom, by tradition, were augurs, lived many years earlier. Are we to say that it was invented by the Pisidians, Cilicians, or Phrygians? It is your judgement, then, that those devoid of human learning are the authors of a divine science! [39] 2.13. But I observed, Quintus, that you prudently withdrew divination from conjectures based upon skill and experience in public affairs, from those drawn from the use of the senses and from those made by persons in their own callings. I observed, also, that you defined divination to be the foreknowledge and foretelling of things which happen by chance. In the first place, that is a contradiction of what you have admitted. For the foreknowledge possessed by a physician, a pilot, and a general is of things which happen by chance. Then can any soothsayer, augur, prophet, or dreamer conjecture better than a physician, a pilot, or a general that an invalid will come safely out of his sickness, or that a ship will escape from danger, or that an army will avoid an ambuscade? 2.13. Chrysippus, indeed, defines divination in these words: The power to see, understand, and explain premonitory signs given to men by the gods. Its duty, he goes on to say, is to know in advance the disposition of the gods towards men, the manner in which that disposition is shown and by what means the gods may be propitiated and their threatened ills averted. And this same philosopher defines the interpretation of dreams thus: It is the power to understand and explain the visions sent by the gods to men in sleep. Then, if that be true, will just ordinary shrewdness meet these requirements, or rather is there not need of surpassing intelligence and absolutely perfect learning? But I have never seen such a man. [64] 2.15. Can there, then, be any foreknowledge of things for whose happening no reason exists? For we do not apply the words chance, luck, accident, or casualty except to an event which has so occurred or happened that it either might not have occurred at all, or might have occurred in any other way. How, then, is it possible to foresee and to predict an event that happens at random, as the result of blind accident, or of unstable chance? 2.15. Sleep is regarded as a refuge from every toil and care; but it is actually made the fruitful source of worry and fear. In fact dreams would be less regarded on their own account and would be viewed with greater indifference had they not been taken under the guardianship of philosophers — not philosophers of the meaner sort, but those of the keenest wit, competent to see what follows logically and what does not — men who are considered well-nigh perfect and infallible. Indeed, if their arrogance had not been resisted by Carneades, it is probable that by this time they would have adjudged the only philosophers. While most of my war of words has been with these men, it is not because I hold them in especial contempt, but on the contrary, it is because they seem to me to defend their own views with the greatest acuteness and skill. Moreover, it is characteristic of the Academy to put forward no conclusions of its own, but to approve those which seem to approach nearest to the truth; to compare arguments; to draw forth all that may be said in behalf of any opinion; and, without asserting any authority of its own, to leave the judgement of the inquirer wholly free. That same method, which by the way we inherited from Socrates, I shall, if agreeable to you, my dear Quintus, follow as often as possible in our future discussions.Nothing could please me better, Quintus replied.When this was said, we arose. 2.16. By the use of reason the physician foresees the progress of a disease, the general anticipates the enemys plans and the pilot forecasts the approach of bad weather. And yet even those who base their conclusions on accurate reasoning are often mistaken: for example, when the farmer sees his olive-tree in bloom he expects also, and not unreasonably, to see it bear fruit, but occasionally he is disappointed. If then mistakes are made by those who make no forecasts not based upon some reasonable and probable conjecture, what must we think of the conjectures of men who foretell the future by means of entrails, birds, portents, oracles, or dreams? I am not ready yet to take up one by one the various kinds of divination and show that the cleft in the liver, the croak of a raven, the flight of an eagle, the fall of a star, the utterances of persons in a frenzy, lots, and dreams have no prophetic value whatever; I shall discuss each of them in its turn — now I am discussing the subject as a whole. 2.17. How can anything be foreseen that has no cause and no distinguishing mark of its coming? Eclipses of the sun and also of the moon are predicted for many years in advance by men who employ mathematics in studying the courses and movements of the heavenly bodies; and the unvarying laws of nature will bring their predictions to pass. Because of the perfectly regular movements of the moon the astronomers calculate when it will be opposite the sun and in the earths shadow — which is the cone of night — and when, necessarily, it will become invisible. For the same reason they know when the moon will be directly between the earth and the sun and thus will hide the light of the sun from our eyes. They know in what sign each planet will be at any given time and at what time each day any constellation will rise and set. You see the course of reasoning followed in arriving at these predictions. [7] 2.18. But what course of reasoning is followed by men who predict the finding of a treasure or the inheritance of an estate? On what law of nature do such prophecies depend? But, on the other hand, if the prophecies just mentioned and others of the same class are controlled by some natural and immutable law such as regulates the movements of the stars, pray, can we conceive of anything happening by accident, or chance? Surely nothing is so at variance with reason and stability as chance? Hence it seems to me that it is not in the power even of God himself to know what event is going to happen accidentally and by chance. For if He knows, then the event is certain to happen; but if it is certain to happen, chance does not exist. And yet chance does exist, therefore there is no foreknowledge of things that happen by chance. 2.19. But if you deny the existence of chance and assert that the course of everything present or future has been inevitably determined from all eternity, then you must change your definition of divination, which you said was the foreknowledge of things that happen by chance. For if nothing can happen, nothing befall, nothing come to pass, except what has been determined from all eternity as bound to happen at a fixed time, how can there be such a thing as chance? And if there is no such thing as chance, what room is there for that divination, which you termed a foreknowledge of things that happen by chance? And you were inconsistent enough, too, to say that everything that is or will be is controlled by Fate! Why, the very word Fate is full of superstition and old womens credulity, and yet the Stoics have much to say of this Fate of yours. A discussion on Fate is reserved for another occasion; at present I shall speak of it only in so far as it is necessary. [8] 2.28. In discussing separately the various methods of divination, I shall begin with soothsaying, which, according to my deliberate judgement, should be cultivated from reasons of political expediency and in order that we may have a state religion. But we are alone and for that reason we may, without causing ill-will, make an earnest inquiry into the truth of soothsaying — certainly I can do so, since in most things my philosophy is that of doubt. In the first place, then, if you please, let us make an inspection of entrails! Now can anybody be induced to believe that the things said to be predicted by means of entrails were learned by the soothsayers through long-continued observation? How long, pray, did the observations last? How could the observations have continued for a long time? How did the soothsayers manage to agree among themselves what part of the entrails was unfavourable, and what part favourable; or what cleft in the liver indicated danger and what promised some advantage? Are the soothsayers of Etruria, Elis, Egypt, and of Carthage in accord on these matters? Apart from such an agreement being impossible in fact, it is impossible even to imagine; and, moreover, we see some nations interpreting entrails in one way and some in another; hence there is no uniformity of practice.
2. Cicero, On Laws, 2.32 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things, 4.749-4.776, 4.800-4.806, 4.818-4.821, 4.962-4.1036 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Seneca The Younger, Natural Questions, 2.32-2.36, 2.38-2.50 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

5. Achilles Tatius, The Adventures of Leucippe And Cleitophon, 1.3.2 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
allen,james Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 319
antipater of tarsus Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 316
attalus,seneca's teacher" Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 327, 331
attalus,seneca's teacher,and caecina" Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 330, 331, 332
beard,mary Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 296, 318, 319
bobzien,susanne Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 320, 321, 322, 323
caecina,aulus,and attalus Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 330, 331, 332
caecina,aulus,thirteen lightning-types Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 330, 331
caecina,aulus Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 324, 325, 326, 327, 328
carneades Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 316, 319
chaldeans Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 313
cicero,discourse on theology in de diuinatione Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 318
cicero,shift to academic skepticism Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 315, 316
cicero,volte-face on divination? Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 314, 315
cicero Williams (2012), The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca's 'Natural Questions', 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 332
democritus Luck (2006), Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts, 292
divination Luck (2006), Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts, 292
dodona Santangelo (2013), Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond, 15
dreams,interpretation of Luck (2006), Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts, 292
eidinow,e. Santangelo (2013), Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond, 15
epicurus and epicureanism Luck (2006), Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts, 292
haruspicy Santangelo (2013), Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond, 15
heliodorus (novelist) Luck (2006), Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts, 292
posidonius Luck (2006), Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts, 292
private divination Santangelo (2013), Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond, 15
sortes astrampsychi' Santangelo (2013), Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond, 15
statues of the gods Luck (2006), Arcana mundi: magic and the occult in the Greek and Roman worlds: a collection of ancient texts, 292
tullius cicero,m.,de diuinatione Santangelo (2013), Roman Frugality: Modes of Moderation from the Archaic Age to the Early Empire and Beyond, 15