The de Divinatione appeals more to our sense of reasonableness than to reason: its refutation of the various superstitions involved makes for. An English translation. The complete work is onsite. Part of a large site on ancient Rome and classical Antiquity. Guillaumont (F.) Le De divinatione de Cicerón et les théories antiques de . Cicerone, Della divinazione (Milan, ); G. Freyburger and J. Scheid. (edd., trans.

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Nothing is so uncertain as a cast of dice and yet there is no one who plays often who does not sometimes make a Venus-throw and occasionally twice or thrice in succession. Pales was the tutelary god of shepherds.

There is a much-quoted Greek verse to this effect: But tell me, if you can, what is the orderly course of dreams and what is the harmonious relation between them and subsequent events?

Cicero: On Divination

And you were inconsistent enough, too, to say that everything that is or will be is controlled by Fate! For his masterpieces were made by chipping away the marble, not by adding anything to it; and when, after much chipping, the lineaments of a face were reached, one then realized that the work now polished and complete had always been inside the block.

Regardless, he treats each of his pronouncements as if they clinch the argument once and for all – which means he isn’t too different from modern commentators regarding atheism. How far-fetched is the argument in their defence!

But since that is djvinatione the case, dreams ought not to be held divine. The Pythagoreans make a point of prohibiting beans, as if thereby the soul and not the belly was filled with wind!

In fear we stood and watched the monster strange, As midst the altars of the gods it moved. Moreover we find no writer who says that the practice exists or who knows that it ever did exist.

He separated from Pompey — an occasion of sorrow! Pray what became of the warnings of the first set of entrails? Xivinatione is not used by those who conduct our wars, for they have not the right of auspices.

Antoine Jan rated it liked it Oct 20, According to your view, long-continued observation is employed in the case of lightnings, and reason and conjecture are generally employed in the case of portents.


But he says with general approval and applause: For it is not enough to call an opinion ‘foolishness’ when it is utterly devoid of reason. But, because of the fact that, while they eat, some food must necessarily fall from their mouths and strike upon the ground terram pavire— this at first was called terripaviumand later, terripudium ; now it is called tripudium — therefore, when a crumb of food falls from a chicken’s mouth a tripudium solistimum is announced to the celebrant.

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.

De Divinatione (Element Classics)

Memoue added it Feb 17, But you betook yourself to a strange place of refuge. He further says that the gods have limbs just as we have, but make no use of them. The same thought is often found.

Cicero concerns himself in some detail with the types of rivinatione, dividing them into the “inspired” type Latin furorGk. What did she ever admonish us about except the pregnant sow?

You answer, ‘Because we see lizards and mice every day; snakes we do not. For, if we had the right to know what was going to happen, it should have been stated to us clearly: For example, some, who were so tongue-tied that they could not speak, have had their tongues divinaitone free by a dicerone from the surgeon’s knife.

For example, when the following oracular response was made to Asia’s richest king: This sort of divining, however, has now been discarded by general usage. Hardcoverpages. Heraclitus diviatione very obscure; Democritus is not so in the least: But let us leave the era of myths and come to events nearer home.

Or whether the moon shines by its own light or by that of the sun? Furthermore, the celestial order and the beauty of the universe compel me to confess that there is some excellent and eternal Being, who deserves the divintaione and homage of men.


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?

How often will you find a man who will say that pleasure is not a good! You spoke of a mule bearing a colt. And neither can your Stoic god impart divination, civerone he rules the world and plans for the good of mankind. Don’t you think, rather, that the bull lost his heart when he saw that Caesar in his purple robe had lost his head? You stated the syllogism of Chrysippus, Diogenes, and Antipater in this way: But you will have it that everything happens by Fate; consequently, knowledge of the future would have done these men no good.

And hence, if most dreams are unnoticed and disregarded, either God is ignorant of divinatuone fact, or he does a vain thing in conveying information by means eivinatione 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. Surely nothing is so at variance with reason and stability as chance?

In fact, do we often consult them in such a case? In the divjnatione place, then, it must be understood that there is no divine power which creates dreams. Many more have corrected a natural defect by intelligent exertion. Astronomers have recorded the movements of the planets and thereby have discovered an orderly course of the stars, not thought of before. Are they things that are perceived by the senses? Under the same head you included practically every method of prophecy in which conjecture was employed.

Is it the nature of the subject? Hence it would seem divinationne strange to me should anyone, especially at this time, believe in men whose predictions he sees disproved every day by actual results.