Cicero, de Haruspicum Responso (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Har.].
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27 Formerly, then, by the advice of this prophetess, when Italy was wearied by the Punic war and harassed by Hannibal, our ancestors imported that sacred image and those sacred rites from Phrygia, and established them at Rome, where they were received by that man who was adjudged to be the most virtuous of all the Roman people, Publius Scipio Nasica, and

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by the woman who was considered the chastest of the matrons, Quinta Claudia; the old-fashioned strictness of whose sacrifice on that occasion your sister is considered to have imitated in a wonderful manner. Did, then, neither your ancestors, connected as they were with these religious ceremonies, nor the priesthood itself, by which all these religious observances were established, nor the curule aedileship, which above all things is accustomed to uphold this worship, influence you to abstain from polluting those most holy games with every sort of crime, and polluting them with infamy, and involving them in guilt?


But why do I wonder? when, having taken a bribe, you ravaged Pessinus itself, the habitation and home of the mother of the gods, and sold to Brogitarus—a fellow half Gaul, half Greek, a profligate and impious man, whose agents, while you were tribune, used to pay you the money for your share of the work in the temple of Castor—the whole of that place and the temple; when you dragged the priest from the very altar and cushion of the goddess; when you perverted those omens which all antiquity, which Persians, and Syrians, and all kings who have ever reigned in Europe and Asia have always venerated with the greatest piety; which, last of all; our own ancestors considered so sacred, that though we had the city and all Italy crowded with temples, still our generals in our most important and most perilous wars used to offer their vows to this goddess, and to pay them in Pessinus itself, at that identical principal altar and on that spot and in that temple.

29 And when Deiotarus was protecting this temple in the most holy manner with the deepest feelings of religion—Deiotarus, of all allies the most faithful to this empire and the most devoted to our name—you gave it to Brogitarus as I have said before, having sold it to him for a sum of money. And yet you order this Deiotarus who has been repeatedly declared by the senate worthy of the name of king and adorned with the testimony of many most illustrious generals in his favour, to be styled king together with Brogitarus. But one of them has been called king by the decision of the senate through my instrumentality. Brogitarus has been called king by you for money. And I will think him a king, indeed, if he has any means of paying you what you

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have trusted him with on his note of hand. For there are many royal qualities in Deiotarus; this was the most royal of all, that he gave you no money; that he did not repudiate that portion of your law which agreed with the decision of the senate, namely that he was a king; that he recovered Pessinus, which had been impiously violated by you and stripped of its priest and its sacrifices, in order to maintain it in its accustomed religion; that he does not suffer the ceremonies which have been received as handed down from the most remote antiquity, to be polluted by Brogitarus; and that he prefers to let his son-in-law be deprived of your liberality, rather than to allow that temple to lose the ancient reverence due to its religious character.

But to return to these answers of the soothsayers, the first of which is that respecting these games; who is there who does not confess that the whole of that answer and prophecy was delivered with reference to that fellow's games?

ch. 14


The answer about sacred and holy places comes next. Oh, the marvellous impudence of the man! do you dare to make mention of my house? Entrust your own to the consuls, or the senate, or the college of pontiffs; and mine, as I have said before, has been declared by all these three decisions to be free from all religions liability. But in that house which you keep possession of after having slain Quintus Seius, a Roman knight and most excellent man, in the most open manner, I say that there was a shrine and altars. I will prove and establish this fact by the registers of the censors, and by the recollection of many individuals. Only let this question be discussed, (and it must be referred to you by virtue of that resolution of the senate which has lately been passed,) and I have plenty to say on the subject of religious places.

31 When I have spoken of your house,—in which, however, a chapel has been put up in such a way that another built it, and you have only got to pull it down,—then I will see whether it is necessary for me to speak also of other places. For some people think that it belongs to me to open the armoury of the temple of Tellus. They say that it is not long ago that it was open, and I recollect it myself. Now they say that the most holy part of it, and the place entitled to the greatest reverence, is occupied by a private vestibule. There are many considerations which influence me,—

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namely, this, that the temple of Tellus is put particularly under my care; and that he who took away that armoury said that my house, which was declared free by the decision of the pontiffs, had been adjudged to his brother. I am influenced also at this time of dearness of provisions, of barrenness of the lands, and of scarcity of the crops, by the reverence due to Tellus; and all the more, because, on account of this same prodigy, an atonement is said to be due to Tellus.

Cicero, de Haruspicum Responso (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Har.].
<<Cic. Har. 24 Cic. Har. 29 (Latin) >>Cic. Har. 34

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