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[8] 5. This subject has been discussed by me frequently on other occasions, but with somewhat more than ordinary care when my brother Quintus and I were together recently at my Tusculan villa. For the sake of a stroll we had gone to the Lyceum,1 which is the name of my upper gymnasium, when Quintus remarked:

[p. 233] “I have just finished a careful reading of the third book of your treatise, On the Nature of the Gods, containing Cotta's discussion, which, though it has shaken my views of religion, has not overthrown them entirely.”

“Very good,” said I; “for Cotta's argument is intended rather to refute the arguments of the Stoics than to destroy man's faith in religion.”

Quintus then replied: “Cotta2 says the very same thing, and says it repeatedly, in order, as I think, not to appear to violate the commonly accepted canons of belief; yet it seems to me that, in his zeal to confute the Stoics, he utterly demolishes the gods. ”

1 Cicero had two gymnasia at Tusculum: the Lyceum, so called from the place in which Aristotle taught at Athens, the other, the Academia, named from the place where Plato lectured. Cf. Cic. Tusc. ii. 3.

2 Gaius Aurelius Cotta, consul 75 B.C., an eminent orator, and Q. Lucilius Balbus were two of the disputants in The Nature of the Gods, the former as an Academician and the latter as a Stoic.

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