And I see that in the answers of the soothsayers this is added: “But the ancient and secret sacrifices have been performed with less than due diligence and have been polluted.” Are they the soothsayers who say this or the gods of our country and our household gods? I suppose there are many persons to whom a suspicion of this guilt attaches;—who but this one man? Is it mentioned obscurely what sacrifices have been polluted? What can be expressed in a plainer, more dignified or more solemn manner? “Ancient and secret.” I say that Lentulus, a dignified and eloquent orator, did not when he was accusing you, make use of any expressions more frequently than these which now are extracted from the Etruscan books and turned against and applied to you. In truth what sacrifice is there so ancient as this, which we have received from the kings and which is contemporary with the city itself? But what is so secret as that which excludes not only all curious eyes but even all accidental ones? Which not only no wickedness, but which even no unintentional chance can penetrate? That sacrifice no one, ever since the world began, has ever profaned, no one has ever approached no one has ever disregarded no man has ever thought of beholding without horror before Publius Clodius. It is performed by the vestal virgins; it is performed on behalf of the Roman people; it is performed in the house of a supreme magistrate; it is performed with incredible solemnity; it is performed to that goddess whose very name it is not lawful for men to know, and whom that fellow calls Good, because she has pardoned him such enormous wickedness
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO RESPECTING THE ANSWERS OF THE SOOTHSAYERS. ADDRESSED TO THE SENATE.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
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