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1 It is remarked by Enfield, Hist. of Phil. ii. 131, that "with respect to philosophical opinions, Pliny did not rigidly adhere to any sect.... He reprobates the Epicurean tenet of an infinity of worlds; favours the Pythagorean notion of the harmony of the spheres; speaks of the universe as God, after the manner of the Stoics, and sometimes seems to pass over into the field of the Sceptics. For the most part, however, he leans to the doctrine of Epicurus."
2 "Si alius est Deus quam sol," Alexandre in Lem. i. 230. Or rather, if there be any God distinct from the world; for the latter part of the sentence can scarcely apply to the sun. Poinsinet and Ajasson, however, adopt the same opinion with M. Alexandre; they translate the passage, "s'il en est autre que le soleil," i. 17 and ii. 11.
3 "totus animæ, totus animi;" "Anima est qua vivinus, animus quo sapimus." Hard. in Lem. i. 230, 231. The distinction between these two words is accurately pointed out by Lucretius, iii. 137 et seq.
6 "In varios divisit Deos numen unicum, quod Plinio cœlum est aut mundus; ejusque singulas partes, aut, ut philosophi aiunt, attributa, separatim coluit; "Alexandre in Lemaire, i. 231.
7 "Febrem autem ad minus nocendum, templis celebrant, quorum adhue unum in Palafio...." Val. Max. ii. 6; see also Ælian, Var. Hist. xii. 11. It is not easy to ascertain the precise meaning of the terms Fanum, Ædes, and Templum, which are employed in this place by Pliny and Val. Maximus. Gesner defines Fanum "area templi et solium, templum vero ædificium;" but this distinction, as he informs us, is not always accurately observed; there appears to be still less distinction between Ædes and Templum; see his Thesaurus in loco, also Bailey's Facciolati in loco.
8 "Orbona est Orbitalis dea." Hardouin in Lemaire, i. 231.
9 "Appositos sibi statim ab ortu custodes credebant, quos viri Genios, Junones fœminæ vocabant." Hardouin in Lemaire, i. 232. See Tibullus, 4. 6. 1, and Seneca, Epist. 110, sub init.
10 We may suppose that our author here refers to the popular mythology of the Egyptians; the "fœtidi cibi" are mentioned by Juvenal; "Porrum et cæpe nefas violare et frangere morsu," xv. 9; and Pliny, in a subsequent part of his work, xix. 32, remarks, "Allium ceepeque inter Deos in jurejurando habet Ægyptus."
11 See Cicero, De Nat. Deor. i. 42 et alibi, for an illustration of these remarks of Pliny.
12 This sentiment is elegantly expressed by Cicero, De Nat. Deor. ii. 62, and by Horace, Od. iii. 3. 9 et seq. It does not appear, however, that any of the Romans, except Romulus, were deified, previous to the adulatory period of the Empire.
13 "Planetarum nempe, qui omnes nomina mutuantur a diis." Alexandre in Lemaire, i. 234.
14 This remark may be illustrated by the following passage from Cicero, in the first book of his treatise De Nat. Deor. Speaking of the doctrine of Zeno, he says, "neque enim Jovem, neque Junonem, neque Vestam, neque quemquam, qui ita appelletur, in deorum habet numero: sed rebus manimis, atque mutis, per quandam significationem, hæc docet tributa nomina." "Idemque (Chrysippus) disputat, æthera esse eum, quem homines Jovem appellant: quique aër per maria manaret, eum esse Nep- tunum: terramque eam esse, quæ Ceres diceretur: similique ratione persequitur vocabula reliquorum deorum."
15 The following remarks of Lucretius and of Cicero may serve to illustrate the opinion here expressed by our author:—
"Omnis enim per se Divum natura necesse est
Immortal ævo summa cum pace fruatur,
Semota ab nostris rebus, sejunctaque longe; "Lucretius, i. 57–69.
"Quod æternum beatumque sit, id nec habere ipsum negotii quidquam, nec exhibere alteri; itaque neque ira neque gratia teneri, quod, quæ talia essent, imbecilla essent omnia." Cicero, De Nat. Deor. i. 45.
16 The author here alludes to the figures of the Egyptian deities that were engraven on rings.
17 His specific office was to execute vengeance on the impious.
18 "sola utramque paginam facit." The words utraque pagina generally refer to the two sides of the same sheet, but, in this passage, they probably mean the contiguous portions of the same surface.
19 "astroque suo eventu assignat;" the word astrum appears to be
synonymous with sidus, generally signifying a single star, and, occasionally, a constellation; as in Manilius, i. 541, 2.
"....quantis bis sena ferantur
It is also used by synecdoche for the heavens, as is the case with the English word stars. See Gesner's Thesaurus.
20 "Quæ si suscipiamus, pedis offensio nobis...et sternutamenta erunt observanda." Cicero, De Nat. Deor. ii. 84.
21 "Divus Augustus." The epithet divus may be regarded as merely a term of court etiquette, because all the Emperors after death were deified ex officio.
22 We learn the exact nature of this ominous accident from Suetonius; "....si mane sibi calceus perperam, et sinister pro dextro induceretur;" Augustus, Cap. 92. From this passage it would appear, that the Roman sandals were made, as we term it, right and left.
23 It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the opinions here stated respecting the Deity are taken partly from the tenets of the Epicureans, combined with the Stoical doctrine of Fate. The examples which are adduced to prove the power of fate over the Deity are, for the most part, rather verbal than essential.
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