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[8] “No wonder you have forced your way into the Senate House: no bars or bolts can hold against you. Only do say what species of god you want the fellow to be made. An Epicurean god he cannot be: for they take no trouble and cause none.1 A Stoic, then? How can he be globular, as Varro2 says, without a head or any other projection? There is in him something of the Stoic god, as I can see now: he has neither heart nor head. Upon my word, if he had asked this boon from Saturn, he would not have got it, though he kept up Saturn's feast all the year round, a truly Saturnalian prince. A likely thing he will get it from Jove, whom he condemned for incest as far as[p. 389] in him lay:3 for he killed his son-in-law Silanus, because Silanus had a sister, a most charming girl, called Venus by all the world, and he preferred to call her Juno. Why, says he, I want to know why, his own sister? Read your books, stupid: you may go half-way at Athens, the whole way at Alexandria.4 Because the mice lick meal5 at Rome, you say. Is this creature to mend our crooked ways? What goes on in his own closet he knows not;6 and now he searches the regions of the sky, wants to be a god. Is it not enough that he has a temple in Britain, that savages worship him and pray to him as a god, so that they may find a fool7 to have mercy upon them?”

1 Compare Diogenes Laertius x, 139: τὸ μακάριον καὶ ἄφθαρτον οὔτε αὐτὸ ρπᾶγμά τι ἔχει οὔτε ἄλλῳ παρέχει: “The Blessed and Incorruptible neither itself has trouble nor causes trouble to another.”

2 Author or Saturae Menippeae (now lost), which no doubt burlesqued the Stoic “perfect man,”totus teres atque rotundus.

3 Because Juno was et soror et coniunx.

4 Marriage with a half-sister was allowed at Athens; the Egyptian royal family married brother and sister.

5 Another proverb of uncertain meaning; probably “because people like nice things at Rome, as they do everywhere.”

6 Perhaps alluding to a mock marriage of Silius and Messalina.

7 Again μωροῦ for θεοῦ as in ch. 6.

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load focus Introduction (W.H.D. Rouse, W.H.D. Rouse, M.A. Litt. D., 1913)
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