"Those then, whose souls, spurning their bodies,
take wings and fly abroad—inflamed and aroused
by a sort of passion—these men, I say, certainly see
the things which they foretell in their prophecies.
Such souls do not cling to the body and are kindled
by many different influences. For example, some
are aroused by certain vocal tones, as by Phrygian
songs, many by groves and forests, and many others
by rivers and seas. I believe, too, that there were
certain subterranean vapours which had the effect
of inspiring persons to utter oracles.1
In all these
cases the frenzied soul sees the future long in
advance, as Cassandra did in the following instance:
Alas! behold! some mortal will decide
A famous case between three goddesses:
Because of that decision there will come
A Spartan woman, but a Fury too.2
It is in this state of exaltation that many predictions have been made, not only in prose but also
In verse which once the fauns and bards did sing.
From Ennius, Annales, vii. 2.