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[131] "Again, Democritus expresses the opinion that the ancients acted wisely in providing for the [p. 367] inspection of the entrails of sacrifices; because, as he thinks, the colour and general condition of the entrails are prophetic sometimes of health and sometimes of sickness and sometimes also of whether the fields will be barren or productive. Now, if it is known by observation and experience that these means of divination have their source in nature, it must be that the observations made and records kept for a long period of time have added much to our knowledge of this subject. Hence, that natural philosopher introduced by Pacuvius into his play of Chryses, seems to show very scanty apprehension of the laws of nature when he speaks as follows:
The men who know the speech of birds and more
Do learn from other livers1 than their own—
'Twere best to hear, I think, and not to heed.
I do not know why this poet makes such a statement when only a few lines further on he says clearly enough:
Whate'er the power may be, it animates,
Creates, gives form, increase, and nourishment
To everything; of everything the sire,
It takes all things unto itself and hides
Within its breast; and as from it all things
Arise, likewise to it all things return.
Since all things have one and the same and that a common home, and since the human soul has always been and will always be, why, then, should it not be able to understand what effect will follow any cause, and what sign will precede any event?

“This,” said Quintus, “is all that I had to say on divination.”

[p. 369]

1 Often spoken of as the seat of the emotions, but here of the intelligence.

2 The earth is meant and is personified as Dis or Pluto; cf. Cic. ND. ii. 26. 66 Terrena autem vis omnis atque natura Diti patri dedicata est, qui Dives, ut apud Graecos Πλούτων,quia et recidunt omnia in terras et oriuntur i terris.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (C. F. W. Müller, 1915)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
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