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[26] It sometimes misleads perhaps, but none the less in most cases it guides us to the truth. For this same conjectural divination is the product of boundless eternity and within that period it has grown into an art through the repeated observation and recording of almost countless instances in which the same results have been preceded by the same signs.

15. "Indeed how trustworthy were the auspices taken when you were augur!1 At the present time—pray pardon me for saying so—Roman augurs neglect auspices, although the Cilicians, Pamphylians, Pisidians, and Lycians hold them in high esteem. I need not remind you of that most famous and worthy man, our guest-friend, King Deiotarus, who never undertook any enterprise without first taking the auspices. On one occasion after he had set out on a journey for which he had made careful plans beforehand, he returned home because of the warning given him by the flight of an eagle. The room in which he would have been staying, had he continued on his road, collapsed the very next [p. 255] night.

1 Cicero was elected to the college and became a colleague of Pompey and Hortensius in 53 B.C. Quintus proceeds now to contrast the state of augury in 53–63 B.C. with that of the time of the dialogue, 44.

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