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[116] But in either event the oracle would have been true. Besides, why need I believe that this oracle was ever given to Croesus? or why should I consider Herodotus1 more truthful than Ennius? and was the former less able to invent stories about Croesus than Ennius was about Pyrrhus? For instance, nobody believes Ennius when he says that Apollo's oracle gave the following response to Pyrrhus:

O son of Aeacus, my prediction is
That you the Roman army will defeat.

From the Annales of Ennius.
In the first place Apollo never spoke in Latin; second, that oracle is unknown to the Greeks; third, in the days of Pyrrhus Apollo had already ceased making [p. 503] verses, and, finally, although “the sons of Aeacus have ever been,” as Ennius says,
a stolid race,
And more for valour than for wisdom famed,
still Pyrrhus would have had sense enough to see that the equivocal line—“You the Roman army will defeat”—was no more favourable to him than to the Romans. As for that equivocal response which deceived Croesus, it might have deceived—Chrysippus, for example; but the one made to Pyrrhus wouldn't have fooled—even Epicurus!

1 Herodotus gives the substance of this story in i. 53.

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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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