But we shall
discuss the latter point at greater length in other
discourses; let us dismiss it for the present.
"Now let us examine augury as practised among
foreign nations, whose methods are not so artificial
as they are superstitious. They employ almost
all kinds of birds, we only a few; they regard
some signs as favourable, we, others. Deiotarus
used to question me a great deal about our system
of augury, and I him about that of his country.
Ye gods! how much they differed! So much that
in some cases they were directly the reverse of each
other. He employed auspices constantly, we never
do except when the duty of doing so is imposed by
a vote of the people. Our ancestors would not
undertake any military enterprise without consulting the auspices; but now, for many years, our
wars have been conducted by pro-consuls and propraetors, who do not have the right to take auspices.