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[83] What a conflict this is! In view, then, of the differences between different nations in the responses, in the manner in which observations are made and in the kinds of birds and signs employed, need I assert that divination is compounded of a little error, a little superstition, and a good deal of fraud?

40. "And to these superstitions you have actually joined omens! For example: ' Aemilia told Paulus that Persa was dead and her father accepted this as an omen.'1 ' Caecilia said that she surrendered her seat to her sister's daughter.' Then you go on and speak of the order of silence, favete linguis2 and the 'prerogative,' or omen of the elections.3 This is indeed turning the artillery of one's eloquence and learning against oneself! For while on the watch for these 'oracles' of yours could you be so free and calm of mind that you would have reason and not superstition to guide your course? Now, if a person in the course of his own business or conversation should make some remark, and a word spoken by him happened to apply to what you were doing or thinking, do you really believe that such an accident should cause you either fear or joy?

1 Cf. i. 46. 103.

2 Cf. i. 45. 102.

3 Cf. i. 45. 103.

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