These were not the only advantages Pericles had of his association with Anaxagoras. It appears that he was also lifted by him above superstition, that feeling which is produced by amazement at what happens in regions above us. It affects those who are ignorant of the causes of such things, and are crazed about divine intervention, and confounded through their inexperience in this domain; whereas the doctrines of natural philosophy remove such ignorance and inexperience, and substitute for timorous and inflamed superstition that unshaken reverence which is attended by a good hope.
A story is told that once on a time the head of a one-horned ram was brought to Pericles from his country-place, and that Lampon the seer, when he saw how the horn grew strong and solid from the middle of the forehead, declared that, whereas there were two powerful parties in the city, that of Thucydides and that of Pericles, the mastery would finally devolve upon one man,—the man to whom this sign had been given. Anaxagoras, however, had the skull cut in two, and showed that the brain had not filled out its position, but had drawn together to a point, like an egg, at that particular spot in the entire cavity where the root of the horn began.
At that time, the story says, it was Anaxagoras who won the plaudits of the bystanders; but a little while after it was Lampon, for Thucydides was overthrown, and Pericles was entrusted with the entire control of all the interests of the people.
Now there was nothing, in my opinion, to prevent both of them, the naturalist and the seer, from being in the right of the matter; the one correctly divined the cause, the other the object or purpose. It was the proper province of the one to observe why anything happens, and how it comes to be what it is; of the other to declare for what purpose anything happens, and what it means.
And those who declare that the discovery of the cause, in any phenomenon, does away with the meaning, do not perceive that they are doing away not only with divine portents, but also with artificial tokens, such as the ringing of gongs, the language of fire-signals, and the shadows of the pointers on sundials. Each of these has been made, through some causal adaptation, to have some meaning. However, perhaps this is matter for a different treatise.