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. . . . These were Sullas words.1 ‘For it concerns my story and that is its source; but I think that I should first like to learn whether there is any need to put back for a fresh start2 to those opinions concerning the face of the moon which are current and on the lips of everyone.’ ‘What else would you expect us to have done,’ I said,3 “since it was the difficulty in these opinions that drove us from our course upon those others? As people with chronic diseases when they have despaired of ordinary remedies and customary regimens turn to expiations and amulets and dreams, just so in obscure and perplexing speculations, when the ordinary and reputable and customary accounts are not persuasive, it is necessary to try those that are more out of the way and not scorn them but literally to chant over ourselves4 the charms of the ancients and use every means to bring the truth to test.

1 Concerning the mutilated beginning of the dialogue see Introduction § 1.

2 For the metaphor cf. An Seni Respublica Gerenda Sit, 787 E, and Plato, Philebus, 13 D; the meaning is guaranteed by ἀπωσθέντες (‘driven from our course’) infra. Of. the nautical metaphor with which Sulla interrupts Lamprias at 940 F infra (τὸν μῦθον . . . ἐξοκείλας).

3 The speaker and narrator of the dialogue is Lamprias, the brother of Plutarch; cf. 937 D, 940 F, 945 D, infra.

4 Cf. Plato, Phaedo, 77 E and 114 D, Republic, 608 A.

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