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[47] It was in that same connexion that you brought forth my Prognostics1 and some samples of herbs—the scammony and aristolochia2 root—saying that you could see their virtue and effect but did not know the cause.

21. "But your illustrations are not pertinent at all. For example, the causes of meteorological phenomena have been investigated by Boëthus3 the Stoic, whom you mentioned, and by our friend Posidonius; and even if the causes are not discovered by them, yet the phenomena themselves are capable of observation and study. But what opportunity was there for long-continued observation in the case where Natta's statue and the brazen tablets of laws were struck by lightning?4 'The Nattas,' you say, 'were of the Pinarian gens5 and of noble birth, therefore danger was to be expected from the nobility.' So clever of Jupiter to devise such a means to warn us of danger! 'The statue of the infant Romulus,' you observe, ' was struck by a thunderbolt; hence danger was thereby predicted to the city which he founded.' How wise of Jupiter to use signs in conveying information to us! Again, you say, 'Jupiter's statue was being set up at the very time the conspiracy was being exposed.'6 You, of course, prefer to attribute this coincidence to a divine decree rather than to chance. The man to whom Cotta and Torquatus let the contract for the [p. 425] statue did not, I presume, delay the completion of his work either from lack of energy or from lack of funds, but his hand was stayed till the appointed hour by the immortal gods!

1 Cf. i. 8. 13.

2 Cf. i. 10. 16.

3 Cf. i. 8. 13.

4 Cf. i. 12. 19.

5 The Pinarian gens was one of the most ancient patrician families at Rome.

6 i. 12. 21.

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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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