"In demolishing divination by means of
entrails we have utterly demolished the soothsayer's
art; for the same fate awaits divination by means
of lightnings and portents. According to your view,
long-continued observation is employed in the case
of lightnings, and reason and conjecture are generally
employed in the case of portents. But what is it
that has been observed in the case of lightnings?
The Etruscans divided the sky into sixteen parts.
Of course it was easy enough for them to double
the four parts into which we divide it and then
double that total and tell from which one of those
divisions a bolt of lightning had come. In the first
place, what difference does its location make? and,
in the second place, what does it foretell? It is
perfectly evident that, out of the wonder and fear
excited in primitive man by lightning and thunderbolts, sprang his belief that those phenomena were
caused by omnipotent Jove. And so we find it
recorded in our augural annals: 'When Jove
thunders or lightens it is impious to hold an election.'