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8. Say, I pray you,—that Peta, Puta, Patella may graciously favour you,—if there were no41224122    Orelli omits non, following Oberthür. bees at all on the earth then, or if we men were born without bones, like some worms, would there be no goddess Mellonia;41234123    Both in this and the preceding chapter the ms. reads Melonia. or would Ossilago, who gives bones their solidity, be without a name of her own? I ask truly, and eagerly inquire whether you think that gods, or men, or bees, fruits, twigs, and the rest, are the more ancient in nature, time, long duration? No man will doubt that you say that the gods precede all things whatever by countless ages and generations. But if it is so, how, in the nature of things, can it be that, from things produced afterwards, they received those names which are earlier in point of time? or that the gods were charged with the care41244124    Lit., “obtained by lot the wardships.” of those things which were not yet produced, and assigned to be of use to men? Or were the gods long without names; and was it only after things began to spring up, and be on the earth, that you thought it right that they should be called by these names41254125    Lit., “signs.” and titles? And whence could you have known what name to give to each, since you were wholly ignorant of their existence; or that they possessed any fixed powers, seeing that you were equally unaware which of them had any power, and over what he should be placed to suit his divine might?


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