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12. Would any one say this about the gods who had even a very low opinion of them? or, if they were taken up with such affairs, considerations, cares, would any man of wisdom either believe that they are gods, or reckon them among men even? Was that Acdestis, pray, the lopping off of whose lewd members was to give a sense of security to the immortals, was he one of the creatures of earth, or one of the gods, and possessed of43504350    Lit., “endowed with the honour of.” immortality? For if he was thought to be of our lot and in the condition of men, why did he cause the deities so much terror? But if he was a god, how could he be deceived, or how could anything be cut off from a divine body?43514351    The ms. here inserts de—“from the body from a divine (being).” But we raise no issue on this point: he may have been of divine birth, or one of us, if you think it more correct to say so. Did a pomegranate tree, also, spring from the blood which flowed and from the parts which were cut off? or at the time when43524352    So the edd. (except Oehler), reading tum cum for the ms. tum quæ quod. that member was concealed in the bosom of the earth, did it lay hold of the ground with a root, and spring up into a mighty tree, put forth branches loaded with blossoms,43534353    Balaustiis, the flowers of the wild pomegranate. and in a moment bare mellow fruit perfectly and completely ripe? And because these sprang from red blood, is their colour therefore bright purple, with a dash of yellow? Say further that they are juicy also, that they have the taste of wine, because they spring from the blood of one filled with it, and you have finished your story consistently. O Abdera, Abdera, what occasions for mocking you would give43544354    Dares supplied by Salmasius. to men, if such a tale had been devised by you! All fathers relate it, and haughty states peruse it; and you are considered foolish, and utterly dull and stupid.43554355    [The Abderitans were proverbially such. “Hinc Abdera, non tacente me.”—Cicero, Ep. ad Attic., iv. 16.]


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