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19. But you err, says my opponent, and fall into mistakes; for in sacrificing female victims to the female deities, males to the male deities, there is a hidden and very48554855    Lit., “more.” secret reason, and one beyond the reach of the mass. I do not inquire, I do not demand, what the sacrificial laws teach or contain; but if reason has demonstrated,48564856    So the ms., Elm., LB., Orelli, Hild., and Oehler, reading vicerit, for which the others read jusserit—“has bidden.” and truth declared, that among the gods there is no difference of species, and that they are not distinguished by any sexes, must not all these reasonings be set at nought, and be proved, be found to have been believed under the most foolish hallucinations? I will not bring forward the opinions of wise men, who cannot restrain their laughter when they hear distinctions of sex attributed to the immortal gods: I ask of each man whether he himself believes in his own mind, and persuades himself that the race of the gods is so distinguished that they are male and female, and have been formed with members arranged suitably for the begetting of young?

But if the laws of the sacrifices enjoin that like sexes should be sacrificed to like, that is, female victims to the female gods, male victims, on the contrary, to the male gods, what relation is there in the colours, so that it is right and fitting that to these white, to those dark, even the blackest victims are slain? Because, says my opponent, to the gods above, and those who have power to give favourable omens,48574857    Lit., “prevailing with favourableness of omens,” ominum, for which the ms. and first four edd. read h-—“of men.” the cheerful colour is acceptable and propitious from the pleasant appearance of pure white; while, on the contrary, to the sinister deities, and those who inhabit the infernal seats, a dusky colour is more pleasing, and one tinged with gloomy hues. But if, again, the reasoning holds good, that the infernal regions are an utterly vain and empty name,48584858    That Arnobius had good reason to appeal to this scepticism as a fact, is evident from the lines of Juvenal (ii. 149–152): “Not even children believe that there are any Manes and subterranean realms.” and that underneath the earth there are no Plutonian realms and abodes, this, too, must nullify your ideas about black cattle and gods under the ground. Because, if there are no infernal regions, of necessity there are no dii Manium also. For how is it possible that, while there are no regions, there should be said to be any who inhabit them?


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