« Prev Chapter XXX. Next »

30. But, says my opponent, you are insulting us without reason, for we do not pour forth wine to the gods of heaven for these reasons, as if we supposed that they either thirsted, or drank, or were made glad by tasting its sweetness. It is given to them to do them honour; that their eminence may become more exalted, more illustrious, we pour libations on their altars, and with the half-extinguished embers we raise sweet smells,49094909    So LB., Orelli, and Oehler, reading with Salmasius m-u-scos (ms. -i-). Gelenius proposed cnissas, which would refer to the steam of the sacrifices. which show our reverence. And what greater insult can be inflicted upon the gods than if you believe that they become propitious on receiving wine, or, if you suppose that great honour is done to them, if you only throw and drop on the live coals a few drops of wine? We are not speaking to men void of reason, or not possessed of common understanding: in you, too, there is wisdom, there is perception, and in your hearts you know, by your own49104910    Lit., “interior.” judgment, that we are speaking truly. But what can we do with those who are utterly unwilling to consider things as they are, to converse themselves with themselves? For you do what you see to be done, not that which you are assured should be done, inasmuch49114911    So most edd., reading nimirum quia plus valet, for which the ms., followed by both Roman edd., Hild., and Oehler, read primum. q. v., which Hild. would explain “because it prevails above all rather than;” but this is at least very doubtful. as with you a custom without reason prevails, more than a perception of the nature of circumstances based on a careful examination of the truth. For what has a god to do with wine? or what or how great is the power in it, that, on its being poured out, his eminence becomes greater, and his dignity is supposed to be honoured? What, I say, has a god to do with wine, which is most closely connected with the pursuits of Venus, which weakens the strength of all virtues, and is hostile to the decency of modesty and chastity,—which has often excited men’s minds, and urged them to madness and frenzy, and compelled the gods to destroy their own authority by raving and foul language? Is not this, then, impious, and perfectly sacrilegious, to give that as an honour which, if you take too eagerly, you know not what you are doing, you are ignorant of what you are saying, and at last are reviled, and become infamous as a drunkard, a luxurious and abandoned fellow?


« Prev Chapter XXX. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |