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33. But the games which you celebrate, called Floralia and Megalensia,49264926 The former dedicated to Flora (cf. iii. 25), the latter to Cybele. and all the rest which you wish to be sacred, and to be considered religious duties, what reason have they, what cause, that it was necessary that they should be instituted and founded and designated by the names49274927 Singular. of deities? The gods are honoured by these, says my opponent; and if they have any recollection of offences committed49284928 So the margin of Ursinus, Elm., LB., Orelli, Hild., and Oehler; the ms. reading not being known. by men, they lay it aside, get rid of it, and show themselves gracious to us again, their friendship being renewed. And what is the cause, again, that they are made quite calm and gentle, if absurd things are done, and idle fellows sport before the eyes of the multitude? Does Jupiter lay aside his resentment if the Amphitryon of Plautus is acted and declaimed? or if Europa, Leda, Ganymede, or Danæ is represented by dancing does he restrain his passionate impulses? Is the Great Mother rendered more calm, more gentle, if she beholds the old story of Attis furbished up by the players? Will Venus forget her displeasure if she sees mimics act the part of Adonis also in a ballet?49294929 Lit., “in dancing motions.” Does the anger of Alcides die away if the tragedy of Sophocles named Trachiniæ, or the Hercules of Euripides, is acted? or does Flora think49304930 So Meursius, Orelli, and Oehler, reading existimat-ve, all the others retaining the ms. -ur-—“Is Flora thought to be treated,” etc. that honour is shown to her if at her games she sees that shameful actions are done, and the stews abandoned for the theatres? Is not this, then, to lessen the dignity of the gods, to dedicate and consecrate to them the basest things which a rigidly virtuous mind will turn from with disgust, the performers of which your law has decided to be dishonoured and to be considered infamous? The gods, forsooth, delight in mimics; and that surpassing excellence which has not been comprehended by any human faculty, opens49314931 Lit., “adapts.” its ears most willingly to hear these plays, with most of which they know they are mixed up to be turned to derision; they are delighted, as it is, with the shaved heads of the fools, by the sound of flaps, and by the noise of applause, by shameful actions and words, by huge red fascina. But further, if they see men weakening themselves to the effeminacy of women, some vociferating uselessly, others running about without cause,49324932 Here also there is doubt as to what the reading of the ms. is. The 1st ed. reads sine culpa—“without blame,” which is hardly in keeping with the context, emended causa, as above, by Gelenius. others, while their friendship is unbroken, bruising and maiming each with the bloody cestus, these contending in speaking without drawing breath,49334933 So Orelli explains certare hos spiritu as referring to a contest in which each strove to speak or sing with one breath longer than the rest. swelling out their cheeks with wind, and shouting out noisily empty vows, do they lift up their hands to heaven in their admiration, start up moved by such wonders, burst into exclamations, again become gracious to men? If these things cause the gods to forget their resentment, if they derive the highest pleasure from comedies, Atellane farces, and pantomimes, why do you delay, why do you hesitate, to say that the gods themselves also play, act lasciviously, dance, compose obscene songs, and undulate with trembling haunches? 532For what difference is there, or what does it matter, whether they do these things themselves, or are pleased and delighted to see them done by others?
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