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39.49574957    36 in Orelli. [See note 1, Appendix, p. 539, infra.] We have come, then, in speaking, to the very point of the case, to that on which the question hinges, to the real and most intimate part of the discussion, which it is fitting that, laying aside superstitious dread, and putting away partiality, we should examine whether these are gods whom you assert to be furious when offended, and to be rendered mild by sacrifices; 534or whether they are something far different, and should be separated from the notion of this name and power. For we do not deny that all these things are to be found in the writings of the annalists which have been brought forward by you in opposition; for we ourselves also, according to the measure and capacity of our abilities, have read, and know, that it has been recorded that once at the ludi circenses, celebrated in honour of Jupiter the supreme, a master dragged across the middle of the arena, and afterwards, according to custom, punished with the cross, a very worthless slave whom he had beaten with rods. Then, when the games were ended, and the races not long finished, a pestilence began to distress the state; and when each day brought fresh ill worse than what was before,49584958    Lit., “added evil heavier than evil.” and the people were perishing in crowds, in a dream Jupiter said to a certain rustic, obscure from the lowliness of his lot, that he should go49594959    So later edd., reading vaderet from the margin of Ursinus, while the first three retain the ms. reading suaderet—“persuade.” to the consuls, point out that the dancer49604960    i.e., the slave writhing under the scourge. had displeased him, that it might be better for the state if the respect due to the games were paid to them, and they were again celebrated afresh with assiduous care. And when he had utterly neglected to do this, either because he supposed it was an empty dream, and would find no credence with those to whom he should tell it, or because, remembering his natural insignificance, he avoided and dreaded approaching those who were so powerful,49614961    Lit., “of so great power.” Jupiter was rendered hostile to the lingerer, and imposed as punishment on him the death of his sons. Afterwards, when he49624962    i.e., Jupiter. threatened the man himself with death unless he went to announce his disapproval of the dancer,—overcome by fear of dying, since he was already himself also burning with the fever of the plague, having been infected, he was carried to the senate-house, as his neighbours wished, and, when his vision had been declared, the contagious fever passed away. The repetition of the games being then decreed, great care was, on the one hand, given to the shows, and its former good health was restored to the people.

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