Thursday, September 9, 2010


"I wonder that a soothsayer doesn't laugh whenever he sees another soothsayer."
Marcus Tullius Cicero


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  2. Vetus autem illud Catonis admodum scitum est, qui mirari se aiebat, quod non rideret haruspex, haruspicem cum vidisset. De divinatione II, 51

    Cicero was quoting Marcus Porcius Cato

  3. Translation: "Very reknown is that old saw of Cato's, which says he wondered that a soothsayer didn't laugh whenever he saw another soothsayer."

    This is very interesting; because it teaches us that not only the great Cicero felt some irritation concerning superstition, but his skepticism was very common at his time. Common to the point that Cato's dictum 100 years after Cato's death was very reknown.

    Cicero explained his rejection of superstitious creeds in a big book divided in two parts (first the arguments in favour of forcasting practices, then the confutation). He wrote the book in 44 b.Chr (Cato had died in 149 b.Chr.).

    Nevertheless, Cicero was in favour of the practice of soothsaying, because he considered it an institutional rite, balancing and buffering the inner equilibriums of the state and society giving serene solidity to the hold of tradition. A dimension of collective dreaming, which he himself looked at with benevolent irony.

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