DE NATURADEORUM. INTRODUCTION. SuBJECT.—In De Natura Deorum Cicero put before. Roman readers the theological views of the three schools. Fdbricatio hominis a Cicerone libro secundo de Natura Deorum descripta cum annotationibus Alberti Novicampiani Cracoviae. (In the British Museum. De natura deorum: Marco Tullio Cicerone ; commento di Carlo Giambelli. Front Cover. Marcus Tullius Cicero. Loescher, – pages.

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All the same you never cease vociferating that we must on no account relinquish the divine happiness and immortality. Yet if he had not heard from him these doctrines of Democritus, what had he heard? Happiness is admittedly deogum without virtue.

Cicero’s conclusions are ambivalent and muted, “a strategy of civilized openness”; [6] he does, however, conclude that Balbus’ claims, in his mind, more nearly approximate the truth 3.

Why then do you believe in his existence? Therefore he is devoid of virtue. For what can be better or more excellent than kindness and beneficence? Xe third reason you advance is that no other shape is capable of being the abode of intelligence. Hide browse bar Your current position in the text is marked in blue.

Terrors that do not very seriously alarm ordinary people, according to Epicurus haunt the minds of all mortal men: This work, although not written by an orthodox Epicurean or Stoic, is important because it supplements the scant primary texts that remain from Epicureans and Stoics discussing their views on religion and theology.

M. Tullio Cicerone: De Natura Deorum : Liber primus

If we base our friendship on its profit to ourselves, and not on its advantage to those whom we love, it will not be friendship at all, but a mere bartering of selfish interests. What are we to say about the men guilty of sacrilege or impiety or perjury? For while asserting the supreme goodness and excellence of the divine nature, he yet denies to god the attribute hatura benevolence — that is to say, he does away with that which is the most essential element of supreme goodness and excellence.


Still, the question is, like what man? If this is dorum secure him immortality, what have these members to do with life?

In regard to all of them dsorum make great play with the lawless domination of the atoms; from these you construct and create everything that comes upon the ground, 28 as he says. The elephant is the wisest of beasts, but the most ungainly in shape.

Now what could be stupider than that? Among these you will find a belief in certain animals more firmly established than is reverence for the holiest sanctuaries and images of the gods with us. You say that there is an innumerable supply of atoms. Because, given five fingers, there is no need of another either for appearance or for use. Of course you do not. Yet not even the most diligent investigators could possibly collect information about all the vast multitude of creatures that exist on land and in the sea, the marshes and the rivers: Yet what is the meaning of an animate being that pays no heed to anything?

The five planets, holding the same orbit, but some nearer to and others farther from the earth, from the same starting-points complete the same distances in different periods of time.

How like us is that ugly brute, the ape! The sun, limiting his motion by the two extreme points of one orbit, completes his courses yearly. You assumed that the gods are happy: These notions moreover have been fostered by poets, painters and artificers, who found it difficult to represent living and active deities in the likeness of any other shape than that of man.


M. Tullius Cicero, de Natura Deorum, LIBER PRIMUS, section 1

What a nuisance it is to have a single finger too many! But they are not so known to the Egyptians or Syrians, or any almost of the uncivilized deotum.

For how can be more improbable than that images of Homer, Archilochus, Romulus, Numa, Pythagoras and Plato should impinge on me at all — much less that they should do so in the actual shape that those men really bore? Who do you suppose will grant you this? Arcesilas used to attack Zeno because, whereas he himself said that all sense-presentations are false, Zeno said that some were false, but not all. There is a constant passage or stream of visual presentations which collectively produce a single visual impression.

Even the Egyptians, whom we laugh at, deified animals solely on the score of some utility which they derived from them; for instance, the ibis, being a tall bird with stiff legs and a long horny beak, destroys a great quantity of snakes: We ought not to say that the gods have human form, but that our form is divine.

The first book of the dialogue contains Cicero’s introduction, Velleius’ case for the Epicurean theology and Cotta’s criticism of Epicureanism.