aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Cicero, On Divination 2.115-6

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Cicero is discussing ambiguous oracles, and gives a Latin hexameter version of the Greek hexameter Κροῖσος Ἅλυν διαβὰς μεγάλην ἀρχὴν καταλύσει (which appears in indirect statement at Herodotus 1.53).

nam cum illa sors edita est opulentissumo regi Asiae:

Croesus Halyn penetrans magnam pervertet opum vim

hostium vim se perversurum putavit, pervertit autem suam: utrum igitur eorum accidisset, verum oraclum fuisset.

For when that oracle was given to the most wealthy king of Asia – ‘If Croesus crosses the Halys he will overturn the great power of an empire’ – he thought that he would overturn his enemies’ power, but he overturned his own. Therefore, whichever of these outcomes had happened, the oracle would have been true!

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Cicero

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