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By J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz

This publication, first released in 1979 and out of print given that 1986, surveys non secular attitudes mirrored in Latin literature from the past due Republic to the time of Constantine. Liebeschuetz specializes in the improvement of the Roman public faith, rather the relation among Roman faith and morality.

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The reader of Latin literature feels that fear of divine displeasure was very rarely a motive when a Roman decided on a course of action whether in a public or a private capacity; nor is there much evidence that a divine command was used as an excuse to justify any individual's behaviour retrospectively. If it were not for the descriptions of ritual a reader might conclude that the Romans of the late republic lived in as secular a world as our own. This state of affairs is puzzling. Today religion is expected to be above party politics, and, if it is genuine at all, to have some influence on conduct.

7. 4 Cic. Cat. iii. 9; Div. i. 12 (1722): privately he was more sceptical, ibid. ii. 21 (48). Sall. In Ciceronem, 3 and 7 mocks Cicero's claims. 5 For the personal circumstances see, for instance, E. Rawson (1975). 6 Val. Max. viii. 5. 5. 7 Cic. Dom. 37 (100) ff. Har. Resp. 5 (11) ff. 1 When Cicero was eventually recalled and got back the site of his house, Clodius argued that to restore a house which had once been dedicated was sacrilege, and exploited a widely known portent and its interpretation by the haruspices to support his point.

26. 14); but was sometimes ignored xxv. 16. Frequently haruspices predicted civil strife. No doubt this helped to rally the defenders of civil order and excused more vigorous dealings with troublemakers. (Obseq. 29. App. C. i. 71 (322). Plut. Sull. 7. Cic. Div. i. 44 (99); Har. Resp. ); Div. i. ) 5 In the Roman republic, divination was employed within a limited and welldefined area. It was not used to obtain information which could be gained through the senses, or through arts and sciences like music or medicine, or astronomy, or to establish moral judgements, or to lay down principles of conduct, or discover constitutional arrangements.

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