A War of Deliberation

Montesquieu, Dissertation on Politics in Roman Religion (Part 14)

The Romans had this advantage, that they had as a legislator the most sage prince that profane history has ever spoken of. This great man sought nothing in his entire reign but that justice and equity should flourish, and he made it so that his moderation was felt no less by his neighbors than by his subjects. He established the Fetials, who were priests without whose ministry the Romans could make neither peace nor war. In the peace which Rome concluded with Alba Longa, a Fetial says in Livy, ‘If the Roman people be the first to depart from this treaty, whether from the public counsel or an evil trick, it prays that Jupiter will strike it just as it will strike the pig which it holds in its hands.’ And the priest straightaway slaughtered the pig with the strike of a stone.

Before beginning a war, the Romans sent one of these Fetials to make their complaints to the people who had inflicted some injury on the Republic. He gave them some time for consultation and for looking for the means of reestablishing good terms; but if they neglected this accommodation, the Fetial turned around and departed from this unjust people after having invoked against them both the celestial and the infernal gods. At that time, the senate ordained that which it believed just and pious. Thus, wars were never undertaken in haste, and they could not occur except as a sequel to a long and mature deliberation.

Les Romains avaient cet avantage, qu’ils avaient pour législateur le plus sage prince dont l’histoire profane ait jamais parlé: ce grand homme ne chercha pendant tout son règne qu’à faire fleurir la justice et l’équité, et il ne fit pas moins sentir sa modération à ses voisins qu’à ses sujets. Il établit les fécialiens, qui étaient des prêtres sans le ministère desquels on ne pouvait faire ni la paix ni la guerre. Nous avons encore des formulaires de serments faits par ces fécialiens quand on concluait la paix avec quelque peuple. Dans celle que Rome conclut avec Albe, un fécialien dit dans Tite-Live: « Si le peuple romain est le premier à s’en départir, publico consilio dolove malo, qu’il prie Jupiter de le frapper comme il va frapper le cochon qu’il tenait dans ses mains ; » et aussitôt il l’abattit d’un coup de caillou.

Avant de commencer la guerre, on envoyait un de ces fécialiens faire ses plaintes au peuple qui avait porté quelque dommage à la république. Il lui donnait un certain temps pour se consulter, et pour chercher les moyens de rétablir la bonne intelligence ; mais, si on négligeait de faire l’accommodement, le fécialien s’en retournait et sortait des terres de ce peuple injuste, après avoir invoqué contre lui les dieux célestes et ceux des enfers : pour lors le sénat ordonnait ce qu’il croyait juste et pieux. Ainsi les guerres ne s’entreprenaient jamais à la hâte, et elles ne pouvaient être qu’une suite d’une longue et mûre délibération.

Roman Royal Remnants

Montesquieu, Dissertation on Politics in Roman Religion (Part 13)

The duumvirs had the direction of sacred affairs: the quindecemvirs had the care of the religious ceremonies and preserved the Sibylline Books, which the decemvirs and the duumvirs did before them. The consulted the oracles when the senate ordered it, and they made reports on them, adding their opinions. They were also commissioned to perform what was prescribed in the Sibylline Books, and to make sure that the Secular Games were celebrated, so that all religious ceremonies passed through the hands of the magistrates.

The kings of Rome had a sort of priesthood: there were certain ceremonies which could not be performed except by them. When the Tarquins were expelled, it was feared that the people might perceive some change in the religion. So there was established a magistrate called the rex sacrorum, who performed the functions of the ancient kings in sacrifices, and whose wife was called the regina sacrorum. This was the only vestige of royalty which the Romans preserved among them.

Botticelli, The Story of Lucretia

Les duumvirs avaient la direction des choses sacrées ; les quindécemvirs avaient soin des cérémonies de la religion, gardaient les livres des sibylles ; ce que faisaient auparavant les décemvirs et les duumvirs. Ils consultaient les oracles lorsque le sénat l’avait ordonné, et en faisaient le rapport, y ajoutant leur avis ; ils étaient aussi commis pour exécuter tout ce qui était prescrit dans les livres des sibylles, et pour faire célébrer les jeux séculaires : de manière que toutes les cérémonies religieuses passaient par les mains des magistrats.

Les rois de Rome avaient une espèce de sacerdoce : il y avait de certaines cérémonies qui ne pouvaient être faites que par eux. Lorsque les Tarquins furent chassés, on craignait que le peuple ne s’aperçût de quelque changement dans la religion ; cela fit établir un magistrat appelé rex sacrorum, qui, dans les sacrifices, faisait les fonctions des anciens rois, et dont la femme était appelée regina sacrorum. Ce fut le seul vestige de royauté que les Romains conservèrent parmi eux.

The Old Debate on Church & State

Montesquieu, Dissertation on Politics in Roman Religion (Part 12)

Among the Egyptians, the priests formed a separate body, which was maintained at the public expense. From this sprang many disadvantages. All of the riches of the state were found to be swallowed up in a society of people who, always receiving and never providing, insensibly drew everything to themselves. The priests of Egypt, being thus likely to do nothing, all languished in an idleness from which they never departed except with the vices which it produced. They were disorganized, disturbed, and excessively forward; these qualities made them extremely dangerous. Finally, a body whose interests were violently separated from those of the state was a monster. And those who established it tossed into society the seed of discord and civil wars. It was not the same in Rome, where the priesthood had a civil charge. The dignities of the augurs, of the pontifex Maximus, were those of magistracies; those who took them on were members of the senate, and as a consequence, they did not have interests differing from those of the senatorial body. Far from preserving the superstition for oppressing the republic, they employed it usefully to sustain it. ‘In our city,’ says Cicero, ‘the kings and the magistrates who succeeded them have always had a double character, and have governed the state under the auspices of religion.’

Chez les Égyptiens, les prêtres faisaient un corps à part, qui était entretenu aux dépens du public ; de là naissaient plusieurs inconvénients : toutes les richesses de l’État se trouvaient englouties dans une société de gens qui, recevant toujours et ne rendant jamais, attiraient insensiblement tout à eux. Les prêtres d’Égypte, ainsi gagés pour ne rien faire, languissaient tous dans une oisiveté dont ils ne sortaient qu’avec les vices qu’elle produit : ils étaient brouillons, inquiets, entreprenants ; et ces qualités les rendaient extrêmement dangereux. Enfin, un corps dont les intérêts avaient été violemment séparés de ceux de l’État était un monstre ; et ceux qui l’avaient établi avaient jeté dans la société une semence de discorde et de guerres civiles. Il n’en était pas de même à Rome : on y avait fait de la prêtrise une charge civile ; les dignités d’augure, de grand pontife, étaient des magistratures : ceux qui en étaient revêtus étaient membres du sénat, et par conséquent n’avaient pas des intérêts différents de ceux de ce corps. Bien loin de se servir de la superstition pour opprimer la république, ils l’employaient utilement à la soutenir. « Dans notre ville, dit Cicéron, les rois et les magistrats qui leur ont succédé ont toujours eu un double caractère, et ont gouverné l’État sous les auspices de la religion. »

Notes on Roman Ignorance

It is true that the Egyptian religion was always proscribed in Rome. That is because it was intolerant, and wanted to reign alone while establishing itself among the ruins of the others, in the way that the spirit of mildness and peace which ruled among the Romans was the real cause of the war which they made without a break. The senate decreed that the temples of the Egyptian divinities be torn down, and Valerius Maximus reports on this subject that Aemilius Paulus delivered the first blows, in order to encourage by his own example the working classes thunderstruck by superstitious fear.

But the priests of Serapis and Isis had in turn more zeal for establishing these ceremonies which were not held in Rome due to their proscription. Although Augustus, according to Dio, defended their practice in Rome, Agrippa, who governed the city in his absence, was obliged to defend it a second time. One can see in Tacitus and Suetonius the frequent stops which the senate was obliged to make to ban this worship from Rome.

It is necessary to note that the Romans confounded the Jews with the Egyptians, as we know that they confused the Christians with the Jews. These two religions were long regarded as two offshoots of the first, and took part with it in the hate, the contempt, and the persecution of the Romans. The same stops which abolished from Rome the Egyptian ceremonies always set the Jewish ceremonies with them, as it appears from Tacitus and Suetonius in the lives of Tiberius and Claudius. It is also clear that the historians never distinguished the worship of the Christians from that of the others. They had not come away from their error from the time of Hadrian, as it appears from a letter which that emperor wrote from Egypt to the consul Servianus: ‘All those who worship Serapis in Egypt are Christians, and all those who are called bishops are likewise attached to the worship of Serapis. There is no Jew, no prince of the synagogue, no samaritan, no priest of the Christians, no mathematician, no divine, no bather, who does not worship Serapis. The patriarch of the Jews himself worships Serapis and Christ with no distinction. These people have no other god than Serapis – that is, the God of the Christians, the Jews, and all people.’ Could one have any more confused ideas about these three religions, or could one mix them up more rudely?

Il est vrai que la religion égyptienne fut toujours proscrite à Rome : c’est qu’elle était intolérante, qu’elle voulait régner seule, et s’établir sur les débris des autres ; de manière que l’esprit de douceur et de paix qui régnait chez les Romains fut la véritable cause de la guerre qu’ils lui firent sans relâche. Le sénat ordonna d’abattre les temples des divinités égyptiennes ; et Valère Maxime rapporte, à ce sujet, qu’Émilius Paulus donna les premiers coups, afin d’encourager par son exemple les ouvriers frappés d’une crainte superstitieuse.

Mais les prêtres de Sérapis et d’Isis avaient encore plus de zèle pour établir ces cérémonies qu’on n’en avait à Rome pour les proscrire. Quoique Auguste, au rapport de Dion, en eût défendu l’exercice dans Rome, Agrippa, qui commandait dans la ville en son absence, fut obligé de le défendre une seconde fois. On peut voir, dans Tacite et dans Suétone, les fréquents arrêts que le sénat fut obligé de rendre pour bannir ce culte de Rome.

Il faut remarquer que les Romains confondirent les Juifs avec les Égyptiens, comme on sait qu’ils confondirent les chrétiens avec les juifs : ces deux religions furent longtemps regardées comme deux branches de la première, et partagèrent avec elle la haine, le mépris et la persécution des Romains. Les mêmes arrêts qui abolirent à Rome les cérémonies égyptiennes mettent toujours les cérémonies juives avec celles-ci, comme il parait par Tacite et par Suétone, dans les vies de Tibère et de Claude. Il est encore plus clair que les historiens n’ont jamais distingué le culte des chrétiens d’avec les autres. On n’était pas même revenu de cette erreur du temps d’Adrien comme il paraît par une lettre que cet empereur écrivit d’Égypte au consul Servianus: « Tous ceux qui, en Égypte, adorent Sérapis, sont chrétiens, et ceux même qu’on appelle évêques sont attachés au culte de Sérapis. Il n’y a point de juif, de prince de synagogue, de samaritain, de prêtre des chrétiens, de mathématicien, de devin, de baigneur, qui n’adore Sérapis. Le patriarche même des juifs adore indifféremment Sérapis et le Christ. Ces gens n’ont d’autre dieu que Sérapis ; c’est le dieu des chrétiens, des juifs et de tous les peuples. » Peut-on avoir des idées plus confuses de ces trois religions, et les confondre plus grossièrement ?

Mind Bending Poetry

Cristoforo Landino, Preface to Vergil in a Florentine Gymnasium (Part 5)

But, in order to finally return from such distant regions to Italy and Latium specifically, we should in no way think, my lords, that before Livy who (as Cicero has it) in the 410th year after the foundation of the republic first published the story that there was no poet among the Latins, when Marcus Cato in his Origins wrote that it was the most ancient custom for the notable deeds of excellent men to be sung to the tibia at dinner parties. Livy however, the truest historian of all, related that song was established in sacred ceremonies by Numa Pompilius. But I think that it has now been demonstrated by the most obvious arguments that there was no type of writers by which the poets were surpassed in antiquity.

But now, lest anything which we proposed be omitted, consider in the briefest account how much utility and pleasantness they offer both publicly and privately. But, since amidst such an abundance of material it is far more difficult to find the end than the beginning, I cannot find what I should say first, and what later. But in order to begin from that eloquence by whose strength nearly everything is ruled and which is rightly called “mind-bending”, who could be found with such a dull mind, that he doesn’t see how much spirit, how much splendor, how much dignity the poet offers to the orator? Who is ignorant of how sublime they are in the greatest matters, how moderated in the middling ones, how elegant in trifles? Let their exordia be attended to, let their narrations be read, their divisions be numbered, let their affirmations and refutations be weighed out carefully, and finally let their conclusions and epilogues not be passed over: you will understand, surely, that nothing could be found more accommodated to fostering good will, nothing more brief or clear for the purpose of narrating, nothing more indissoluble for division, nothing weightier in proof nor more forceful in refutation, nothing finally more abundant or ornate for delivering a conclusion. But all of these things pertain to oratorical arguments. Who handled philosophy itself more splendidly? Not only do poets select diverse passages from it and adorn them with a certain wondrous sweetness, but they even encompassed the whole business most totally, as we see among the Greeks Pittacus of Mytilene, Xenophanes, Parmenides, Empedocles, and many others from the family of the Pythagoreans; and among the Latins Lucretius, and Marcus Varro, whom Jerome called the most learned of all the Romans.

Sed ut quandoque ex tam longinquis regionibus in Italiam Latiumque redeamus, nullo pacto existimandum est, domini viri, ante Livium illum qui, ut est apud Ciceronem, decimo et quadringentesimo post conditam urbem anno primus fabulam edidit, nullum apud Latinos poetam fuisse, cum M. Cato in suis Originibus scriptum reliquerit vetustissimam fuisse consuetudinem, ut in conviviis egregia excellentium virorum facta ad tibiam canerentur. Livius autem, historicus omnium verissimus, a Numa Pompilio carmen in sacris cerimoniis institutum refert. Sed iam nullum esse scriptorum genus, a quo poetae antiquitate superentur, manifestissimis argumentationibus demonstratum esse arbitror.

Nunc vero, ne quid ex iis quae a nobis proposita sunt omittatur, quantum illi utilitatis, quantum etiam iocunditatis publice privatimque afferant, brevissimis accipite. Verum, quoniam in tanta rerum copia multo difficilius est finem quam initium invenire, quid prius, quid posterius dicam non reperio. Sed ut ab ea, cuius vi pene omnia reguntur quaeque iure «flexianima» appellata est, eloquentia exordiar, quis adeo hebeti erit ingenio, ut quantum spiritus, quantum splendoris, quantum dignitatis oratori poeta afferat non viderit? Quis quantum illi in maximis rebus sublimes, in mediocribus temperati, in humilibus elegantes sint ignoraverit? Attendantur exordia, legantur narrationes, enumerentur divisiones, pendantur diligentius confirmationes et confutationes, denique conclusiones epilogique non praetereantur: intelligetis profecto neque ad captandam benivolentiam accomodatius neque ad narrandum brevius et apertius neque ad dividendum absolutius neque ad confirmandum gravius neque ad confutandum vehementius neque postremo ad concludendum copiosius ornatiusque quicquam inveniri. Sed haec ad oratorias argumentationes pertinent. Philosophiam vero ipsam quis splendidius tractavit? Neque enim solum diversos ex ea locos decerpunt atque mira quadam suavitate condiunt poetae, verum etiam totam rem absolutissime perscripserunt, quemadmodum apud Graecos Pittacum Mytilenaeum, Xenophanem, Parmenidem, Empedoclem et plerosque alios ex Pythagoreorum familia, apud vero Latinos Lucretium et quem Romanorum omnium doctissimum Hieronymus appellavit M. Varronem videmus.

The Greeks Ruined Everything

Montesquieu, Dissertation on Politics in Roman Religion (Part 10)

As the belief about the soul of the world was nearly universally received, and they saw each part of the universe as a living member in which this soul was spread, it appeared that it was permitted to adore all of these parts indifferently, and that worship should be as arbitrary as belief was.

And there is where sprang forth this spirit of tolerance and mildness which reigned in the pagan world. People did not need to guard themselves from persecution and to tear apart these or the other. All religions, all theologies were equally good: heresies, wars, and religious disputes were unknown. As long as one went to worship at a temple, each citizen was the grand pontiff in their own family. The Romans were in turn more tolerant than the Greeks, who always spoiled everything: everyone knows the unfortunate fate of Socrates.

Comme le dogme de l’âme du monde était presque universellement reçu, et que l’on regardait chaque partie de l’univers comme un membre vivant dans lequel cette âme était répandue, il semblait qu’il était permis d’adorer indifféremment toutes ces parties, et que le culte devait être arbitraire comme était le dogme.
Voilà d’où était né cet esprit de tolérance et de douceur qui régnait dans le monde païen : on n’avait garde de se persécuter et de se déchirer les uns les autres ; toutes les religions, toutes les théologies, y étaient également bonnes : les hérésies, les guerres et les disputes de religion y étaient inconnues ; pourvu qu’on allât adorer au temple, chaque citoyen était grand pontife dans sa famille.
Les Romains étaient encore plus tolérants que les Grecs, qui ont toujours gâté tout: chacun sait la malheureuse destinée de Socrate.

Gods for Magistrates

Montesquieu, Dissertation on Politics in Roman Religion (Part 9)

Although they magistrates may not have slipped into the religion of the people, it is not necessary to believe that they did not have one at all. M. Cudworth has well proven that those who were most enlightened among the pagans adored one supreme divinity, of which the divinities of the people only participated. The pagans, much less scrupulous in their cult practices, believed that it made no difference whether one adored the divinity itself or its manifestations – whether, for example, one adored in Venus the passive force of nature or the supreme divinity, in as much as she was responsible for all generation; whether one made a cult for the sun, or for the supreme being, in as much as he gave life to the plants and made the earth fertile through his heat. Thus the Stoic Balbus says, in Cicero, ‘that God participates, through his nature, in all those things down below: that he is Ceres on the ground, Neptune on the seas.’ We would know more if we had the book which Asclepiades composed, titled ‘The Concordance of all Theologies.’

Quoique les magistrats ne donnassent pas dans la religion du peuple, il ne faut pas croire qu’ils n’en eussent point. M. Cudworth a fort bien prouvé que ceux qui étaient éclairés parmi les païens adoraient une divinité suprême, dont les divinités du peuple n’étaient qu’une participation. Les païens, très-peu scrupuleux dans le culte, croyaient qu’il était indifférent d’adorer la divinité même, ou les manifestations de la divinité ; d’adorer, par exemple, dans Vénus, la puissance passive de la nature, ou la divinité suprême, en tant qu’elle est susceptible de toute génération ; de rendre un culte au soleil, ou à l’Être suprême, en tant qu’il anime les plantes et rend la terre féconde par sa chaleur. Ainsi le stoïcien Balbus dit, dans Cicéron, « que Dieu participe, par sa nature, à toutes les choses d’ici-bas ; qu’il est Cérès sur la terre, Neptune sur les mers ». Nous en saurions davantage si nous avions le livre qu’Asclépiade composa, intitulé l’Harmonie de toutes les théologies.

Hip to be Hypocritical

Montesquieu, Dissertation on Politics in Roman Religion (Part 8)

Those who read Roman history and are in the least perceptive find at every step the traits of the political system which we’re talking about. So, in particular, we see Cicero who even among his friends makes every moment a confession of his disbelief, but speaks in public with an extraordinary zeal against the impiety of Verres. We see Clodius, who insolently profaned the mysteries of Bona Sea, and whose impiety had been marked out by interruptions of the senate, made a harangue filled with the same zeal for that same senate which he struck against the disregard for ancient practices and religion. One sees Sallust, the most corrupt of all citizens, setting at the head of his works a preface worthy of the gravity and austerity of Cato. I would never finish if I wished to produce all the examples of this.

Ceux qui lisent l’histoire romaine, et qui sont un peu clairvoyants, trouvent à chaque pas des traits de la politique dont nous parlons. Ainsi on voit Cicéron qui, en particulier, et parmi ses amis, fait à chaque moment une confession d’incrédulité, parler en public avec un zèle extraordinaire contre l’impiété de Verrès. On voit un Clodius, qui avait insolemment profané les mystères de la bonne déesse, et dont l’impiété avait été marquée par vingt arrêts du sénat, faire lui-même une harangue remplie de zèle à ce sénat qui l’avait foudroyé, contre le mépris des pratiques anciennes et de la religion. On voit un Salluste, le plus corrompu de tous les citoyens, mettre à la tête de ses ouvrages une préface digne de la gravité et de l’austérité de Caton. Je n’aurais jamais fait, si je voulais épuiser tous les exemples.

Deceit Essential to Statecraft

Montesquieu, Dissertation on Politics in Roman Religion (Part 7)

It is true that the Romans occasionally punished a general for not following the guidance of the omens; and this too was a new effect of Roman politics. They did not want it to seem to the people that misfortune, captured cities, or lost battles were the effect of a bad condition of the state or of the weakness of the Republic; they preferred that it seem rather the impiety of one citizen, against whom the gods were angered. With this persuasion, it was not difficult to gain the trust of the people. To achieve this, there was no need for ceremonies or sacrifices. Thus, whenever the city was menaced or afflicted by some misfortune, they did not fail to look for the cause, which was always the anger of some god whose cultivation they had neglected. It sufficed, in order to regain their goodwill, to make some sacrifices and some processions, to purify the city with torches, sulphur, and salted water. It was necessary for the victim to tour the ramparts before being slaughtered, and this practice was called the sacrificium amburbium and the amburbiale. They sometimes purified their armies and their fleets, after which they recovered some courage.

Scaevola, the pontifex Maximus, and Varro, one of their great theologians, said that it was necessary for the people to be ignorant of many true things, and to believe many false ones. Saint Augustine said that Varro had discovered in this the secret of politics and of ministers of the state.
This same Scaevola, according to Augustine, divided the gods into three classes: those who were established by the poets, those who were established by the philosophers, and those who were established by the magistrates, a principibus civitatis.

Il est vrai qu’on punissait quelquefois un général de n’avoir pas suivi les présages; et cela même était un nouvel effet de la politique des Romains. On voulait faire voir au peuple que les mauvais succès, les villes prises, les batailles perdues, n’étaient point l’effet d’une mauvaise constitution de l’État, ou de la faiblesse de la république, mais de l’impiété d’un citoyen, contre lequel les dieux étaient irrités. Avec cette persuasion, il n’était pas difficile de rendre la confiance au peuple; il ne fallait pour cela que quelques cérémonies et quelques sacrifices. Ainsi, lorsque la ville était menacée ou affligée de quelque malheur, on ne manquait pas d’en chercher la cause, qui était toujours la colère de quelque dieu dont on avait négligé le culte: il suffisait, pour s’en garantir, de faire des sacrifices et des processions, de purifier la ville avec des torches, du soufre et de l’eau salée. On faisait faire à la victime le tour des remparts avant de l’égorger, ce qui s’appelait sacrificium amburbium, et amburbiale. On allait même quelquefois jusqu’à purifier les armées et les flottes, après quoi chacun reprenait courage.

Scévola, grand pontife, et Varron, un de leurs grands théologiens, disaient qu’il était nécessaire que le peuple ignorât beaucoup de choses vraies, et en crût beaucoup de fausses: saint Augustin dit que Varron avait découvert par là tout le secret des politiques et des ministres d’État.

Le même Scévola, au rapport de saint Augustin, divisait les dieux en trois classes: ceux qui avaient été établis par les poëtes, ceux qui avaient été établis par les philosophes, et ceux qui avaient été établis par les magistrats, à principibus civitatis.

Ultra-Ancient Poetic Authority

Cristoforo Landino, Preface to Vergil in a Florentine Gymnasium (Part 4)

But why should I go on about the Greeks when, among the Hebrews, the most ancient people of all (as they themselves have it and we acknowledge as true), their king David wrote the poems which they call Psalms? Nor should we deny that he is to be numbered among the ancients, since indeed he lived while Codrus ruled in Athens, more than four hundred years before the founding of Rome. Indeed, it is even agreed that both Deuteronomy and Isaiah are the products of his son Solomon – Josephus and Origen, the most serious authorities, attest to this. Indeed, in earlier times, even Moses, a man most distinguished for both war and learning, who freed the Egyptians from the Ethiopians and the Hebrews from the Egyptians, and who, since he was the first (according to the Greek author Eupolemus) to have discovered letters, was called Hermes Trismegistus by the Egyptians; Moses, I say, was hardly an ignoble poet, as is evident from his writings. He was a man so ancient that, when in his eightieth year he lead the Hebrews from captivity, Cecrops was ruling in Athens, and all of the wonderful things which are related by the Greeks of their own history happened after Cecrops. But even before Moses there was Job of Edom who, as can be gleaned from his own book, lived three ages after Israel, and wrote a consolation of hexameter and pentameter verses.

Sed quid plura de Graecis, cum apud Hebraeos populum, ut ipsi volunt et nos concedimus, omnium antiquissimum, David eorum rex quos Psalmos appellant carmine scripserit? Neque est quod in priscis hunc enumerandum negemus, siquidem, Codro Athenis regnante, supra quadringentos annos ante Romam conditam fuit. Quin, et eius filii Salomonis et Deuteronomii et Isaiae canticum versibus constare et Iosophus et Origenes gravissimi auctores testantur. Verum prioribus saeculis Moyses etiam vir et bello et doctrina praestantissimus, qui et Aegyptios ab Aethiopibus et ab Aegyptiis Hebraeos liberavit quique cum primus, ut ait E<u>pulemus Graecus scriptor, litteras adinvenisset, ab Aegyptiis Mercurius Trimegistus appellatus est; Moyses, inquam, poeta, ut ex eius scriptis apparet, haud ignobilis fuit. Vir adeo priscus ut, cum iam octoginta annos natus Hebraeos ex captivitate deduceret, Cecrops Athenis regnaret: omnia vero quae apud Graecos mira traduntur post Cecropem fuerunt. Sed et ante Moysem Idumaeus Iob qui, ut ex suo libro colligitur, tribus fere aetatibus post Israel fuit, consolationem exametro pentametroque versu scripsit.