Thursday, February 27, 2014


How to Praise the Gods

Quintilian 3.7.7-8 (tr. Donald A. Russell):
With gods, in general, the first thing will be to show veneration of the majesty of their nature; next to expound the power of each and discoveries of his which have benefited humanity. "Power" will be displayed: for example, in Jupiter, the power of universal rule; in Mars, the power of war; and in Neptune, control of the sea. Inventions will be shown too: the arts for Minerva, letters for Mercury, medicine for Apollo, crops for Ceres, wine for Bacchus. Next we must mention any exploits of theirs known to history. Even gods derive honour from parents—a son of Jupiter for example—and from age—for example, those descended from Chaos—and also from their offspring: Apollo and Diana do credit to Latona.

verum in deis generaliter primum maiestatem ipsius eorum naturae venerabimur, deinde proprie vim cuiusque et inventa quae utile aliquid hominibus attulerint. vis ostendetur, ut in Iove regendorum omnium, in Marte belli, in Neptuno maris: inventa, ut artium in Minerva, Mercurio litterarum, medicinae Apolline, Cerere frugum, Libero vini. tum si qua ab iis acta vetustas tradidit, commemoranda. addunt etiam dis honorem parentes, ut si quis sit filius Iovis, addit antiquitas, ut iis qui sunt ex Chao, progenies quoque, ut Apollo ac Diana Latonae.

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