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Bill Thayer

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Cicero on Divination

Synopsis: He doesn't believe in it.

The de Divinatione appeals more to our sense of reasonableness than to reason: its refutation of the various superstitions involved makes for pleasant reading, but humor and loose captiousness are hardly proofs, and the main interest of the work is in the details he winds up furnishing about the odd practices he makes fun of.

I'll probably also put the Latin onsite at some point, but not urgently: it's already online at Latin Library. Details on the technical aspects of the layout of my own site follow the Table of Contents.

Liber I

Liber II

Edition Used, Copyright

Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, vol. XX, 1923; Latin text with facing English translation by W[illiam] A[rmistead] Falconer. It is in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code. Copyright has lapsed because it expired in 1951 and it was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)


As usual, I've retyped the text rather than scanning it: not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

The transcription has been minutely proofread. The table of contents above is therefore shown on blue backgrounds indicating that I believe the text of it to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.

Chapter and Section Numbering, Local Links

Both chapters (large numbers) and sections (small numbers) mark local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage.

Wherever I have both the original text and the translation onsite: in the Latin text, each American flag [American flag] is a link to the corresponding section of the English translation, opening in another window; in the English text, each Vatican flag [Flag of the Vatican] is a link to the corresponding section of the Latin text, opening in another window.

Notes, Apparatus Criticus

The notes in the translation are included here; and although on the Latin side, the Loeb edition provides no comprehensive apparatus criticus, it occasionally marks a variant or a crux: I'll be including these as well.

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Site updated: 28 May 16