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This is the first English commentary on Cicero's On Divination Book I that is fully accessible to the reader who knows no Latin or Greek. Cicero's philosophical dialogue is the most detailed and essentially complete work in Latin on divination, encompassing a wide range of mythological and historical examples of divinatory practice and presenting Stoic arguments for the validity of divination and Academic arguments against it. After an introduction to the general phenomenon of divination in Graeco-Roman culture, Cicero provides in Book I a rich and complex argument for divination, placed in the mouth of his brother Quintus. This preserves most of the evidence we have for the arguments mounted by Posidonius and Cratippus on a subject hotly contested in ancient philosophy. In recent years there has been renewed interest in Cicero's work as a piece of philosophical argument and intercultural communication illuminating the intellectual and religious life of the Late Republic. Quintus attempts to make the Greek alignments relevant to the Roman context, providing invaluable evidence about Roman elite attitudes to, and practices within, the Roman state religion.
David Wardle provides a new translation, an introduction, and a full commentary. The introduction explores Cicero's treatment of divination in all his works, his purpose in writing On Divination, his use of philosophical sources, and the context inwhich the work was written. The fully documented commentary pays attention to the development of the philosophical argument and construction of the work, and to the historical, historiographical, and religious aspects of the examples used by Quintus.
About the Author:
David Wardle is Professor of Classics and Ancient History, University of Cape Town