CL20Lec19TermPhilosophers - Philosophers in Rome"If we wish...

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Philosophers in Rome “If we wish to compare our people with foreigners, we will find that we are their equals or even at times their inferiors in all matters but one, in this we are far superior: our devotion to the gods, religion” - Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods 2.8 politics and religion service to state (patriotism) and service to gods (piety) indistinguishable virtues examples: Aeneas, Camillus and Augustus Kinds of religious teaching according to M. Terentius Varro, contemporary of Cicero (1) those sung by the poets in traditional myths (2) those thought out by philosophers (3) those devised by leading men in the state “The quality in which the Roman commonwealth is most distinctly superior is in my opinion the nature of their religious convictions. I believe that what maintains the cohesion of the Roman state is the very thing which among other peoples is an object of reproach. I mean here superstition . Superstition is clothed in such pomp and introduced to such an extent into the public and private life of the Romans that nothing could exceed it. My own opinion at least is that they have adopted this course for the sake of the common people. It is a course which perhaps would not have been necessary had it been possible to form a state composed of wise men (i.e. philosophers), but since every multitude is fickle, full of lawless desires, unreasoned passion, and violent anger,
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course CLASSIC 20 taught by Professor Gurval during the Spring '00 term at UCLA.

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CL20Lec19TermPhilosophers - Philosophers in Rome"If we wish...

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