Dedicata

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Bene vero quod Mens, Pietas, Virtus, Fides consecrantur, quarum omnium Romae dedicata publice templa sunt, ut illa qui habeant (habent autem omnes boni) deos ipsos in animis suis collocatos putent. nam illud vitiosum Athenis, quod Cylonio scelere expiato, Epimenide Crete suadente, fecerunt Contumeliae fanum et Impudentiae; virtutes enim, non vitia consecrari decet. araque vetusta in Palatio Febris, et altera Esquiliis Malae Fortunae, detestanda, atque omnia eius modi repudianda sunt. quod si fingenda nomina, Vicae Potae potius vincendi atque potiundi, Statae standi, cognominaque Statoris et Invicti Iovis, rerumque expetendarum nomina, Salutis, Honoris, Opis, Victoriae, quoniamque exspectatione rerum bonarum erigitur animus, recte etiam Spes a Caiatino consecrata est; Fortunaque sit, vel Huiusce Diei (nam valet in omnes dies), vel Respiciens ad opem ferendam, vel Fors in quo incerti casus significantur magis, vel Primigenia a gignendo.
(Cicero, De Legibus 2.28)

It is right that ‘Good Sense, Devotion, Moral Excellence, and Good Faith’ should be deified; and in Rome temples have long been publicly dedicated to those qualities, so that those who possess them (and all good people do) should believe that actual gods have been set up within their souls. At Athens, after atoning for the crime against Cylon, on the advice of the Cretan Epimenides they built a shrine to Insult and Shamelessness. That was a misguided act; for virtues, not vices, should be deified. The ancient altar to Fever on the Palatine, and the other to Evil Fortune on the Esquiline must be refused recognition, and all things of that kind are to be rejected. If we have to devise names, we should choose rather ones like Conquering Power and Protectress, and titles like Jove the Stopper and the Invincible, and names of desirable things like Safety, Honour, Help, and Victory. Because the spirit is raised by the expectation of good things, Hope was rightly deified by Calatinus*. And let Today’s Fortune be acknowledged as a deity, for it has influence over every day, or Fortune the Heedful, that she may send help, or Chance Fortune in cases where uncertain events are particularly indicated, or First-born Fortune from giving birth.

* rather than Caiatinus (ed.).

(tr. Niall Rudd)

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