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ante focos olim scamnis considere longis

mos erat et mensae credere adesse deos.
nunc quoque cum fiunt antiquae sacra Vacunae,
ante Vacunales stantque sedentque focos.

32. Aust, p. 14. For Vertumnus the locus classicus is Propert.

V. 2. It is not certain that the connection with gardens was primitive.

33. R.F. p. 341.

34. R.F. p. 341.

35. See Axtell, The Deification of Abstract Ideas in Roman Literature and Inscriptions (Chicago, 1907), p. 59 foll., where the views of Mommsen, Boissier, Marquardt, and Wissowa are discussed. Axtell's own conclusion is given on p. 62 foll. In the main it seems to agree with that hazarded in my Roman Festivals, p. 190.

36. For the evidence as to the contents of the commentarii, which are now generally identified with the libri, see Wissowa, R.K. 32 and 441; Schanz, op. cit. i. 32; and the article "Commentarii " in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encycl. As Wissowa remarks (p. 441, note 6), we are greatly in need of a complete collection of all fragments of these archives.

37. See above, p. 159 foll. The conviction that these lists are of comparatively late and priestly origin, which has long been growing on me, was originally suggested by the learned article "Indigitamenta" by R. Peter in Roscher's Lexicon, vol. ii. p. 175 foll.

38. I have here adopted some sentences from my article in the Hibbert Journal for 1907, p. 854.



"THE one great corruption to which all religion is exposed is its separation from morality. The very strength of the religious motive has a tendency to exclude, or disparage, all other tendencies of the human mind, even the noblest and best. It is against this corruption that the prophetic order from first to last constantly protested. . . . Mercy and justice, judgment and truth, repentance and goodness-not sacrifice, not fasting, not ablutions,—is the burden of the whole prophetic teaching of the Old Testament." 1

The over-formalising, or ritualising, of any religion is sure to bring about that result against which the Jewish prophets protested. We saw at the end of the last lecture how the pontifices contributed to such a result. We are now to study the contribution of the other great college, the augurs. For instead of developing, as did the wise man or seer of Israel, into the mouthpiece of God in His demand for the righteousness of man, the Roman diviner merely assisted the pontifex in his work of robbing religion of the idea of righteousness. Divination seems to be a universal instinct of human nature, a perfectly natural instinct, arising out of man's daily needs, hopes, fears; but though it may have had the chance, even at Rome, it never has been able, except among the Jews, to emerge from its cramping chrysalis of magic and become a really valuable stimulant of morality.

By divination I mean the various ways and methods

by which, in all stages of his development, man has persuaded himself that what he is going to do or suffer will turn out well or ill for him. It is probably judicious, with Dr. Tylor and with the majority of recent anthropologists, to consider it as belonging to the region of magic;

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it is obvious that it affords excellent examples of that inadequacy which characterises magical attempts to overcome the difficulties man meets with in his struggle for existence, It belongs, like other forms of magic, to a stage in which man's idea of his relation to the Power manifesting itself in the universe is both rude and rudimentary. But it shares with magic the power or property of surviving, in form at least, through the animistic stage into that of religion, and it is largely practised at the present day even among highly civilised peoples.

But I must observe, before I go on, that divination as an object of anthropological inquiry still stands in need of a thorough scientific examination. At present it seems to puzzle anthropologists; and the reason probably is that the material for studying it inductively has not as yet been collected and sifted. Strange to say, it does not appear in the index to Dr. Westermarck's great work, which I have so often quoted: it is hardly to be found even in the Golden Bough: nor can I find a thoroughgoing treatment of it in any other books about the early history of mankind. And any sort of guesswork under these circumstances only increases our difficulties. Some years ago the great German philosophical lawyer, von Jhering, in an interesting work called the Evolution of the Aryan, made some most ingenious attempts to explain the origin of Roman divination. He fancied that the practice of examining the entrails of a victim, for example, began in the course of Aryan migration, because when you encamped in a new region you would catch and kill some of the native cattle in order to see whether they were wholesome enough to tempt you to stay. Again, the study of the flight of birds was prompted by the desire to get information about the mountain passes and the

course of great rivers; and this study grew into an elaborate art as the leader of the host, the prototype of the Roman augur, gained experience by constant observation from elevated ground. Such a theory as this last might be worth something if it were based upon known facts; as it is, it is only most ingenious guesswork. This great legal writer did not know, as we do now, that divination by both these methods is found all over the world, and cannot be explained by any supposed needs of migrating Aryans.

Whatever be the origin of the several forms of divination, the object of the practice in ancient Italy and Greece is beyond doubt-to find out whether the Power with whom you wish to be in right relation is favourable to certain human operations, or willing to aid in removing certain forms of human suffering. According to our definition, it was a part of religion, whether or no it belonged originally to magic. It was a practical expression of that doubt or anxiety to which I believe the Romans attached the word religio. In the agricultural period it must have been specially useful and even inevitable, because the tiller of the soil is always in need of knowledge as to the best times and seasons for his operations, and his out-of-door life gives him constant opportunity of observing natural phenomena, diosemeia, signs from heaven, and the utterances and movements of birds and other animals. It is interesting to reflect that these last may often be of real service in foretelling the weather, which is so important to the farmer. As I write this on a December day I recall the fact that I have myself within the last week successfully foretold a spell of cold after observing a great arrival of winter thrushes from the north. This particular branch of augury is, in fact, neither so inadequate nor so absurd as most others. Von Jhering may turn out to be right in his notion that at least some forms of divination have their origin in practical needs and in the skill of uncivilised man in discerning the signs of the weather-a skill which it is well to remember


far exceeds that of the house-dweller of modern civilisation. But with the growth of the City-state and the habits of life in a town, these early instincts and methods of the agriculturist came to be caught up into a system of religious practice, adapted to the conditions of civil and political existence; thus they gradually lost their original meaning and such real value as they ever possessed. I have pointed out that the Roman festivals and the ritual of the oldest calendar gradually got out of relation with the agricultural life in which they for the most part originated: so it was with divination, which in the hands of the State authorities became formalised into a set of rules for ascertaining the good-will of the gods, and obtaining their sanction for the operations of the community, which had no scientific basis whatever, no relation to truth and fact. Of all the methods for putting yourself in right relation with the Power, this was the least valuable, and indeed the most harmful; it came in course of time to be a positive obstacle to efficiency and freedom of action, it wasted valuable time, and it often served as the means of promoting private ends to the detriment of the public interest.

Before I go on to consider the development of the highly formalised system of public divination, let me clear the ground by a few remarks about such forms of the practice as were not sanctioned by the State. That these existed throughout Roman history there is no doubt, as they existed in Greece, among the Jews, and elsewhere in the East, alongside of the advanced and organised methods of official and authorised experts.

Our information about private divination is scattered about in Roman literature, and even when brought together there is not a great deal of it. What is prominent both in Roman literature and Roman history is the divination authorised by the State and systematised by its authorities; even in Cicero's treatise de Divinatione, though the subject-matter is of a general kind, drawn from Greece as well as Rome, it is, I think, apart from

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