quadringenta septuaginta milia annorum in periclitandis experiendisque pueris, quicumque essent nati, Babylonios posuisse, fallunt ; si enim esset factitatum, non esset desitum; neminem autem habemus auctorem, qui aut fieri dicat aut factum sciat.
XLVII. “Videsne me non ea dicere quae Carneades, sed ea quae princeps Stoicorum Panaetius dixerit? Ego autem etiam hoc requiro : omnesne qui Cannensi pugna ceciderint uno astro fuerint? exitus quidem omnium unus et idem fuit. Quid? qui ingenio atque animo singulares, num astro quoque uno? quod enim tempus, quo non innumerabiles 98nascantur? at certe similis nemo Homeri. Et, si ad rem pertinet, quo modo caelo affecto compositisque sideribus quodque animal oriatur, valeat id necesse est etiam in rebus inanimis ; quo quid dici potest absurdius? L. quidem Tarutius Firmanus, familiaris noster, in primis Chaldaicis rationibus eruditus, urbis etiam nostrae natalem diem repetebat ab iis Parilibus, quibus eam a Romulo conditam accepimus, Romamque, in iugo cum esset luna, natam 99esse dicebat, nec eius fata canere dubitabat. O vim maximam erroris! Etiamne urbis natalis dies ad vim stellarum et lunae pertinebat? Fac in puero referre, ex qua affectione caeli primum spiritum
statement quoted by you that the Babylonians for 470,000 years1 had taken the horoscope of every child and had tested it by the results, is untrue; for if this had been their habit they would not have abandoned it. Moreover we find no writer who says that the practice exists or who knows that it ever did exist.
XLVII. “You observe that I am not repeating the arguments of Carneades, but those of Panaetius, the head of the Stoic school. But now on my own initiative I put the following questions : Did all the Romans who fell at Cannae have the same horoscope? Yet all had one and the same end. Were all the men eminent for intellect and genius born under the same star? Was there ever a day when countless numbers were not born? And yet there never was another Homer. Again : if it matters under what aspect of the sky or combination of the stars every animate being is born, then necessarily the same conditions affect inanimate things also : can any statement be more ridiculous than that? Be that as it may, our good friend Lucius Tarutius of Firmum, who was steeped in Chaldaic lore, made a calculation, based on the assumption that our city’s birthday was on the Feast of Pales2 (at which time tradition says it was founded by Romulus), and from that calculation Tarutius even went so far as to assert that Rome was born when the moon was in the sign of Libra and from that fact unhesitatingly prophesied her destiny. What stupendous power delusion has! And was the city’s natal day also subject to the influence of the moon and stars? Assume, if you will, that it matters in the case of a child under what arrangement of the heavenly bodies it draws