Cicero, De Natura Deorum

LCL 268: 178-179

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progredientem via. Censet enim artis maxume proprium esse creare et gignere, quodque in operibus nostrarum artium manus efficiat id multo artificiosius naturam efficere, id est ut dixi ignem artificiosum, magistrum artium reliquarum. Atque hac quidem ratione omnis natura artificiosa est, quod habet quasi 58 viam quandam et sectam quam sequatur; ipsius vero mundi, qui omnia conplexu suo coërcet et continet, natura non artificiosa solum sed plane artifex ab eodem Zenone dicitur, consultrix et provida utilitatum opportunitatumque omnium. Atque ut ceterae naturae suis seminibus quaeque gignuntur augescunt continentur, sic natura mundi omnes motus habet voluntarios conatusque et adpetitiones quas ὁρμάς Graeci vocant, et his consentaneas actiones sic adhibet ut nosmet ipsi qui animis movemur et sensibus. Talis igitur mens mundi cum sit ob eamque causam vel prudentia vel providentia appellari recte possit (Graece enim πρόνοια dicitur), haec potissimum providet et in his maxime est occupata, primum ut mundus quam aptissimus sit ad permanendum, deinde ut nulla re egeat, maxume autem ut in eo eximia pulchritudo sit atque omnis ornatus.


XXIII. “Dictum est de universo mundo, dictum etiam est de sideribus, ut iam prope modum appareat multitudo nec cessantium deorum nec ea quae agant molientium cum labore operoso ac molesto. Non


De Natura Deorum, II.

methodically to the work of generation.’a For he holds that the special function of an art or craft is to create and generate, and that what in the processes of our arts is done by the hand is done with far more skilful craftsmanship by nature,b that is, as I said, by that ‘craftsmanlike’ fire which is the teacher of the other arts. And on this theory, while each department of nature is ‘craftsmanlike,’ in the sense of having a method or path marked out for it to follow, 58 the nature of the world itself, which encloses and contains all things in its embrace, is styled by Zeno not merely ‘craftsmanlike’ but actually ‘a craftsman,’c whose foresight plans out the work to serve its use and purpose in every detail. And as the other natural substances are generated, reared and sustained each by its own seeds, so the world-nature experiences all those motions of the will, those impulses of conation and desire, that the Greeks call hormae, and follows these up with the appropriate actions in the same way as do we ourselves, who experience emotions and sensations. Such being the nature of the world-mind, it can therefore correctly be designated as prudence or providence (for in Greek it is termed pronoia); and this providence is chiefly directed and concentrated upon three objects, namely to secure for the world, first, the structure best fitted for survival; next, absolute completeness; but chiefly, consummate beauty and embellishment of every kind.

59 XXIII. “We have discussed the world as a whole, and we have also discussed the heavenly bodies; so that there now stands fairly well revealed to our view a vast company of gods who are neither idle nor yet perform their activities with irksome and laborious

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-de_natura_deorum.1933