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Roman Religion$
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Clifford Ando

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615650

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615650.001.0001

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Introduction to Part IV: Theology

Introduction to Part IV: Theology

(p.141) Introduction to Part IV: Theology
Roman Religion

Clifford Ando


What is this great benefaction that Varro boasts he has performed for his fellow citizens? He claims not merely to name the gods whom the Romans ought to worship, but even to specify the particularities of each one. For it does no good, he says, to know the name and appearance of a man who happens to be a doctor, if one does not know that he is a doctor. Likewise, he says that it does you no good to know that Aesculapius is a god, if you do not know that he helps the sick and therefore remain ignorant why you should supplicate him…So, he asserts, no one can doubt but that knowl-edge of the gods is useful, if it embraces what special strength and ability each god has, and what is that thing over which each has power (...

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