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Sallustius

Sallustius or Sallust was a 4th-century writer, a friend of the Roman Emperor Julian. He wrote the treatise On the Gods and the Cosmos, a kind of catechism of 4th-century Hellenic paganism.

Sallustius' work owes much to that of Iamblichus of Chalcis, who synthesized Platonism with Pythagoreanism and theurgy, and also to Julian's own philosophical writings. The treatise is quite concise, and generally free of the lengthy metaphysical theorizing of the more detailed Neoplatonic texts. Its aim is in part "to parry the usual onslaughts of Christian polemic" in the face of Christianity's growing preeminence, and "me[e]t theology with theology".Sallustius' exact identity is a matter of some uncertainty. By some he is identified as Flavius Sallustius who was praetorian prefect of Gaul from 361 until 363 and Julian's colleague as consul in 363, by others with Saturninius Secundus Salutius a native of Gaul who was praetorian prefect of the Orient in 361.

Citações Sallustius

„Of the Gods some are of the world, cosmic, and some above the world, hypercosmic.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Of the Gods some are of the world, cosmic, and some above the world, hypercosmic. By the cosmic I mean those who make the cosmos. Of the hypercosmic Gods some create essence, some mind, and some soul. VI. On Gods Cosmic and Hypercosmic.

„Everything that is created is subject to destruction.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: The cosmos itself must of necessity be indestructible and uncreated. Indestructible because, suppose it destroyed: the only possibility is to make one better than this or worse or the same or a chaos. If worse, the power which out of the better makes the worse must be bad. If better, the maker who did not make the better at first must be imperfect in power. If the same, there will be no use in making it; if a chaos... it is impious even to hear such a thing suggested. These reasons would suffice to show that the world is also uncreated: for if not destroyed, neither is it created. Everything that is created is subject to destruction. VII. On the Nature of the World and its Eternity.

„Now these things never happened, but always are.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, And mind sees all things at once, but reason (or speech) expresses some first and others after. Thus, as the myth is in accord with the cosmos, we for that reason keep a festival imitating the cosmos, for how could we attain higher order? IV. That the species of myth are five, with examples of each. A number of sources paraphrase the first sentence (referring to the myth of Attis) as "Myths are things which never happened, but always are." (see for example the introduction to Carl Sagan's The Dragons of Eden).

„To say that God turns away from the evil is like saying that the sun hides himself from the blind.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: If any one thinks the doctrine of the unchangeableness of the Gods is reasonable and true, and then wonders how it is that they rejoice in the good and reject the bad, are angry with sinners and become propitious when appeased, the answer is as follows: God does not rejoice — for that which rejoices also grieves; nor is he angered — for to be angered is a passion; nor is he appeased by gifts — if he were, he would be conquered by pleasure. It is impious to suppose that the divine is affected for good or ill by human things. The Gods are always good and always do good and never harm, being always in the same state and like themselves. The truth simply is that, when we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our likeness to live according to virtue we cling to the Gods, and when we become evil we make the Gods our enemies — not because they are angered against us, but because our sins prevent the light of the Gods from shining upon us, and put us in communion with spirits of punishment. And if by prayers and sacrifices we find forgiveness of sins, we do not appease or change the Gods, but by what we do and by our turning toward the divine we heal our own badness and so enjoy again the goodness of the Gods. To say that God turns away from the evil is like saying that the sun hides himself from the blind. XIV. In what sense, though the Gods never change, they are said to be made angry and appeased.

„Everything made is made either by art or by a physical process or according to some power.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Everything made is made either by art or by a physical process or according to some power. Now in art or nature the maker must needs be prior to the made: but the maker, according to power, constitutes the made absolutely together with itself, since its power is inseparable from it; as the sun makes light, fire makes heat, snow makes cold. Now if the Gods make the world by art, they do not make it be, they make it be such as it is. For all art makes the form of the object. What therefore makes it to be? XIII. How things eternal are said to be made.

„The doctrine of virtue and vice depends on that of the soul.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: The doctrine of virtue and vice depends on that of the soul. When the irrational soul enters into the body and immediately produces fight and desire, the rational soul, put in authority over all these, makes the soul tripartite, composed of reason, fight, and desire. Virtue in the region of reason is wisdom, in the region of fight is courage, in the region of desire is temperance; the virtue of the whole soul is righteousness. It is for reason to judge what is right, for fight in obedience to reason to despise things that appear terrible, for desire to pursue not the apparently desirable, but, that which is with reason desirable. When these things are so, we have a righteous life; for righteousness in matters of property is but a small part of virtue. And thus we shall find all four virtues in properly trained men, but among the untrained one may be brave and unjust, another temperate and stupid, another prudent and unprincipled. Indeed, these qualities should not be called virtues when they are devoid of reason and imperfect and found in irrational beings. Vice should be regarded as consisting of the opposite elements. In reason it is folly, in fight, cowardice, in desire, intemperance, in the whole soul, unrighteousness. The virtues are produced by the right social organization and by good rearing and education, the vices by the opposite. X. Concerning Virtue and Vice.

„After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Next in order comes knowledge of the first cause and the subsequent orders of the Gods, then the nature of the world, the essence of intellect and of soul, then providence, fate, and fortune, then to see virtue and formed from them, and from what possible source evil came into the world. Each of these subjects needs many long discussions; but there is perhaps no harm in stating them briefly, so that a disciple may not be completely ignorant about them. It is proper to the first cause to be one — for unity precedes multitude — and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart. If the first cause were soul, all things would possess soul. If it were mind, all things would possess mind. If it were being, all things would partake of being. And seeing this quality in all things, some men have thought that it was being. Now if things simply were, without being good, this argument would be true, but if things that are are because of their goodness, and partake in the good, the first thing must needs be both beyond-being and good. It is strong evidence of this that noble souls despise being for the sake of the good, when they face death for their country or friends or for the sake of virtue. — After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods. V. On the First Cause

„Those who wish to hear about the Gods should have been well guided from childhood, and not habituated to foolish beliefs.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Those who wish to hear about the Gods should have been well guided from childhood, and not habituated to foolish beliefs. They should also be in disposition good and sensible, that they may properly attend to the teaching. They ought also to know the common conceptions. Common conceptions are those to which all men agree as soon as they are asked; for instance, that all god [here and elsewhere, = godhood, divine nature] is good, free from passion, free from change. For whatever suffers change does so for the worse or the better; if for the worse, it is made bad; if for the better, it must have been bad at first. I. What the disciple should be; and concerning Common Conceptions, as translated by Gilbert Murray Variant translation: It is requisite that those who are willing to hear concerning the gods should have been well informed from their childhood, and not nourished with foolish opinions. It is likewise necessary that they should be naturally prudent and good, that they may receive, and properly understand, the discourses which they hear. The knowledge likewise of common conceptions is necessary; but common conceptions are such things as all men, when interrogated, acknowledge to be indubitably certain; such as, that every god is good, without passivity, and free from all mutation; for every thing which is changed, is either changed into something better or into something worse: and if into something worse, it will become depraved, but if into something better, it must have been evil in the beginning. I. What the Requisites are which an Auditor concerning the Gods ought to possess: and of common Conceptions, as translated by Thomas Taylor

„It is for reason to judge what is right, for fight in obedience to reason to despise things that appear terrible, for desire to pursue not the apparently desirable, but, that which is with reason desirable. When these things are so, we have a righteous life; for righteousness in matters of property is but a small part of virtue.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: The doctrine of virtue and vice depends on that of the soul. When the irrational soul enters into the body and immediately produces fight and desire, the rational soul, put in authority over all these, makes the soul tripartite, composed of reason, fight, and desire. Virtue in the region of reason is wisdom, in the region of fight is courage, in the region of desire is temperance; the virtue of the whole soul is righteousness. It is for reason to judge what is right, for fight in obedience to reason to despise things that appear terrible, for desire to pursue not the apparently desirable, but, that which is with reason desirable. When these things are so, we have a righteous life; for righteousness in matters of property is but a small part of virtue. And thus we shall find all four virtues in properly trained men, but among the untrained one may be brave and unjust, another temperate and stupid, another prudent and unprincipled. Indeed, these qualities should not be called virtues when they are devoid of reason and imperfect and found in irrational beings. Vice should be regarded as consisting of the opposite elements. In reason it is folly, in fight, cowardice, in desire, intemperance, in the whole soul, unrighteousness. The virtues are produced by the right social organization and by good rearing and education, the vices by the opposite. X. Concerning Virtue and Vice.

„It is proper to the first cause to be one — for unity precedes multitude — and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Next in order comes knowledge of the first cause and the subsequent orders of the Gods, then the nature of the world, the essence of intellect and of soul, then providence, fate, and fortune, then to see virtue and formed from them, and from what possible source evil came into the world. Each of these subjects needs many long discussions; but there is perhaps no harm in stating them briefly, so that a disciple may not be completely ignorant about them. It is proper to the first cause to be one — for unity precedes multitude — and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart. If the first cause were soul, all things would possess soul. If it were mind, all things would possess mind. If it were being, all things would partake of being. And seeing this quality in all things, some men have thought that it was being. Now if things simply were, without being good, this argument would be true, but if things that are are because of their goodness, and partake in the good, the first thing must needs be both beyond-being and good. It is strong evidence of this that noble souls despise being for the sake of the good, when they face death for their country or friends or for the sake of virtue. — After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods. V. On the First Cause

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„It is impious to suppose that the divine is affected for good or ill by human things. The Gods are always good and always do good and never harm, being always in the same state and like themselves. The truth simply is that, when we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our likeness to live according to virtue we cling to the Gods, and when we become evil we make the Gods our enemies — not because they are angered against us, but because our sins prevent the light of the Gods from shining upon us, and put us in communion with spirits of punishment.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: If any one thinks the doctrine of the unchangeableness of the Gods is reasonable and true, and then wonders how it is that they rejoice in the good and reject the bad, are angry with sinners and become propitious when appeased, the answer is as follows: God does not rejoice — for that which rejoices also grieves; nor is he angered — for to be angered is a passion; nor is he appeased by gifts — if he were, he would be conquered by pleasure. It is impious to suppose that the divine is affected for good or ill by human things. The Gods are always good and always do good and never harm, being always in the same state and like themselves. The truth simply is that, when we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our likeness to live according to virtue we cling to the Gods, and when we become evil we make the Gods our enemies — not because they are angered against us, but because our sins prevent the light of the Gods from shining upon us, and put us in communion with spirits of punishment. And if by prayers and sacrifices we find forgiveness of sins, we do not appease or change the Gods, but by what we do and by our turning toward the divine we heal our own badness and so enjoy again the goodness of the Gods. To say that God turns away from the evil is like saying that the sun hides himself from the blind. XIV. In what sense, though the Gods never change, they are said to be made angry and appeased.

„From all these things the Gods gain nothing; what gain could there be to God? It is we who gain some communion with them.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: The divine itself is without needs, and the worship is paid for our own benefit. The providence of the Gods reaches everywhere and needs only some congruity for its reception. All congruity comes about by representation and likeness; for which reason the temples are made in representation of heaven, the altar of earth, the images of life (that is why they are made like living things), the prayers of the element of though, the mystic letters of the unspeakable celestial forces, the herbs and stones of matter, and the sacrificial animals of the irrational life in us. From all these things the Gods gain nothing; what gain could there be to God? It is we who gain some communion with them. XV. Why we give worship to the Gods when they need nothing.

„Those who believe in the destruction of the world, either deny the existence of the Gods, or, while admitting it, deny God's power.
Therefore he who makes all things by his own power makes all things subsist together with himself.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Those who believe in the destruction of the world, either deny the existence of the Gods, or, while admitting it, deny God's power. Therefore he who makes all things by his own power makes all things subsist together with himself. And since his power is the greatest power he must needs be the maker not only of men and animals, but of Gods, men, and spirits. And the further removed the first God is from our nature, the more powers there must be between us and him. For all things that are very far apart have many intermediate points between them. XIII. How things eternal are said to be made.

„There is this first benefit from myths, that we have to search and do not have our minds idle.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: There is this first benefit from myths, that we have to search and do not have our minds idle. That the myths are divine can be seen from those who have used them. Myths have been used by inspired poets, by the best of philosophers, by those who established the mysteries, and by the Gods themselves in oracles. But why the myths are divine it is the duty of philosophy to inquire. Since all existing things rejoice in that which is like them and reject that which is unlike, the stories about the Gods ought to be like the Gods, so that they may both be worthy of the divine essence and make the Gods well disposed to those who speak of them: which could only be done by means of myths. III. Concerning myths; that they are divine, and why.

„Souls that have lived in virtue are in general happy, and when separated from the irrational part of their nature, and made clean from all matter, have communion with the gods and join them in the governing of the whole world.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Souls that have lived in virtue are in general happy, and when separated from the irrational part of their nature, and made clean from all matter, have communion with the gods and join them in the governing of the whole world. Yet even if none of this happiness fell to their lot, virtue itself, and the joy and glory of virtue, and the life that is subject to no grief and no master are enough to make happy those who have set themselves to live according to virtue and have achieved it. XXI. That the Good are happy, both living and dead.

„Since god is intellectual, and all intellect returns into itself, this myth expresses in allegory the essence of god.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Of myths some are theological, some physical, some psychic, and again some material, and some mixed from these last two. The theological are those myths which use no bodily form but contemplate the very essence of the Gods: e. g., Kronos swallowing his children. Since god is intellectual, and all intellect returns into itself, this myth expresses in allegory the essence of god. Myths may be regarded physically when they express the activities of the Gods in the world: e. g., people before now have regarded Kronos as time, and calling the divisions of time his sons say that the sons are swallowed by the father. The psychic way is to regard the activities of the soul itself; the soul's acts of thought, though they pass on to other objects, nevertheless remain inside their begetters. The material and last is that which the Egyptians have mostly used, owing to their ignorance, believing material objects actually to be Gods, and so calling them: e. g., they call the earth Isis, moisture Osiris, heat Typhon, or again, water Kronos, the fruits of the earth Adonis, and wine Dionysus. To say that these objects are sacred to the Gods, like various herbs and stones and animals, is possible to sensible men, but to say that they are Gods is the notion of madmen — except, perhaps, in the sense in which both the orb of the sun and the ray which comes from the orb are colloquially called "the sun". IV. That the species of myth are five, with examples of each.

„There is a certain force, less primary than being but more primary than the soul, which draws its existence from being and completes the soul as the sun completes the eyes.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: There is a certain force, less primary than being but more primary than the soul, which draws its existence from being and completes the soul as the sun completes the eyes. Of souls some are rational and immortal, some irrational and mortal. The former are derived from the first Gods, the latter from the secondary. VIII. On Mind and Soul, and that the latter is immortal.

„Each of these subjects needs many long discussions“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Next in order comes knowledge of the first cause and the subsequent orders of the Gods, then the nature of the world, the essence of intellect and of soul, then providence, fate, and fortune, then to see virtue and formed from them, and from what possible source evil came into the world. Each of these subjects needs many long discussions; but there is perhaps no harm in stating them briefly, so that a disciple may not be completely ignorant about them. It is proper to the first cause to be one — for unity precedes multitude — and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart. If the first cause were soul, all things would possess soul. If it were mind, all things would possess mind. If it were being, all things would partake of being. And seeing this quality in all things, some men have thought that it was being. Now if things simply were, without being good, this argument would be true, but if things that are are because of their goodness, and partake in the good, the first thing must needs be both beyond-being and good. It is strong evidence of this that noble souls despise being for the sake of the good, when they face death for their country or friends or for the sake of virtue. — After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods. V. On the First Cause

„The contraries are: to kingdom, tyranny, for kingdom does all things with the guidance of reason and tyranny nothing; to aristocracy, oligarchy, when not the best people but a few of the worst are rulers; to timocracy, democracy, when not the rich but the common folk possess the whole power.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: Where all things are done according to reason and the best man in the nation rules, it is a kingdom; where more than one rule according to reason and fight, it is an aristocracy; where the government is according to desire and offices depend on money, that constitution is called a timocracy. The contraries are: to kingdom, tyranny, for kingdom does all things with the guidance of reason and tyranny nothing; to aristocracy, oligarchy, when not the best people but a few of the worst are rulers; to timocracy, democracy, when not the rich but the common folk possess the whole power. XI. Concerning right and wrong Social Organization.

„Just as it happens that the Sun, which is good for all, may be injurious to persons with ophthalmia or fever.“

—  Sallustius
On the Gods and the Cosmos, Context: To believe that human things, especially their material constitution, are ordered not only by celestial beings but by the celestial bodies is a reasonable and true belief. Reason shows that health and sickness, good fortune and bad fortune, arise according to our deserts from that source. But to attribute men's acts of injustice and lust to fate, is to make ourselves good and the Gods bad. Unless by chance a man meant by such a statement that in general all things are for the good of the world and for those who are in a natural state, but that bad education or weakness of nature changes the goods of Fate for the worse. Just as it happens that the Sun, which is good for all, may be injurious to persons with ophthalmia or fever. IX. On Providence, Fate, and Fortune.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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