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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 9

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 9.—Whether the Great Extent and Long Duration of the Roman Empire Should Be Ascribed to Jove, Whom His Worshippers Believe to Be the Chief God.

Therefore omitting, or passing by for a little, that crowd of petty gods, we ought to inquire into the part performed by the great gods, whereby Rome has been made so great as to reign so long over so many nations.  Doubtless, therefore, this is the work of Jove.  For they will have it that he is the king of all the gods and goddesses, as is shown by his sceptre and by the Capitol on the lofty hill.  Concerning that god they publish a saying which, although that of a poet, is most apt, “All things are full of Jove.” 168   Varro believes that this god is worshipped, although called by another name, even by those who worship one God alone without any image.  But if this is so, why has he been so badly used at Rome (and indeed by other nations too), that an image of him should be made?—a thing which was so displeasing to Varro himself, that although he was overborne by the perverse custom of so great a city, he had not the least hesitation in both saying and writing, that those who have appointed images for the people have both taken away fear and added error.


Footnotes

69:168

Virgil, Eclog. iii. 60.


Next: Chapter 10

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