1 The words insanire, bacchari, refer to the appearance of the ancient seers when under the influence of the deity. So Virgil says, Insanam vatem aspicies (Aen., iii. 443), and, Bacchatur vates (Aen., vi. 78). The meaning is, that they make their asseverations with all the confidence of a seer when filled, as he pretended, with the influence of the god.
9 The verb mereri, used in this passage, has in Roman writers the idea of merit or excellence of some kind in a person, in virtue of which he is deemed worthy of some favour or advantage; but in ecclesiastical Latin it means, as here, to gain something by the mere favour of God, without any merit of one's own.
14 Nourry thinks that reference is here made to the contests of gladiators and athletes with lions and other beasts in the circus. But it is more likely that the author is thinking of African tribes who were harassed by lions. Thus Aelian (de Nat Anim., xvii. 24) tells of a Libyan people, the Nomaei, who were entirely destroyed by lions.
16 In the Timaeus of Plato, c. vi. st. p. 24, an old priest of Saïs, in Egypt, is represented as telling Solon that in times long gone by the Athenians were a very peaceful and very brave people, and that 9,000 years before that time they had overcome a mighty host which came rushing from the Atlantic Sea, and which threatened to subjugate all Europe and Asia. The sea was then navigable, and in front of the pillars of Hercules (Strait of Gibraltar) lay an island larger than Africa and Asia together: from it travellers could pass to other islands, and from these again to the opposite continent. In this island great kings arose, who made themselves masters of the whole island, as well as of other islands, and parts of the continent. Having already possessions in Libya and Europe, which they wished to increase, they gathered an immense host; but it was repelled by the Athenians. Great earthquakes and storms ensued, in which the island of Atlantis was submerged, and the sea ever after rendered impassable by shoals of mud produced by the sunken island. For other forms of this legend, and explanations of it, see Smith's Dictionary of Geography, under Atlantis; [also Ancient America, p. 175, Harpers, 1872. This volume, little known, seems to me "stranger than fiction," and far more interesting].
37 So Ursinus, followed by Heraldus, LB., and Orelli, for the ms. errores, which Stewechius would change into errones-"vagrants"-referring to the spirits wandering over the earth: most other edd., following Gelenius, read, "called demigods, that these indeed"-daemonas appellat, et hos, etc.
38 So the ms.,which is corrected in the first ed. "us to be willing"-nos velle: Stewechius reads, "us to be making good progress, are envious, enraged, and cry aloud," etc.-nos belle provenire compererunt, invident, indignantur, declamitantque, etc.; to both of which it is sufficient objection that they do not improve the passage by their departure from the ms..
43 So Gelenius, followed by Orelli and others, for the ms., reading divini interpretes viri (instead of juris)-"'O men, interpreters of the sacred and divine," which is retained by the 1st ed., Hildebrand, and Oehler.
44 Aii Locutii. Shortly before the Gallic invasion, B.C. 390, a voice was heard at the dead of night announcing the approach of the Gauls, but the warning was unheeded. After the departure of the Gauls, the Romans dedicated an altar and sacred enclosure to Aius Locutius, or Loquens, i.e., "The Announcing Speaker," at a spot on the Via Nova, where the voice was heard. The ms. reads aiaceos boetios, which Gelenius emended Aios Locutios.
53 This is according to the doctrine of Pythagoras, Plato, Origen, and others, who taught that the souls of men first existed in heavenly beings, and that on account of sins of long standing they were transferred to earthly bodies to super punishment. Cf. Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. p. 433.
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