Dreadful Forms of Terror and Frightful Bugbears on Account of which the Human Race...
O dreadful forms of terror and [4757] frightful bugbears [4758] on account of which the human race was to be benumbed for ever, to attempt nothing in its utter amazement, and to restrain itself from every wicked and shameful act -- little sickles, keys, caps, pieces of wood, winged sandals, staves, little timbrels, pipes, psalteries, breasts protruding and of great size, little drinking cups, pincers, and horns filled with fruit, the naked bodies of women, and huge veretra openly exposed! Would it not have been better to dance and to sing, than calling it gravity and pretending to be serious, to relate what is so insipid and so silly, that images [4759] were formed by the ancients to check wrongdoing, and to arouse the fears of the wicked and impious? Were the men of that age and time, in understanding, so void of reason and good sense, that they were kept back from wicked actions, just as if they were little boys, by the preternatural [4760] savageness of masks, by grimaces also, and bugbears? [4761] And how has this been so entirely changed, that though there are so many temples in your states filled with images of all the gods, the multitude of criminals cannot be resisted even with so many laws and so terrible punishments, and their audacity cannot be overcome [4762] by any means, and wicked deeds, repeated again and again, multiply the more it is striven by laws and severe judgments to lessen the number of cruel deeds, and to quell them by the check given by means of punishments? But if images caused any fear to men, the passing of laws would cease, nor would so many kinds of tortures be established against the daring of the guilty: now, however, because it has been proved and established that the supposed [4763] terror which is said to flow out from the images is in reality vain, recourse has been had to the ordinances of laws, by which there might be a dread of punishment which should be most certain fixed in men's minds also, and a condemnation settled; to which these very images also owe it that they yet stand safe, and secured by some respect being yielded to them.


[4757] Formidinum.

[4758] Terrores.

[4759] Or, perhaps, "relate that images so frigid and so awkward."

[4760] The ms., and both Roman edd. read monstruosissima-s torvi-tate-s annis; corrected by Gelenius and later edd. monstruosissimâ torvitate animos, and by Salmasius, Orelli, Hild., and Oehler, as above, m. t. sannis.

[4761] The ms., first four edd., Elm., and Oberthür read manus, which, with animos read in most (cf. preceding note), would run, "that they were even kept back, as to (i.e., in) minds and hands, from wicked actions by the preternatural savageness of masks." The other edd. read with Salmasius, as above, maniis.

[4762] Lit., "cut away."

[4763] Lit., "opinion of."

25 for what grandeur
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