But if You Come to the Conclusion that These Fables have Been Written Allegorically...
But if you come to the conclusion that these fables have been written allegorically, what is to be done with the rest, which we see cannot be forced into such changes of sense? For what are we to substitute for the wrigglings [4547] into which the lustful heat [4548] of Semele's offspring forced him upon the sepulchral mound? and what for those Ganymedes who were carried off [4549] and set to preside over lustful practices? what for that conversion of an ant into which Jupiter, the greatest of the gods, contracted the outlines of his huge body? [4550] what for swans and satyrs? what for golden showers, which the same seductive god put on with perfidious guile, amusing himself by changes of form? And that we may not seem to speak of Jupiter only, what allegories can there be in the loves of the other deities? what in their circumstances as hired servants and slaves? what in their bonds, bereavements, lamentations? what in their agonies, wounds, sepulchres? Now, while in this you might be held guilty in one respect for writing in such wise about the gods, you have added to your guilt beyond measure [4551] in calling base things by the names of deities, and again in defaming the gods by giving to them the names of infamous things. But if you believed without any doubt [4552] that they were here close at hand, or anywhere at all, fear would check you in making mention of them, and your beliefs and unchanged thoughts should have been exactly [4553] as if they were listening to you and heard your words. For among men devoted to the services of religion, not only the gods themselves, but even the names of the gods should be reverenced, and there should be quite as much grandeur in their names as there is in those even who are thought of under these names.

[4547] Lit., "waves"--fluctibus, the reading of the ms., LB., Hild., and Oehler; the other edd. reading fustibus--"stakes."

[4548] So Meursius, changing the ms. o- into u-rigo.

[4549] The first four edd. retain the ms., reading partis--"brought forth;" the others adopt a suggestion of Canterus, raptis, as above.

[4550] Lit., "vastness."

[4551] Addere garo gerrem, a proverb ridiculing a worthless addition, which nullifies something in itself precious, garum being a highly esteemed sauce (or perhaps soup), which would be thrown away upon gerres, a worthless kind of salt fish. Arnobius merely means, however, that while such stories are wrong, what follows is unspeakably worse.

[4552] Lit., "with undubitable knowledge."

[4553] Lit., "it ought to have been so believed, and to be held fixed in thought just," etc.

43 but what the meaning
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