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Chapter XCIV.

But if the soul of birds is to be esteemed divine because future events are predicted by them, why should we not rather maintain, that when omens40494049    κληδόνες. are accepted by men, the souls of those are divine through which the omens are heard?  Accordingly, among such would be ranked the female slave mentioned in Homer, who ground the corn, when she said regarding the suitors:—

“For the very last time, now, will they sup here.”40504050    Cf. Homer, Odyss., iv. 685; cf. also xx. 116, 119.

This slave, then, was divine, while the great Ulysses, the friend of Homer’s Pallas Athene, was not divine, but understanding the words spoken by this “divine” grinder of corn as an omen, rejoiced, as the poet says:—

“The divine Ulysses rejoiced at the omen.”40514051    Cf. Homer, Odyss., xx. 120.

Observe, now, as the birds are possessed of a divine soul, and are capable of perceiving God, or, as Celsus says, the gods, it is clear that when we men also sneeze, we do so in consequence of a kind of divinity that is within us, and which imparts a prophetic power to our soul.  For this belief is testified by many witnesses, and therefore the poet also says:—

“And while he prayed, he sneezed.”40524052    Cf. Homer, Odyss., xvii. 541.

And Penelope, too, said:—

“Perceiv’st thou not that at every word my son did sneeze?”40534053    Cf. Homer, Odyss., xvii. 545.

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