|Do not fly Iberia
Translated by Wilmer Cave Wright
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Thereupon, being fond of making enemies, I [Note 1] made in the Senate a very unseemly speech which perhaps it may now be pertinent to quote to you. "It is a terrible thing," I said, "that so important a city should be more neglectful of the gods than any village on the borders of the Pontus. Your city possesses ten thousand lots of land privately owned, and yet when the annual festival in honour of the god of her forefathers is to be celebrated for the first time since the gods dispelled the cloud of atheism, she does not produce on her own behalf a single bird, though she ought if possible to have sacrificed an ox for every tribe, or if that were too difficult, the whole city in common ought at any rate to have offered to the god one bull on her own behalf. Yet every one of you delights to spend money privately on dinners and feasts; and I know very well that many of you squandered very large sums of money on dinners during the May festival. Nevertheless, on your own behalf and on behalf of the city's welfare not one of the citizens offers a private sacrifice, nor does the city offer a public sacrifice, but only this priest! Yet I think that it would have been more just for him to go home carrying portions from the multitude of beasts offered by you to the god. For the duty assigned by the gods to priests is to do them honour by their nobility of character and by the practice of virtue, and also to perform to them the service that is due; but it befits the city, I think, to offer both private and public sacrifice. But as it is, every one of you allows his wife to carry everything out of his house to the Galilaeans, and when your wives feed the poor at your expense they inspire a great admiration for godlessness in those who are in need of such bounty -- and of such sort are, I think, the great majority of mankind, -- while as for yourselves you think that you are doing nothing out of the way when in the first place you are careless of the honours due to the gods, and not one of those in need goes near the temples -- for there is nothing there, I think, to feed them with -- and yet when any one of you gives a birthday feast he provides a dinner and a breakfast without stint and welcomes his friends to a costly table; when, however, the annual festival arrived no one furnished olive oil for a lamp for the god, or a libation, or a beast for sacrifice, or incense. Now I do not know how any good man could endure to see such things in your city, and for my part I am sure that it is displeasing to the gods also."
Note 1: I = Julian