Scanned text contains errors.
iv ACCEPTANCE OF OMENS 53
The Romans were unable to take Veii until they learned from a refugee the oracle which foretold that the city would fall when the waters of the lake had been drained away.1
This attitude towards State oracles, which possess an efficacy conditional on the knowledge and the actions of the interested party, and the analogous belief that omens must be formally accepted by the recipient if they are to produce the beneficent effect which he desires, show clearly that the art of divination cannot be limited to the mere statement of a fore-ordained fact. Prophecy or omens are potential forces ; it is as much the business of the mantis to direct the future and to turn it to account, as to tell his client what is going to happen.
f<r6\bv 8' ovSe ri ttio «6jras tiros, ov&' iTt
to the Heraklids by Krios, son of Theokles, a soothsayer, Paus. iii.
1 Cicero, De div. i. 44. 100.