Roman Imperial Pietas, pre-Vergil

Let us, O conscript fathers, think as highly of ourselves as we please; and yet it is not in numbers that we are superior to the Spaniards, nor in personal strength to the Gauls, nor in cunning to the Carthaginians, nor in arts to the Greeks, nor in the natural acuteness which seems to be implanted in the people of this land and country, to the Italian and Latin tribes; but it is in and by means of piety and religion, and this especial wisdom of perceiving that all things are governed and managed by the divine power of the immortal gods, that we have been and are superior to all other countries and nations.

Why does Rome rule?  They are on the best terms with the gods.  This message is fully explored in the Vergil’s Aeneid (cf. esp. the prophesy of Jupiter in BK I) and so many other examples of Augustus’ ‘restoration’.   Here we get to hear the same ideology from Cicero in 56BC (Har. 19).  Nice to see the seed.

Post-Script.  I also notice that Africa and Syria and Asia a left off this list of other types of people?  Is this because the stereotypes of these ethnicity are so wholly negative?

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