Divination
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DIVINATION. General info…. Divine communicate directly with human beings Direct visit – appear in person Gods or Fates sent signs Art of interrupting divine will – called divination. Question: How do we divine the future in the modern world?. 21 March - 20 April Aries 24 July – 23 August

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DIVINATION


General info…

  • Divine communicate directly with human beings

    • Direct visit – appear in person

    • Gods or Fates sent signs

    • Art of interrupting divine will – called divination

Question:How do we divine the future in the modern world?


21 March - 20 April

Aries

24 July – 23 August

Leo

23 November – 21 December

Sagittarius

21 April - 21 May

Taurus

24 August - 23 September

Virgo

22 December – 20 January

Capricorn

22 May - 22 June

Gemini

24 September - 23 October

Libra

21 January - 19 February

Aquarius

23 June - 23 July

Cancer

24 October – 22 November

Scorpio

20 February - 20 March

Pisces


Augury

  • Flight and song of birds

  • Founding of Rome herself

    • Romulus (12 vultures) and Remus (6 vultures)

  • Yes or no

  • It could not fill in the details

  • Magistrates

  • Establish divine approval or disapproval


Augury – The ‘How to…’

  • Magistrates sit in open to “take the auspice”

  • Accompanied by augur

  • Songs, flight patterns, appearance

  • Quarter of sky

  • Augur was blindfolded

  • In 99 BC –auguraculum


Sacred Fowls

  • Watching eating habits

  • Kept in cages – instant answers

  • Cake

  • Greedy = good sign

  • No interest or refused to leave or tried to fly away = bad sign

  • Roman General - Claudius Pulcher

    • ‘Let them drink instead!’


Lightning

  • Will of gods – flashes of lightning

  • Sent by Jupiter

  • Sacred spaces

  • Postpone business

  • Political factions

  • Thunder – omen

    • December 3 – shortage of fish!

  • Omina impetrativa


Unsought Omens

  • Omina oblativa

  • Appear to anyone/any form

  • Historian Livy mentions omens: Observed during early years of war against Hannibal


Conclusive evidence that the aliens are coming…


Nemo is OMEN spelt backwards… a sign maybe?

Unsought Omens

Presented problems…

  • Which divine being?

  • What did it refer to?

  • Who was it meant for?

  • What did it refer to?

  • What did it mean?

  • Private citizens


READ PRIMARY SOURCE

READ: # 13 – Omens

Author:

Summarise:

QUESTION:

What omens are seen?


The Sibylline books

  • Omina oblativa

    • Advise the senate – consult books

  • Collection of oracles

    • Bought by Tarquin the Proud

    • From Sibyl of Cumae 6th Century BC

  • Sibyl

    • Priestess of Apollo

    • Future

    • Aeneas


READ PRIMARY SOURCE

READ: #14 – The Sibylline Books

Author:

Summarise:

QUESTION:

Why do slaves get assigned to the men?


Haruspicy

  • Examine internal organs

  • Imperfections – displeased

  • Bronze model – liver (16 regions)

  • Etruscans

  • Haruspices (pl.) Haruspex (sing.)

  • Priests from Etruria

    • Unsought omens if no augur

  • Professionals (not elected)


Haruspicy

  • 60 in reign of Augustus

  • Never an official priesthood

    • No prestige and authority


Dreams

  • Based on old beliefs – sent by gods

  • Individuals – not state religion

  • Lucretius – follower of Epicurean philosophy

    • Dreams meaningless

    • People believed

  • Suetonius – historian

    • Augustus’ life saved by friend – don’t stay in tent

    • Julius Caesar – raped mother


Dreams

  • Livy – about Hannibal

    • 218 BC Hannibal waiting to invade

    • Young man – a god – guide him to Italy

    • Told not to look back

    • Curious – he looked

    • Snake

    • Storm cloud – lightning and thunder

    • Devastate Italy – took next 15 years


Astrology

  • Consult the stars

  • From the East – 2nd Century BC

  • Earth – centre of universe

    • Seven bodies: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Moon

  • Influence whatever they shone upon

  • Predetermined future

  • Loopholes


Astrology

  • Not universally popular

  • Meaningless to worship gods?

  • Try to fulfil destiny

  • Senate banned astrologers every now and then

  • Increasingly influential

  • Augustus – told he would be king


Astrology

  • Suetonius says that Tiberius was…

    • “careless about the gods and religion because he was addicted to astrology and believed everything was ruled by fate.”

  • Vettius Valens says…

    • “It is impossible for any man by prayers and sacrifice to overcome what is fixed from the beginning.”


Astrology

  • Tacitus says that astrologers are…

    • “a breed of men who betray the powerful and deceive the hopeful” and “were constantly being banned from Rome and were constantly being found there.”


Astrology…

  • Not all believed BUT majority practiced in some form or another

  • Forbidden in 4th Century AD by Christian Emperors

  • HOWEVER – despite this…

What types of Divination do we still use? Why do we use them? What is the significance? What does seeking to know the future tell us about ourselves (humans)?


READ PRIMARY SOURCE

READ: # 15 – Astrology

Author:

Summarise:

QUESTION:

What are the dangers of astrology?


Discuss

What explanations might be given for the importance Romans attached to omens and the practice of divination?

What impact did the introduction of astrology have on the traditional methods of divination?


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