Ancient Mysteries Mythology Babylonian-Assyrian Birth-Omens

Babylonian-Assyrian Birth-Omens

Babylonian-Assyrian Birth-Omens
Catalog # SKU3505
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Morris Jastrow, Jr.
ISBN 10: 1610337883
ISBN 13: 9781610337885



Their Cultural Significance

Large Print - 15 pt font

Morris Jastrow, Jr.

The history of monsters forms an interesting division in the annals of mankind, and I should like in conclusion to call attention to the persistency of this belief down to the threshhold almost of our own days. Among the Romans up to the latest period the old law of either burning the monsters or of throwing them into the sea was generally carried out.



As a result of researches in the field of Babylonian-Assyrian divination, now extending over a number of years, it may be definitely said that apart from the large class of miscellaneous omens, the Babylonians and Assyrians developed chiefly three methods of divination into more or less elaborate systems-divination through the inspection of the liver of a sacrificial animal or Hepatoscopy, through the observation of the movements in the heavens or Astrology, (chiefly directed to the moon and the planets but also to the sun and the prominent stars and constellations), and through the observance of signs noted at birth in infants and the young of animals or Birth-omens. Elsewhere, I have suggested a general division of the various forms of divination methods into two classes, voluntary and involuntary divination, meaning by the former the case in which a sign is deliberately selected and then observed, by the latter where the sign is not of your own choice but forced upon your attention and calling for an interpretation. Hepatoscopy falls within the former category, Astrology and Birth-omens in the latter.

Each one of these three methods rests on an underlying well-defined theory and is not the outcome of mere caprice or pure fancy, though of course these two factors are also prominent. In the case of Hepatoscopy, we find the underlying theory to have been the identification of the 'soul' or vital centre of the sacrificial victim-always a sheep-with the deity to whom the animal is offered,-at least to the extent that the two souls are attuned to one another. The liver being, according to the view prevalent among Babylonians and Assyrians as among other peoples of antiquity at a certain stage of culture, the seat of the soul, the inspection of the liver followed as the natural and obvious means of ascertaining the mind, i. e., the will and disposition of the deity to whom an inquiry has been put or whom one desired to consult.

The signs on the liver-the size and shape of the lobes, and of the gall bladder, the character or peculiarities of the two appendices to the upper lobe, (the processus pyramidalis and the processus papillaris), and the various markings on the liver were noted, and on the basis of the two main principles conditioning all forms of divination (1) association of ideas and (2) noting the events that followed upon certain signs, a decision was reached as to whether the deity was favorably or unfavorably disposed or, what amounted to the same thing, whether the answer to the inquiry was favorable or unfavorable.

140 pages - 7x 8½ softcover
ISBN-10: 1610337883
ISBN-13: 9781610337885

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