Ancient ornithomancy: Pergamon reveals tomb of 'Bird Oracle'

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Ancient ornithomancy: Pergamon reveals tomb of 'Bird Oracle'

Post by billd89 » ... racle/news

Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014, Pergamon revealed the tomb of the priest Markos, who was known as "the Bird Oracle of Antiquity," during the recent excavations.

Researchers discovered burial sites called necropolises in the Asclepion and healing temples dedicated to Asclepius, the first doctor demigod and the son of Apollon.

Experts determined that the inscription said the owner of the tomb, Mark, was a "bird oracle" who lived in the second century A.D.

Practicing ornithomancy, Greek ornis "bird" and manteia "divination," Markos' main role was prophecy, interpreting the will of mythological gods by examining the flight of birds. He made predictions about the future, reading the direction of flights, the sounds they make while flying and the characteristics of bird species.

L. Hopf, Thierorakel und Orakelthiere in alter und neuer Zeit [1888] pp.5-6:
This information from the historian Diodorus has been confirmed in all particulars by the discovery of cuneiform fragments belonging to a complete work about all facets of divination. Unfortunately, these are the only fragments edited by François Lenorman in his work La divination et la science des présages chez les Chaldéens: les sciences occultes en Asie [1875] and sadly, of three chapters on auguries and auspices, only chapter headings have been preserved, a circumstance that is all the more deplorable, as we have lost a valuable historical source and means of comparing the augural science of Chaldaeans with that of other ancient peoples. Only so much is to be gathered from the fragmentary table of contents with headings of chapters, that this ancient cultured people (like Greeks, Romans and their ancestors the Etruscans) paid attention to both in the flight and calls of various birds. - From the auguries of the Phoenicians, only Philistine inquiries of Baal-zebub (Fly-God) {Baal-Zebout = Prince of the Divine Mansion} are known, which we have to think of (as I will show below) either as a replica of a fly, or, what is just as probable, even more probable, a large buzzing fly; but it is to be assumed that Phoenician peoples paid attention to other auguries, like their neighbors, the Israelites, who Moses (3:19,26) had to forbid paying attention to bird-calls. Admittedly, these and other Israelite superstitious inclinations belong to the earliest days of their cult and disappeared from the scene with the strengthening of Jehovah worship. Their pagan cousins, the Ishmaelite Arabs, needed even more coercion. Of them Cicero (De Divinatione 1.42) already says: "But the Arabs (and the Phrygians and the Cilicians), because they mostly used to graze their cattle, roaming the plains and mountains in winter and summer, therefore more easily noticed the songs and flights of birds." {See also 1.1 “The same art is believed to have been acquired also by the Egyptians through a remote past extending over almost countless ages. Moreover, the Cilicians, Pisidians, and their neighbours, the Pamphylians — nations which I once governed — think that the future is declared by the songs and flights of birds, which they regard as most infallible signs.” And 1.41: “On the other hand the Phrygians, Pisidians, Cilicians, and Arabians rely chiefly on the signs conveyed by the flights of birds, and the Umbrians, according to tradition, used to do the same.”} In a most interesting way, Cicero note is recently found by Emmanuel Miller (Revue archéologique, Vol.19 [1869] p.102 ff.) in a fragment of Appian {Roman History, fragment of Book 24}, in which the latter omits xxxxxxxxx; and tells how, during the Egyptian War {116-7 AD}, fleeing from Jewish rebels, he found his way across Arabia Petraea and was saved from arrest and death only by the fact that his Arab guide, after hearing a crow caw three times, prophesied the proximity of the river of his salvation. Appianus adds, "The Arabs are very keen in observation of religious customs, in the system of augury and herbal magic and they are happy to have the equally religious Egyptians as neighbors, an equally experienced people in augury, astronomy and the healing science." According to J. Grimm, pagan Arabs had in the two words "zeger” and "ijavet" almost synonymous expressions for ‘augurium’. A ‘zeger’ was when one threw a stone at the bird in question and shouted to it; if it flew to the right hand, it was good, if it flew to the left, it was bad. By ijavet, on the other hand, the Arabs understood the interpretation of the names of striking birds and the manner of their settling on the ground or on trees. The zenith of the science was bird linguistics, which has not yet fallen into oblivion in the Orient from Solomon’s day...

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I am fascinated by mantic specialists, shamanism, etc.
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