Worlds Full of Signs

Ancient Greek Divination in Context

Series:

Worlds Full of Signs compares Greek divination to divinatory practices in Neo-Assyrian Mesopotamia and Republican Rome. It argues that the character of Greek divination differed fundamentally from that of the two comparanda. Ample attention is given to background and method at first. Subsequent chapters discuss the divinatory elements – sign, homo divinans, and text, relating divination to time and uncertainty. This book brings together sources originating from various times and places, questioning these to consider both generalities of ancient divination and specifics of Greek divination. Greek divination was inherently flexible on many levels: these findings should be connected to Greek views on time and the future as well as the relatively low level of divinatory institutionalization.
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Biographical Note

Kim Beerden, Ph.D. (Leiden 2013), is Lecturer in Ancient History at Leiden University. Her main research interest is the history of ancient mentalities, especially the fields of food and religion.

Table of contents

Contents
Preface ................................................................................................................. vii
List of Abbreviations ....................................................................................... ix
Introduction ...................................................................................................... 1

Part One
Introduction to ancient divination
1 Historiography ........................................................................................... 9
2 Defining Divination .................................................................................. 19
3 Comparison ................................................................................................. 43

Part Two
Elements of ancient divination
4 T he Homo Divinans: Layman and Expert .......................................... 55
5 Significance of Signs ................................................................................. 107
6 Playing by the Book? Use of a Textual Framework ........................ 139

Part Three
Function of ancient divination
7 T ime and Divination—Divination and Time ................................... 173
8 Dealing with Uncertainty ....................................................................... 195

Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 223
Select Bibliography .......................................................................................... 231
Index of Modern Authors .............................................................................. 237
Index of Subjects .............................................................................................. 243

Readership

All those interested in the history of divination, ancient religions, Classical Studies, ancient Near Eastern Studies and comparative history of religions.

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