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Headword: Διαίρεσις οἰωνιστικῆς. Οἰωνιστική
Adler number: omicroniota,163
Translated headword: division of (the art of) augury
Vetting Status: high
Phrygians were the first to discover this art.[1]
Its [divisions] are:
(1) bird-augury; for example, when this particular bird flies, in front or behind, heading right or left, one would say what it means. Telegonus first wrote about this.[2]
(2) interpreting omens in the house, when there are things that happen in the house; for example, if a weasel or snake appeared in the house, or olive oil was spilt, or honey, or wine, or water, or ashes, or there was a grating of wood, or something else, it foretells such and such. Xenocrates first wrote collecting this.[3]
(3) interpreting omens on travels, as when someone explains things that happen on the way; for example, when someone carrying a particular thing meets you, that thing will happen to you. Polles wrote collecting this.[4]
(4) palmistry (hand-reading), as when, through the extension of hands and palm stretched out, we say, from the lines, "You are making a baby" or something like this. Helenus wrote collecting this.[5]
(5) the art of interpreting twitches is that recognized from the twitching of the body; for example, the right or left eye twitched,[6] or shoulder, or thigh, or an itching in the foot, or there was a ringing in the ear, it means this. Posidonius wrote collecting this.[7]
Greek Original:
Διαίρεσις οἰωνιστικῆς. Οἰωνιστική: ταύτην εὗρον πρῶτοι Φρύγες. ταύτης δὲ τὸ μέν ἐστιν ὀρνεοσκοπικόν: οἷον ὅταν πετομένου τοῦδε τοῦ ὄρνιθος, ἔμπροσθεν ἢ ὄπισθεν δεξιὰ ἢ ἀριστερὰ νεύοντος, εἴποι τις, ὅτι τόδε σημαίνει. πρῶτος δὲ ἔγραψε περὶ τούτου Τηλέγονος. τὸ δὲ οἰκοσκοπικόν, ὅταν τὰ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ συμβαίνοντα: οἷον εἰ ἐν τῇ στέγῃ ἐφάνη γαλῆ ἢ ὄφις ἢ ἔλαιον ἐχέθη ἢ μέλι ἢ οἶνος ἢ ὕδωρ ἢ τέφρα: ἢ τρισμὸς ἐγένετο ξύλων ἢ ἄλλο τι, τόδε προμηνύει: ὃ συνέγραψε Ξενοκράτης. τὸ δὲ ἐνόδιον, ὡς ὅταν ἐξηγήσηταί τις τὰ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἀπαντῶντα: ὅτι ἐὰν ἀπαντήσῃ σοί τις τόδε βαστάζων, τόδε συμβήσεταί σοι: ὃ συνέγραψε Πόλλης: τὸ δὲ χειροσκοπικόν, ὡς ὅταν διὰ τῆς ἐκτάσεως τῶν χειρῶν διατεινομένων καὶ τῆς παλάμης, ἀπὸ τῶν ῥυτίδων εἴπωμεν, παιδοποιεῖ ἤ τι τοιοῦτον: ὃ συνέγραψεν Ἕλενος. παλμικὸν δὲ τὸ διὰ τῆς πάλσεως τοῦ σώματος γνωριζόμενον: οἷον, ἐπάλθη ὁ δεξιὸς ἢ ὁ ἀριστερὸς ὀφθαλμὸς ἢ ὦμος ἢ μηρός: ἢ κνησμὸς ἐν τῷ ποδί, ἢ πρὸς τὸ οὖς ἦχος ἐγένετο, τόδε συμβαίνει: ὃ συνέγραψε Ποσειδώνιος.
The use of the Greek headword diaeresis for division is acceptable but rare English. The term for divination used here originally meant only 'augury', the interpretation of omens from the behavior of large birds such as eagles, but is here used to cover augury as only one of its five divisions.
The five sources named have not survived.
The attribution of these practices of reading (or, more literally, 'watching') omens to the Phrygians serves to remind us that Roman divination was to some degree derived from the Etruscans, who claimed descent from the peoples who preceded the Phrygians in that part of Anatolia. The list excludes Etruscan and Roman haruspicy, the reading of pulsing livers taken from sacrificed animals.
[1] Adler suggests that this comes from George the Monk, Chronicon 74.3. Also, at 74.20ff., George has material comparable with the remainder of the present entry but without the same level of detail; For that, including the names, see ps.-Nonnus, Scholia mythologica 4.72.
[2] cf. tau 485.
[3] cf. xi 43.
[4] cf. pi 1897.
[5] cf. epsilon 790.
[6] The form of the verb is post-classical.
[7] cf. pi 2110.
Keywords: Christianity; chronology; daily life; definition; food; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; medicine; religion; science and technology; zoology
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 21 May 2000@11:07:07.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; restorative and other cosmetics) on 12 September 2002@06:25:07.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 26 July 2006@07:58:14.
David Whitehead (augmented n.1; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 8 August 2013@04:25:17.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 9 November 2014@01:22:23.


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