The Art of Divination in the Ancient Near East

The desire for certainty in the face of an unknown future unified all classes in the ancient world. Stefan M. Maul, a noted expert on ancient Near Eastern divination, offers an overview of this fascinating subject.

The Art of Divination in the Ancient Near East

The Art of Divination in the Ancient Near East

You stars of Anu, I call on you! You stars of Enlil, turn to me!You stars of Ea, all of you together, gather around me!I have offered you a pure sacrifice,I have scattered pure incense to you,I have poured out pure beer for you.Eat what is pure, drink what is sweet!With these words, the Babylonians cried to the gods of the night as they prepared their sacrifices under a clear, starry sky.Discovering divine will was a part of everyday life for the people of the ancient Near East. Every state action and every military campaign was preceded by a king's meticulous ritual that petitioned the gods for a sure answer about the outcome of their endeavors. But royals were not alone in their quest. Wealthy merchants, simple craftsmen, poor widows--everyone wanted and needed to know the will of the gods. Those who could afford it sacrificed a flawless sheep, whose liver was used by the ritual priest to divine the answer.Others sought guidance in oil and flour. The desire for certainty in the face of an unknown future unified all classes in the ancient world.Stefan M. Maul, a noted expert on soothsaying in the ancient Middle East, offers an overview of this fascinating subject. Maul surveys the "art" of divination as it expanded from Sumerian roots to Babylonian mastery, cataloging its evolving methodology--from entrails to astrology--and the class of experts who performed it. He argues that the discernment of the will of the gods, far from being a cynical ploy of the elite, was a genuine attempt to unite Mesopotamian cultures under a common purpose. What seems to the post-Enlightenment world a mere superstition was, in its own way and to its own ends, a robust scientific enterprise that lent these ancient peoples a sense of control over a world populated by fickle forces. These rituals remind us that the desire to know the future is a part of what it means to be human, regardless of time or place.

More Books:

The Art of Divination in the Ancient Near East
Language: en
Pages: 358
Authors: Stefan M. Maul
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2018-08 - Publisher: Baylor University Press

You stars of Anu, I call on you! You stars of Enlil, turn to me!You stars of Ea, all of you together, gather around me!I have offered you a pure sacrifice,I have scattered pure incense to you,I have poured out pure beer for you.Eat what is pure, drink what is
Music in Religious Cults of the Ancient Near East
Language: en
Pages: 194
Authors: John Arthur Smith
Categories: Music
Type: BOOK - Published: 2020-11-09 - Publisher: Routledge

Music in Religious Cults of the Ancient Near East presents the first extended discussion of the relationship between music and cultic worship in ancient western Asia. The book covers ancient Israel and Judah, the Levant, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Elam, and ancient Egypt, focusing on the period from approximately 3000 BCE to
Art and Immortality in the Ancient Near East
Language: en
Pages: 350
Authors: Mehmet-Ali Ataç
Categories: Art
Type: BOOK - Published: 2018-03-08 - Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Discussions of apocalyptic thought and its sources in the ancient Near East, particularly Mesopotamia, have a long scholarly history, with a renewed interest and focus in the recent decades. Outside Assyriological scholarship as well, studies of the apocalyptic give significant credit to the ancient Near East, especially Babylonia and Iran,
Prophecy in the Ancient Near East
Language: en
Pages: 316
Authors: Jonathan Stökl
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012-04-18 - Publisher: BRILL

Prophecy in the Ancient Near East is the first book-length study that compares all evidence of ancient Near Eastern prophecy, focusing on the Mari texts. It re-evaluates recent scholarship and concludes that prophecy was a widespread phenomenon integrated into divination in general.
The Religious Aspects of War in the Ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome
Language: en
Pages: 440
Authors: Krzysztof Ulanowski
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2016-07-04 - Publisher: BRILL

This book, in minute detail, presents a polyphony of voices, perspectives and opinions, from which emerges a diverse but coherent representation of the complex relationship between religion and war in the Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome.

Popular All Time

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 23
Chainsaw Man, Vol. 6
Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol. 11
Chainsaw Man, Vol. 2
The Magic in this Other World is Too Far Behind! (Manga) Volume 7
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 1
Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 31
Chainsaw Man, Vol. 1
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 9
My Hero Academia, Vol. 27
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Vol. 20
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 11
Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol. 9
My Hero Academia, Vol. 28
Chainsaw Man, Vol. 3
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 10
My Hero Academia, Vol. 26
Sweat and Soap volume 8