<$BlogRSDURL$>
 


Friday, April 21, 2006

Hapax Legomenon 

In the study of all things mythological and ancient, hapax legomenon is one of my favorite phrases.

It is a word with an utterly mysterious meaning.

When a translator works on a translation of say, a cuneiformic inscription, she may encounter a word she has never seen before. If the word does not exist on any other tablet, and its meaning cannot be wrested from context, it is a hapax legomenon. An enigma. A puzzle.

posted 7:35 PM

Friday, April 07, 2006

Methods of Ancient Sumerian Determinism 

In my studies of mythology, I often come across fascinating glimpses into the lives of those from ancient civilizations.

The ancient Sumerians, for example, were firm believers in divination and determinism. To uncover the will of the gods, they used a variety of methods:

Extispicy -- examining the organs of animals. This was done at night. They searched for marks like spots on the liver.

Leconomancy -- pouring oil on water and reading the patterns created

Necromancy -- speaking to the dead. This was a risky practice, however, as they believed that the dead might not leave, or that they might be mischievous

Astrological -- reading the stars

Meteorological -- interpreting the weather

Teratological -- watching for signs, like if an animal gave birth to a monster

Augury -- watching the behavior of birds

Dream Interpretation -- reading the meanings of dreams. Dreams could be portends of what was to come. Kings made decisions based on dreams, and they could show what the afterlife was like.

Diviners had to be free people. They could not be slaves, and they traveled with armies to determine the outcome of battles.

posted 12:57 PM

Archives

April 2005   May 2005   September 2005   November 2005   December 2005   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   December 2006   January 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   February 2010   May 2010   October 2010   November 2010   February 2011   March 2011   May 2011   June 2011   July 2011   November 2011   December 2011   January 2012   February 2012   April 2012   May 2012   June 2012   July 2012   January 2013   February 2013   May 2013   April 2014  

 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?