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Extra resources for The Seer in Ancient Greece
19 the reply to the question used to be a binary definite or no verdict. the results of the extispicy, even if the god’s solution used to be certain or no, was once arrived at by means of calculating the sum of confident and damaging, favorable and negative, omens from many of the organs. 20 The arrangements for the extispicy ritual appear to have been particularly broad, and that can clarify why they happened just once an afternoon by way of the Neo-Assyrian interval. Did the Greek seer commence with a prayer of invocation, as within the historical close to East, or used to be the Greek ceremony a far less complicated and swifter ritual, as one of the Azande, who with out a lot rite simply placed an easy query to the poison oracle? to pass judgement on from our literary assets, which can abridge the approach, the ritual used to be very simple and will be repeated as much as 3 times in a single day. Xenophon, as pointed out sooner than, even sacriﬁced sufferers immediately. we haven't any proof that intricate prayers or wide initial rituals of any sort have been conducted, or that the seer had to research any a part of the exta except the liver. The technical features of sacriﬁcial divination were the subject of numerous stud- 18. this can be the implication of Xen. Anab. 6. five. eight. 19. See Starr 1983: 30–106; Jeyes 1980; Starr 1990: Cryer 1994: 168–80. 20. See Oppenheim 1977: 206–27. T h e S e e r i n Wa r fa r e . 161 ies. 21 but the excellence among many of the varieties of sacriﬁce is all too usually an issue of bewilderment in glossy commentaries and armed forces histories. The expert literature on those technical, but essentially vital, facets of divination has easily no longer reached a wide-enough viewers. One deceptive characteristic of our literary texts is their shorthand of claiming that “someone sacriﬁced,” even if that somebody be Xenophon or a Spartan king. One could take this to intend that the individual made the sacriﬁce himself with no seer in attendance, yet normally what the textual content rather capacity is seer performed the sacriﬁce on behalf of the named person, who stood by way of and watched. there's an unambiguous instance of this example in Xenophon’s Anabasis (2. 1. 9), the place one of many attendants of the Spartan normal Clearchus summons him from a gathering to envision the entrails that have been faraway from a sacriﬁced animal, “for he [Clearchus] occurred to be carrying out a sacriﬁce. ” Clearchus evidently used to be sacriﬁcing via a proxy, who summoned him after the entrails have been got rid of. this sort of shorthand is similar to having contributors communicate with no interpreters whilst one occasion doesn't be aware of Greek. (In Xenophon’s Anabasis Cyrus occasionally makes use of an interpreter while talking to Greeks, and infrequently no interpreter is pointed out. the most obvious end is that Cyrus doesn't recognize Greek and that Xenophon doesn't desire to encumber his narrative via declaring an interpreter in each one instance). at any time when the narrative demands precision of expression, Xenophon makes it specific seer is sacriﬁcing for him. 22 So too Spartan kings, we may possibly think, have been observed via seers who played the particular divinatory sacriﬁce.