The Ancient Library

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the Persian lekanomanteis and hydromanteis,1 and Aelius Spartianus, commenting on the weakness of the Emperor Didius Julianus for foreign superstitions, speaks of the magic mirror in connection with the magi.2 But the Persian origin of this mode of divination need hardly be seriously considered, and there is as little reason to suppose that it came to classical lands from Persia as there is for believing that augury was the invention of Arabs or Cilicians. The origin of the rite seems linked with the magical qualities of holy wells whose efficacy must date back to a very remote antiquity, and its practice is found independently in many parts of the world, as far afield, for instance, as British New Guinea.3

One may perhaps begin a survey of lekano-mantic methods by noticing those cases in which the determining factor in causing the use of the bowl of water seems to be its convenience as an instrument rather than any mystic or esoteric belief. In North Africa to-day divination is practised by throwing pieces of gold and silver into a cup of liquid,4 and

1 Strabo xvi. z. 39, 762. The original authority for the Persian origin of the rite seems to be Varro, Aug. De civ. dei vii. 35.

2 Ael. Spartianus, Did. Julianus vii. 10, Scrip. Hist. Aug. (Teubner) i. p. 133.

3 Seligmann, The Melanesians of British New Guinea, p. 655.

4 Doutte, Magie et religion dans I' Afriqtie du Nord, p. 388.

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