The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

202 GREEK DIVINATION chap.

and their opponent's learning, the infernal powers of the deities of the heathen. Dio­cletian, we are told, was unable to read the future in the entrails of victims on whose foreheads Christian ministers had made the sign of the cross, for the sacred symbol had put the demons to flight.1

Related again to the doctrine of the real presence is the Platonic theory that the liver is a mirror for the divine thought, and the instrument by which divine inspiration is brought to pass. Hence, at the moment of death, traces may be observed in it, the fleeting relics of its supernatural functions.2

The third explanation, that the soul at the moment of leaving the body was cognisant of the future, is related to a very widespread belief relating to the borderland between life and death. It appears in a mild form in much of that pious tract literature of the last century, where the dying good invariably get a glimpse of golden gates and hear a strain of music from celestial harps before the last flicker of their earthly life is quenched.3 The theory appears

1 Lactantius, De mort. persec. 10; id. Inst. iv. (-De vera sapientia} 27. 10 ; cf. Min. Felix, Oct. 27. I.

2 Plato, Timaios 71.

3 In modern Greece the dying man is said to "see his angel," Rennell Rodd, Customs, etc. p. 113.

Pages
About | Preface | Contents | Index

201

202

203
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW