The Ancient Library
 

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248 GREEK DIVINATION chap.

of the omens given by birds will under favour­able circumstances develop into a systematic science of divination. And the variety of their cries, and the facility of observing their flight and its orientation, will naturally assist the development of what becomes quite an elaborate science with countless rules and conflicting interests to be balanced.1 The bird-lore of the Etruscan seers may almost compare in com­plexity with the science of extispication.

In Greece the meaning of the word olavds bears witness to the importance which augury must have assumed in the early stages of divina­tion. " You call every kind of omen a bird, we are your true mantic Apollo," claim the birds of Nephelokokkygia.2 Hesiod's happy man is he who can divine by birds.3 But, as a matter of fact, augury is of real importance only at the beginning and end of the history of Greek religion. In the " heroic " age it is practised by

1 See Servius, Aen. i. 393. In the dispute between Romulus and Remus the rival claims of priority and quantity have to be adjusted, Val. Max. (De auspicid) i. 4.

2 SpvLV rf vofilfrere •jrdvff' Sfrawfp Trepi /xavrefas StaKpivei' <t>1)IMl y' dli.1v Spun ttrrl, vrap/j.6f t' tipvtffa xaXeire, t-upftoKov &pvLV, tpwvty 6pviv, Oepdirovr' opviv, foov 6pvtv. 3.p ov tpavepws Tipeis vp-tv tfffj-ev navTeTos 'ATroXXaw; Aristoph. Birds 719; cf. Euripides, Helena 1051. 3 Hesiod, Op. et Di. 826-828—

r&<av ciiSatfiuv re ml 0ty3io5, $s rdSe iriivra ei'S<is fpydfyTat dvairtos affavd Spmffas Kflvav koj. Lnre/)/3a<rias

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