The Ancient Library
 

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XII

AUGURY 249

the mythical heroes and seers, Teiresias, Melam-pus, and the like; it comes into fashion again with the spread of Pythagoreanism,1 and that new development of Greek religious philosophy which was definitely a cast back to the primitive ideas of the lower stratum. Regarded merely as signs or indications exhibited by the Olympian gods, birds could not maintain their pre-eminent position against the encroachments of divination by entrails. Augury itself, as it was practised in the golden age of classical antiquity, appears to have taken on something of the colour of a sub-rite of sacrifice, if M. Bouche Leclerq is right in his explanation of the augural pre-eminence of carnivorous birds.2 But alike in the dim past reflected by myth and in the age of Apollonios of Tyana augury is represented less as an hieratic art than as a magical power of understanding the language of birds,8 a power which might be obtained in a mode readily intelligible to the Lower Culture— union by eating.4

1 Bouch^ Leclerq, op. cit. i. p. 142. 2 Of. fit. i. p. 129.

3 ko.itoi el Set irtffTctifi.? rots TraXcuois Kal rots ^0' -r^fjiuv Kal twv iraripwii yeyovbaui, elirlv ot \tyovrai eiraKovaat, Kal viiveatv ?xei" "?s rCiv ftfJaH' <j>0€y!-ew cjs twi fj.^v rwv TraXaiwy 6 MeXd/xirous Kal o Tetpecrtas Kal ol toiovtoi, oir irpb ffoXXoO 5£ 'A7roXX(6i>ios 6 Tuapefo, Porphyry, Deabst. iii. 3. Cf. ib. iii. 4; Philostratos, Vit, Apoll. i. 20, 21. Pythagoras used to converse with his eagle, Amm. Marc. xxii. 16. 21.

4 Porphyry, De abst. ii. 48.

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