The Ancient Library

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On this page: Manilius – Manipulus – Mantike



sacrificed to her, to insure the prosperity of a family. At a later period heads of poppies and garlic were offered to her, and woollen dolls, mania;, called after her, were suspended on the doors as a protection. As Memo. Genita she received the sacrifice of a dog and was implored not to let any of the family become a " good one," i.e. die. In the course of time Mania became a bogy with which children were threatened.

Manilius. The reputed author of a Latin didactic poem about astronomy and astrology (Astrdndmica), in five books, the first of which was written under Augustus, after the battle in the Saltus Teutoburgicnsis, 9 a.d., and the fifth under Tiberius. The first two books treat of astronomy as the foundation of astrology; the rest, of the influence of constellations on human destiny. The author certainly intended to write a sixth book, but it has either been lost or was never written. The poet, who shows extensive knowledge, frequently boasts of having been the first among Roman poets to treat the subject, and handles his diffi­cult theme with a dexterity and a moral earnestness that recall Lucretius, whose language he has frequently imitated. In metrical skill he is on a par with the best poets of the Augustan age.

Manlpftlus. A subdivision of the Roman legion (q.v.), which had thirty of them (three in each of the ten cohorts). The manipulus consisted of two centuries.

Mantlke (so. techne) is the name given by the Greeks to the gift or art of divina­tion. The belief of the ancients, that it was possible to find out what was hidden or what was going to happen, sprang from the idea that the gods, when implored by prayer, or even when unimplored, graciously com­municated revelations to men, by means of direct inspiration or through signs requiring interpretation. Hence the ancients dis­tinguished between natural and artificial divination.

Divination is natural, when a man receives the inspiration of the divinity in a dream or in an ecstatic state. The belief in divine inspiration in dreams is of the greatest antiquity (see dreams), and con­tinued to be held when the natural causes of dreams had been ascertained. The meaning of prophetic dreams cannot, how­ever, always be immediately comprehended ; they are mostly symbolical and therefore require an interpretation. As a guide to this, there arose in the course of time cer­tain rules resulting from experience, which

produced a special art, that of interpreting dreams, of which some idea is given by the Oneirocrltica, on the interpretation of dreams, by ArtSmldorua (?.«.). Similarly, the dreams obtained by sleeping at holy places (incubMio, see incubare), which were always considered prophetic, usually needed a priest to interpret them.

The power of more or less clearly seeing in waking hours things concealed from ordinary vision was believed by the Greeks to be a special gift of Apollo. It is from him that Homer makes Calchas receive his revelations, although no mention is made of his being in the ecstatic state usually connected with this kind of soothsaying. At the oracles this state was usually pro­duced by external influences (see oracles) ; women were held to be particularly suscep­tible to them. Besides oracles and persons reputed to be inspired, use was made of various collections of older oracular sayings and pretended predictions of prophets and prophetesses of former times. Such col­lections were not only in the possession of states and priesthoods, but also in that of private individuals, called chresmoldgl, who drew on their store when paid to do so by those who believed in them, and often also explained the dark sayings. Like the prophets by immediate inspiration, those also were called seers who interpreted according to certain rules the divine signs, which formed the subject of the artificial variety of the art of divination.

From the very oldest times special im­portance was attached to omens of birds (whether in answer to prayer or not), which were discriminated from one another by various rules, with regard partly to the kind of birds, partly to the manner of their appearing ; e.g. direction (favourable from the right, unfavourable from the left), flight, alighting, singing, and anything else they did. The principal birds consulted were the birds of prey that fly highest and alone, the eagle (the messenger of Zeus), the heron, the hawk, the falcon, and the vulture; in the case of ravens and crows the cawing was an omen.

Second in importance were the various phenomena of the sky considered as divine signs. Whether thunder and lightning were favourable or not was also decided by the direction, right or left, from which they came. At Sparta shooting stars were thought to show that the gods were dis­pleased with the kings. Eclipses of the sun and moon, comets, and meteors were

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