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put it to the route, asks, where was this herb when Rome was so distressed by the Cambri and Teutones ? Why did not the Persians make use of it when Lucullus cut their troops to pieces ?

But amongst all the incantations of magic, the most solemn, as well as the most frequent, was that of calling up the spirits of the dead; this indeed was the very acmé of their art; and the reader cannot be displeased with having this mystery here elucidated. An affection for the body of a person, who in his life time was beloved, induced the first natives to inter the dead in a decent manner, and to add to this melancholy instance of esteem, those wishes which had a particular regard to their new state of existence. The place of burial, conformable to the custom of characterising all beloved places, or those distinguished by a memorable event, was pointed out by a large stone or pillar raised upon it. To this place families, and when the concern was general, multitudes repaired every year, when, upon this stone, were made libations of wine, oil, honey, and flour ; and here they sacrificed and ate in common, having first made a trench in which they burnt the entrails of the victim into which the libation and the blood were made to flow. They began with thanking God with having given them life, and providing them necessary food ; , and then praised him for the good examples they had been favoured with. From these melancholy rites were banished all licentiousness and levity, and while other customs changed, these continued the same. They roasted the flesh of the victim they had offered, and eat it

in common, discoursing on the virtues of him they came to lament.

All other feasts were distinguished by names suitable to the ceremonies that attended them. These funeral meetings were simply called the manes, that is, the assembly. Thus the manes and the dead were words that became synonimous. In these meetings, they imagined that they renewed their alliance with the deceased, who, they supposed, had still a regard for the concerns of their country and family, and who, as affectionate spirits, could do no less than inform them of whatever was necessary for them to know. Thus, the funerals of the dead were at last converted into methods of divination, and an innocent institution of one of the grossest pieces of folly and superstition. But they did not stop here; they became so extravagantly credulous, as to believe that the phantom drank the libations that had been poured forth, while the relations were feasting on the rest of the sacrifice round the pit: and from hence they became apprehensive lest the rest of the dead should promiscuously throng about this spot to get a share of the repast they were supposed to be so fond of, and leave nothing for the dear spirit for whom the feast was intended. They then made two pits or ditches, into one of which they put wine, honey, water, and flour, to employ the generality of the dead; and in the other they poured the blood of the victim ; when sitting down on the brink, they kept off, by the sight of their swords, the crowd of dead who had no concern in their affairs, while they called

him by name, whom they had a mind to cheer and consult, and desired him to draw near.

The questions made by the living were very intelligible ; but the answers of the dead were not so easily understood ; the priests, therefore, and the magicians made it their business to explain them. They retired into deep caves, where the darkness and silence resembled the state of death, and there fasted, and lay upon the skins of the beasts they had sacrificed, and then gave for answer the dreams which most affected them ; or opened a certain book appointed for that purpose, and gave the first sentence that offered.t At other times the priest, or any person who came to consult, took Care at his going out of the cave, to listen to the first words he should hear, and these were to be his ans

And though they had not the most remote relation to the matter in question, they were twisted 80 many ways, and their sense so violently wrested, that they made them signify almost anything they pleased. At other times they had recourse to a num

wer.

· Homer gives the same account of these ceremonies, when Ulysses raised the soul of Tiresias; and the same usages are found in the poem of Silius Italicus. And to these ceremonies the scriptures frequently allude, when the Israelites are forbid to assemble upon high places.

+ The inagical slumbers produced in the cave of Trophonius are justly ascribed to medicated beverages. Here, the votary if he escaped with life, had his health irreparably injured, and the whole class of artificial dreams and visions, the effect of some powerful narcotic acting upon the body after the mind had been predisposed for a certain train of

ideas.

1

ber of tickets, on which were some words or verses, and these being thrown into an urn, the first that was taken out was delivered to the family.* Health, prosperity in worldly affairs, and all that was intermixed in the good or evil of this world were regulated by the responses or signs which these equivocal, not to say less than absurd, means afforded, of prying into the womb of future events.

AUGURY, OR DIVINATIONS DRAWN FROM THE

FLIGHT AND FEEDING OF BIRDS.

The superstitious fondness of mankind for searching into futurity has given rise to an infinite variety of

The sortes prænestinæ were famous among the Greeks. The method by which these lots were conducted was to put so many letters or even whole words, into an urn; to shake them together, and throw them out; and whatever should chance to be made out in the arrangement of these letters or words, composed the answer of the oracle. The ancients also made use of dice, drawing tickets, etc., in casting or deciding results. In the Old Testament we meet with many standing and perpetual laws, and a number of particular commands, prescribing and regulating the use of them. We are informed by the Scripture that when a successor to Judas in the apostolate was to be chosen, the lot fell on St. Mathias. And the garment or coat without a seam of our Saviour was lotted for by the Jews. In Cicero's time this mode of divination was at a very low ebb. The sortes Homerice and sortes Virgilianæ which succeeded the sortes Prænestince, gave rise to the same means used among christians of casually opening the sacred books for directions in important circumstances; to learn the consequence of events and what they had to fear among their rulers.

extravagant follies. The Romans, who were remarkably fertile in these sorts of demonological inventions, suggested numerous ways of divination. With them all Nature had a voice, and the most senseless beings, and most trivial things, the most trifling incidents, became presages of future events; which introduced ceremonies founded on a mistaken knowledge of antiquity, the most childish and ridiculous, and which were performed with all the air of solemnity and sanctity of devotion. Augury, or divinations founded on the flight of birds, were not only considered by the Egyptians as the symbols of the winds, but good and bad omens of every kind were founded or rather derived from the flying of the feathered tribe. The birds at this time had become wonderfully wise ; and an owl, to whom, for reasons not precisely known, light is not so agreeable as darkness, could not pass by the windows of a sick person in the night, where the creature was not offended by the glimmerings of a light or candle, but his hooting must be considered as prophesying, that the life of the poor man was nearly wound up.

Amongst the Romans, these auguries were taken usually upon an eminence : after the month of March they were prohibited in consequence of the moulting season having commenced ; nor were they permitted at the waning of the moon, nor at any time in the afternoon, or when the air was the least ruffled by winds or clouds. The feeding of the sacred chickens, and the manner of their taking the corn that was offered to them, was the most common method of taking the augury. Observations were also made on

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