ASTROLOGY – COCK AND CHICKEN IN GREECE AND ROME (Post No.7867)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No.7867

Date uploaded in London – 22 April 2020   

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.

It is very interesting to study the origin of English words – auspicious, hygiene, panacea etc.

Let us look at two interesting anecdotes: –

Last minute in the life of Socrates

Socrates took the cup of hemlock/poison and drank it. At this all his disciples including Plato, Crito burst into tears. But Socrates was unperturbed. He rebuked them for crying.

Plato describes the death of Socrates —

“He walked about, when he said his legs were heavy, lay down on his back, for such was the advice of the attendant. The man who had administered the poison laid his hands on him and after a while examined his feet and legs, then pinched his foot hard and asked if he felt it. Socrates said , No; then after that , his thighs; and passing upwards in this way he showed us that he was growing cold and rigid. And again he couched him and said that when it reached his heart, he would be gone.

The chill had now reached the region about the groin, and uncovering his face, which had been covered, he said—and these were his last words –

‘Crito , we owe a cock to Asclepius . pay it and do not neglect it’.

‘That , said Crito, shall be done’. But see if you have anything else to say.

To this question he made no reply, but after a little while he moved; the attendant uncovered him; his eyes were fixed. And Crito , when he saw it, closed his mouth and eyes”.

This is from Plato’s description.

Asclepius – hygiene – panacea

Asclepius was originally a heroic Greek  physician, later seen as the god of medicine . He was the son of Apollo and pupil of Chiron . He extended his treatment to the resurrection of the dead. The religious cult of Asclepius mixed medicine with magic. The Greek god is usually portrayed with a staff, a serpent coiled around it, attended by a dog.  His children were Hygieia and Panaceia . Cocks are traditionally sacrificed to Asclepius. English words hygiene, panacea are derived from this.

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Chicken in Rome

In 249 BCE the Roaman consul Publius Claudius wanted to carry out a surprise attack on the  Carthaginian Adherbal’s fleet in the harbour of  Drepana—now known as  Trapani in  Sicily. Poor weather foiled the element of surprise and Publius took the auspices – (explained at the bottom) — to see what to do next. But the sacred chickens refused to eat. This was a bad omen. Publius determined to see the matter through, however.

“So they refused to eat, eh, he said.

Then they can drink” – saying this he hurled them overboard. By now Adherbal had sailed out of harbour and had the Romans trapped against the shore . Publius lost virtually every ship, returned to Rome in disgrace and was exiled – not for being defeated but for sacrilege! That was the point; since the Roman religion was ritualistic , it was no surprise that the gods would turn against you if you got the rituals wrong or ignored divine warning signs.

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Two more English words ‘Auspices’ and ‘Sacrilege’

Livy tells us that Numa wanted his reign to be validated by the gods. So auspices were instituted.

Auis – bird

Specio – I inspect

That is the will of gods was determined by looking for signs , usually in the flight of birds. The ritual , which anyone can perform , was similar to Etruscan versions and became standard for  all later bird auspices.

The literal meaning of sacrifice is

I make something sacred.

Latin ‘sacer’ – sacred+ ‘facio’ – I make. That is , I hand something over to a god and so that humans can use it no longer. The more precious the item made sacred and removed from human use, such as a bull, the greater the sacrifice and the more pleased the god would be.

‘Sacrilege’ is the violation of misuse of what is regarded as sacred.

Indians also follow AUSPICES until this day. All Tamil Panchangams (almanacs) has one page devoted for Five Bird Astrology (Pancha Pakshi Shastra) and Lizard Click Noise astrology. It is called Sakuna (omens) which came from the Sanskrit word for bird ‘Sakuna’. The world famous poet Kalidasa’s most famous Drama Sakunatalam means ‘Story of Bird Girl’. Sakunatala was a girl without name left in the middle of the forest and the birds brought her food and everything. Then Seer Kanva found her and raised her. So Sakuna is auspices. Varahamihira also devoted a few chapters for this Sakuna Shastra.

tags – Socrates, Crito, cock, chicken, sacrifice, Asclepius, Sakuna, Bird astrology

— subham—

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