The History of Antiquity

The History of Antiquity

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Excerpt: the accession of a new king. 333 We are also told that this king of the Medes and that of the Persians, took the advice of the Magians on important occasions. Under the Arsacids they formed, along with the members of the race of the kings, the supreme council of the kingdom; in the time when this dynasty was at its height they ruled, as Pliny told us, "over the king of kings;" and we have seen (p. 60) that their influence under the Sassanids, at court, in the administration of law, and in politics, was even more powerful. Herodotus maintains that the Magians also occupied themselves with soothsaying and prophecy; like Ctesias, he ascribes to the Medes the interpretation of certain dreams and other miraculous acts. Of such interpretations and prophesying on the part of the priests the Avesta knows nothing, and those Greeks who were better informed, warmly contested the assertion that the Magians were occupied with such things. Plato tells us: "The Magism of Zoroaster is the worship of the gods;" and Aristotle assures us that the Magians knew nothing of soothsaying. 334 What Herodotus tells us, on the other side, he certainly did not invent, but repeats after his informants. The Medo-Persian Epos, which, though indirectly, forms the basis of Herodotus' account of the rise of Cyrus and the death of Cambyses, allowed a wide field, even in the account of the fall of the Assyrian empire (III. 264), to the astrological and prophetic wisdom of the Chald
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • 189 x 246 x 6mm | 222g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236715551
  • 9781236715555