The logo of the Melammu Project

The Melammu Project

The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

  The Melammu Project
   General description
   Search string
   Browse by topic
   Search keyword
   Submit entry
   Open search
   Thematic search
   Digital Library
   Submit item
   Ancient texts
   Submit link
  Contact us

  The Newsletter
  To Project Information >


If the head quivers (1)

Printable view
Topics (move over topic to see place in topic list)

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

Hellenistic Empires
Hellenistic philosophers and scholars

This physiognomic text passage in Greek shows some similarities with the Babylonian counterparts.

pseudo-Melampus, On Divination by Twitches:
(2) If the head quivers or the hairs stand upright or are shivering in an unsuitable moment, continuously for a longer time, this indicates a plot or revenge from a member of one’s family or a relative; for a slave it means disease, for a girl blame, for a widow insult, for those who are poor and in need it means good things, for the rich it means lack of reverence of the gods and a change to their livelihood, for an ill person it means life.
(3) Otherwise: If the head quivers for a longer period, it means something bad. For a slave it means the death of his master, for a widow it means ruin … .
(4) If the whole head quivers, it indicates death: in others it means many good things.
(5) If the back part of the head until the crown quivers, it indicates for everyone plot from one’s enemies and adversaries, and the death of members of one’s household; for the others it means some chance event: for a slave it means something good, for an unmarried woman the encounter of a beautiful man, for a widow disease; in others it means that one’s wealth is in jeopardy, for a farmer it means exhaustion.
(6) If the right side of the head quivers, it indicates something good; for a slave it indicates joy and freedom, for an unmarried woman blame, for a widow something good and the continuation of widowhood.
(7) If the left side of the head quivers, it indicates ruin; for a rich man it means feasting, for a slave a change of household, for a crown blame, for a widow insult.

Source (list of abbreviations)
pseudo-Melampus, On Divination by Twitches


Geller 2001-2002, 71Geller, Mark J. “West Meets East. Early Greek and Babylonian Diagnosis.” Archiv für Orientforschung 48/49 (2001-2002) 50-75.

Amar Annus

URL for this entry:

No pictures