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*Herodotus quoted a Babylonian omen (1)

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05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

Achaemenid Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
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In the episode recounting Darius’ recapture of Babylon, Herodotus records the taunt of a Babylonian soldier against the Persians: ‘for you will take us at the time when mules give birth’. This phrase reflects the type of birth-omen found in the Akkadian manual Šumma izbu: “If a ewe gives birth to a lion, and it has no right eye, the city will be taken by means of a breach.”


Dalley and Reyes 1998, 109-110Dalley, S. and A. T. Reyes. “Mesopotamian Contact and Influence in the Greek World.” In: S. Dalley (ed.). The Legacy of Mesopotamia. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998, 85-124.

Links (external links will open in a new browser window)
Cf. Assyrians (= Babylonians) in the Persian army (1)
Cf. Babylonia = Assyria (2)
Cf. Babylonia = Assyria (3)
Cf. A custom relating to healing (1)
Cf. Herodotus on the Babylonian burial customs (1)
Cf. Herodotus on the Babylonian cult of Ištar (1)
Cf. Herodotus on the Babylonian customs (1)
Cf. Herodotus on a Babylonian marriage custom (1)
Cf. Herodotus on the Babylonian population (1)
Cf. Herodotus’ description of Babylon (1)
Cf. Herodotus’ description of Babylon (2)
Cf. Herodotus on the walling of Babylon (1)
Cf. The temple of Bel in Babylon (1)
Cf. The two queens of Babylon (1)

Stephanie Dalley

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