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“If a city is situated on seven heights…” Current insights into Ancient Near Eastern divination
Divination always played an important role in Ancient Near Eastern politics, daily life, and even economy. Far beyond being a mere mean to foretell the future, divination sets the standards for the interpretation of the known world. The interpretation of the omina, including every sort of natural or man-provoked phenomena, constitutes one of the main channels of communication between man and the supernatural forces which shaped the world, i.e. the gods. Hepatoscopy (liver inspection of offered animals), libanomancy (observation of incense smoke), lecanomancy (observation of the ripples of the water), physiognomics (interpretation of the outer appearance of a human body), celestial omina, and dream interpretation are only a few of the multifarious branches of divination thoroughly explored in the Ancient Near Eastern traditions.
Recent years have witnessed a renewed interest in ancient divinatory practices, which led to the development of several research projects in universities and research centers in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, and other countries. The aim of this international conference is to bring together a representative group of specialists in the field of Ancient Near Eastern divination and to start a constructive multi-disciplinary dialogue. The conference covers a large geographic area including Mesopotamia, Syria, South Arabia, Anatolia and Egypt from the third millennium BCE to the Late Antiquity.
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