Between divinatory and magical practices in Mesopotamia


Słowa kluczowe:

divination, magic, Mesopotamia, Maqlu, āšipu, baru, Shamash, Ea (Enki), rituals


The article deals with the question of where, in Mesopotamian terms, the possible border between divination and magic is. In ancient Mesopotamia, the notions of divination and magic intermingled because they both referred to one conceptual whole and represented one coherent world. Can we define the scope of these concepts and the boundaries between them? More specifically, was divination a magical practice for the Mesopotamians, or to what extent was divination likely magical? One of the earliest modern (1900 AC) works to discuss divination is entitled The Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon, which suggests that Western scholars treat magic and astrology (one of the branches of divination) as being on the same level. A comparison of selected divinatory and magical texts serves as a canvas for further research and discussion.