Many of these pieces remind us of the oracles of the old heathen soothsayers, whose style is known to us from imitations, although we have perhaps not a single genuine specimen.
Cicero remarks on the existence among the Gauls of augurs or soothsayers, known by the name of Druids, with one of whom, Divitiacus, an Aeduan, he was acquainted.
The Scyths had a method of divination with sticks, and the Enarees, who claimed to be soothsayers by grant of the goddess who had afflicted them, used another method by splitting bast fibres.
In the rejuvenescence of the nation the old stays of that oppressive kingship which began with Solomon, the strongholds, the fortified cities, the chariots and horses so foreign to the life of ancient Israel, are no more known; they disappear together with the divinations, the soothsayers, the idols, the mazzebah and asherah of the high places.
Belief in the evil eye or shadow is universal, and spirit-raisers, soothsayers and rain-doctors are in repute.
According to J, Balaam was among his own people the BneAmmon when Balak sent messengers to him with presents such as soothsayers generally received, asking him to come and curse a people that had come up out of Egypt.
As he left no children, popular election was resorted to, and Aristodemus was chosen as his successor, though the national soothsayers objected to him as the murderer of his daughter.
The voice of the god might be uttered in omens which the skilled could read, or conveyed in the inspired rhymes of soothsayers, but frequently it was sought in the oracle of the sanctuary, where the sacred lot was administered for a fee by the sadin.
But in the desert there is no king and no sovereignty save that of the divine oracle, and therefore it is from the soothsayers or ministers of the oracle that a public ministry of religion can most naturally spring.
That the name of 17w was borrowed from the Canaanites appears certain, for that out of the multiplicity of words for soothsayers and the like common to Hebrew and Arabic (either formed from a common root or expressing exactly the same idea - '?Y'!', ' arraf; :h, habir; nisi, r i, hazi; p op, cf.
Xop87' 7), a class of soothsayers in Rome.
It was also used by a class of bards or itinerant soothsayers known by the name of vates, of whom the most famous was one Marcius, and in the "Fescennine verses," as sung at harvest-homes and weddings, which gave expression to the coarse gaiety of the people and to their strong tendency to personal raillery and satiric comment.