lesbiassparrow: (THEY MOVE LIKE COUGARS)
[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
I think these are my favourite part of Roman religion. These were specially bred chickens that accompanied commanders to war. Before heading into battle their keepers would feed them and observe how they ate. If they didn't eat, the gods were telling you battle would not go in your favour. Not unnaturally this could drive commanders up the wall. In fact, in the First Punic War one naval commander tossed the lot of them over the side of his ship with the words 'if they will not eat, let them drink.' He suffered a horrible defeat at the Battle of Drepana, losing nearly all his fleet. The moral of the story: never, ever mess with the sacred chickens.

As I have no sacred chickens icon, I give you Marc Singer making his CRAZY EYES.

Date: 2010-02-25 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenofthorns.livejournal.com
Hee! I knew about the Holy Geese but not about the sacred chickens. What's up with the Romans and their worship of fowl anyway? :P

Date: 2010-02-26 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I always enjoy that while eagles are great, the Romans are also obsessed with seeing what domestic fowl do. It's so delightfully unromantic.

Date: 2010-02-25 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nutmeg3.livejournal.com
Stupendous! And I've decided my icon is of that foolish commander as he mourns his shortsighted behavior.

Date: 2010-02-26 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I love telling this story in class because people always think it's going to turn out that it doesn't matter and the commander wins. And then you point out that he got a whole fleet wiped out because HE WOULDN'T LISTEN TO THE CHICKENS.

Date: 2010-02-25 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wistfulmemory.livejournal.com
I now want a sacred chicken so it can tell me what I'm supposed to do with my life. *goes back to filling out job applications*

Date: 2010-02-26 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I have tried with the geese and ducks in the park, but they're always so greedy that the omens are always the same.

Date: 2010-02-26 03:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wistfulmemory.livejournal.com
I bet it didn't work because you hadn't raised the birds from birth and taught them what their sacred duty in life was supposed to be.

Date: 2010-02-26 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] namastenancy.livejournal.com
The Romans tried to blame their fowl obsession on the Etruscans, but I'm not buying it. Anybody who conquers as much territory as they did had a really really really focused interest in examining entrails, preferably bloody and at the end of a sword - human, animal and probably a few vegetable and mineral as well.

Date: 2010-02-26 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Bird were the Roman's crack. Future predicting crack with wings.

Date: 2010-02-28 07:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] namastenancy.livejournal.com
I think they liked swords too. Short, sharp and stabby swords. Good for slicing entrails of both human and bird.

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