lesbiassparrow: (Sacred chickens)
[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
I have just discovered the awesome fact that you could keep sacred chickens at home for personal consultation! Apparently Tiberius Gracchus (one of the Gracchi brothers who fought for land reform in Rome) had a coop of them. One morning he consulted their keeper who told him not to go the Campus Martius. Tiberius ignored this excellent advice (and stubbing his foot as he was leaving, plus the fact that three crows attacked him as he left home and tossed a tile at him) only to be killed by a Senatorial lynch mob. Alas, that the sacred chickens could not save him as he and his brother Gaius are both great heroes of mine.

And once in a while apparently the sacred chickens would make a break for it. Gaius Hostilius Mancinus was on his way to Spain as consul, when he decided to consult the chickens. Off they flew into a nearby wood never to be found again. Then when he was about to board a ship a voice cried out 'Stay, Mancinius.' And as if that weren't enough bad luck when he decided to board ship somewhere else a giant snake appeared and then disappeared. These all portended horrible disasters in Spain, which all came to pass. And would you doubt that they would once the sacred chickens got in on the act?

And in other information that will make you wonder how the Romans ever managed to create a mighty empire, the evil omen of a SQUEAKING MOUSE made Fabius Maximus give up his dictatorship and his lieutenant his Mastership of the Horse. I repeat, A MOUSE.

And just so we don't leave out the gods: the goddess Juno gave the Carthaginians victory during the Second Punic War in the battle of Cannae because the consul Varro had when an aedile placed a very handsome boy actor in the wagon of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and hadn't expiated the insult to her honour. During this same war we are told that an child was born with the head of an elephant (never a good sign, not least for the poor labouring mother), that a wolf in Gaul stole a sentry's sword from its sheath, and an ox owned by Gnaeus Domitius cried out "Beware, Rome!" A busy time for omens, indeed.

This information is brought to you by book 1 of Valerius Maximus' Memorable Deeds and Sayings

Date: 2011-07-14 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wistfulmemory.livejournal.com
That is so awesome. I definitely learn way more from your sacred chickens posts than I do in the books I'm having to read for my challenge exams.

Date: 2011-07-15 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I think you need to get some sacred chickens and consult them about your exams. Maybe scatter some corn on the books and see which ones they peck first and study those harder.

(Does your family in ND have any chickens that you could use?)

Date: 2011-07-15 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] namastenancy.livejournal.com
I will be sure to watch out for any chickens running amuck should I ever attend a ceremony.

Obviously the Romans had only a vague notion of cause and effect but to tremble with fear at a mouse.

On the other hand, one mustn't tempt the wrath of the gods or the goddess - so, no harm in being careful. Just look at what happened to poor Tiberius Gracchus.

Date: 2011-07-15 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I just keep wondering how they heard the mouse given all the racket people were probably making. I am also not convinced that Fabius just didn't make it up to get out of being Dictator.

Date: 2011-07-15 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nutmeg3.livejournal.com
I do hereby solemnly swear that I will always listen to the chickens.

Date: 2011-07-15 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
One ignores the chickens at one's peril. They know things well beyond our ken.

Date: 2011-07-15 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cbackson.livejournal.com
Oh my goodness! Maybe I should have been consulting my chickens about various matters of import. Or maybe I should sell their services to others!

Date: 2011-07-15 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Over the recent weeks I have been contemplating setting myself up as an oracle of sorts. All I would need is some chickens and some corn and I could work as a consultant via the internet. Ask me a question and I will ask the chickens for they are wise beyond human knowledge!

Alas for the fact that I cannot keep chickens in my apartment.

Date: 2011-07-15 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cookiesworld17.livejournal.com
I live in a city where we are allowed to have chickens within city limits (as long as we don't have a rooster). My question is, if I decide to get some chickens, how do I have them declared 'sacred chickens'? And will the eggs taste better?

Date: 2011-07-15 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I think you could get some chickens and anoint them with oil. Just not cooking oil because you might freak them out. And then you could make money running a sacred chicken consultation service. Like a palm reader but with chickens!

Date: 2011-07-15 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Damn. A mouse.


The Grachhi are heroes of mine, too.

Date: 2011-07-15 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Either someone had exceptionally good ears given that this happened during the taking of the auspices on the Campus Martius or there was a bit of fudging the truth going on. Though I do like the idea of the entire political machinery of Rome grinding to a halt because of a mouse.


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