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Title: The Omen of Sneezing
Author(s): VAN DER HORST, Pieter W.
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 43    Date: 2013   
Pages: 213-221
DOI: 10.2143/AS.43.0.2992610

Abstract :
In this article the most important evidence concerning sneezing lore in the Greek and Roman world is assembled and evaluated. It turns out that great divinatory value was ascribed to sneezing. A sneeze was seen as a sign from the gods that certain things were going to happen or as a warning to abstain from certain activities. The interpretation of the sneeze depended upon who it was that sneezed, from what side the sneeze came, at what time the sneeze was heard etc. Even though throughout antiquity there were critical voices with regard to this practice, it seems that taking sneezes seriously as signs from heaven was a widespread phenomenon among Greeks and Romans.

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