Oracles, magic and horoscopes. How Egypt saw into the future

Oracles, magic and horoscopes. How Egypt saw into the future

Gaining knowledge of the future and influencing the future for one’s own benefit: these were human aspirations already thousands of years ago. Also in Egypt private persons as well as statesmen wanted to be a bit ahead of their time using prophecies and oracles. The Austrian National Library houses in its Department of Papyri many extraordinary objects on this subject. About 70 of these unique historical treasures from more than 1,800 years of Egyptian history will be presented in the current exhibition "Oracles, magic and horoscopes". Written in Egyptian, Greek, Coptic and Arabic language and script, they offer a fascinating insight into the future of the past.
The preserved documents are not only an evidence of the divination practices themselves, but provide mainly an authentic impression of everyday life of those people, of their ideas, wishes and fears. The questions and issues that they were concerned with were then often the same as today: What about my happiness in love? What do the gods and the stars say about my future? Will I stay healthy?


Papyrus Museum, Heldenplatz, 1010 Vienna


24. June 2015 – 10. January 2016