noun (plural haruspices /həˈrʌspɪsiːz/)
(In ancient Rome) a religious official who interpreted omens by inspecting the entrails of sacrificial animals.
- In the case of the augurs or haruspices of Rome, the animal was sacrificed to permit contemplation of the entrails for prophetic purposes.
- The function of the haruspices was divination of the future from the entrails of sacrificial animals.
- The Assyrians believed the god Shamash the Sun sent messages to inform the haruspex (reader of entrails) of the structure of the universe at the moment the sacrificial knife struck the victim.
- Example sentences
- Ellis argues that geese were not sacred to Juno; they were used for haruspicy and later chickens were substituted for them.
- The Romans adopted the Etruscan art of haruspicy as one of their ‘unofficial’ forms of divination.
- The Roman Senate also held haruspicy in the highest regard and consulted haruspices before all important state decisions.
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