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Form: prevision of the future.
In general the word is applied to all prophecy or foretelling in the simplest sense of the word. Among the Romans prophecy was based, not on inspiration, as with the Greeks, but on the observation of definite signs, such as the omen (or voice), the prodigies and the auspices taken note of by the augurs (see AUGURES). The science of the haruspices (or the foretelling of events from the inspection of the carcases of sacrificial victims) was a later importation from Etruria. The ancient Romans were not familiar with the divinatio from sortes or lots, which was common in many parts of Italy. The Sibylline books threw no light on future events. (See SIBYLS.) Towards the end of the republican period the sciences of the augurs and haruspices lost their significance, and the Greek oracles, in the various forms of their craft, with the Chaldaean astrology, came into vogue, and carried the fashion in the society of the Empire. (Cp. MANTIC ART.)
Type: Standard
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