Encyclopedia > Hepatoscopy

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Hepatoscopy is a form of divination using the internal organs of sacrificed animals, specifically the liver.

The Babylonians were famous for hepatoscopy. The liver was considered the source of the blood and hence the base of life itself, from this belief the Mesopotamians deemed the liver of special sheep the means to discover the will of the gods. The priest, called a bara, was specially trained to interpret the 'signs' of the liver. The liver was divided into sections with each section representing a particular deity.

The Etruscans were also well known for the practice of divining by the entrails of sheep; see haruspex.

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