Divination on a wild boar's entrails

Divination on a wild boar's entrails

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Credit: BRITISH LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Divination on a wild boar's entrails. Illustration of the classical Roman practice of divination by examining the entrails (internal organs) of an animal (here a wild boar). Known as haruspicy and carried out by a haruspex, this was done to predict the will of the gods. Arm bones are used as a weighing balance (lower right), with a skeleton model and geometric theorems at centre right. This artwork is the frontispiece from the fifth edition (1740) of 'The Anatomy of the Human Body' by English surgeon and anatomist William Cheselden (1688-1752). This book was first published in 1713 and was re-issued through 13 editions. It was popular due to being written in English instead of Latin.

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