From it many of the religious rites and ceremonies of Rome are said to have been derived, and even in imperial times a collegium of sixty haruspices continued to exist there.
Otherwise, reference was made for an interpretation to the pontifices in olden times,afterwards frequently to the Sibylline books,or the Etruscan haruspices, when the incident was not already provided for by a rule, as, for example, that it was unlucky for a person leaving his house to meet a raven, that the sudden death of a person from epilepsy at a public meeting was a sign to break up the assembly.
Anything abnormal found there was brought under the notice of the augurs, but usually the Etruscan haruspices were employed for this.
HARUSPICES, or Aruspices (perhaps "entrail observers," cf.
From the regal period to the end of the republic, haruspices were summoned from Etruria to deal with prodigies not mentioned in the pontifical and Sibylline books, and the Roman priests carried out their instructions as to the offering necessary to appease the anger of the deity concerned.
In this respect the haruspices ranked lower than the augurs, as is shown by the fact that they received a salary; the augurs were a more ancient and purely Roman institution, and were a most important element in the political organization of the city.
Under the empire, however, we hear of a regular collegium of sixty haruspices; and Claudius is said to have tried to restore the art and put it under the control of the pontifices.
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