Thursday, January 10, 2013


Meaning: divination by human entrails or human sacrifice, occasionally as a way of discovering how the gods felt about the sacrifice. This seems a bit rough on the sacrifice, particularly if rejected. The OED has one of its definitions-with-commentary:
Pretended divination by the entrails of men.
I'm not sure what genuine divination by entrails is called.

Usefulness: 2 (Symbolically, of course: "It wasn't an inquiry, it was anthropomancy - the minister gave him up to the masses to see which way the polls would go.")

Logofascination: 2

In the wild: Interestingly, if you search for this on Wikipedia, you end up at an article about Julian the Apostate, which doesn't mention it at all. Julian was accused of it, as was Heliogabalus, an earlier emperor  - each in their own way went against the religious beliefs of their time, so it's possible that these stories are propaganda by subsequent regimes.  You can find discussions and descriptions of anthropomancy out on the internet, but they're gory and depressing - man's inhumanity and all that. I don't recommend them.

Degrees: 1

Connections: n/a

Which is used in: the -mancy chapter, XXV: In which Panurge consulteth Herr Trippa. Herr Trippa has his little joke:
By anthropomancy, practised by the Roman Emperor Heliogabalus. It is somewhat irksome, but thou wilt endure it well enough, seeing thou art destinated to be a cuckold.

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