Archives: November 2015

The practice of Haruspicy

So, I’m trying out Nanowrimo again this year. It’s never worked out very well for me in the past, but what the hell? I need practice at writing consistently day by day, so I’m focusing on that and letting the 50,000 word goal for the month fall where it may.

I came to a point in the manuscript where a character was reading entrails. As you do. And it’s easy to find an article online about the history of haruspicy (hello, Wikipedia), but I needed a little more information on how it was actually practiced. For verisimilitude. I’m not planning on sacrificing any sheep or chickens. As far as you know.

And I came upon this nice explanation of the ritual and translation of the quadrants of the liver that were used for divination. Of course, it’s a little weird in that it suggests you use an egg instead of a sheep’s liver to perform your own modern ritual. I figured it was a pagan website of some sort, which is cool. But then I noticed the url. UTK.edu. University of TN-Knoxville. Apparently, it’s the website of an associate prof, although not in Classics as you might imagine, but electrical engineering and computer science. You just never know.

Anyway, it was exactly what I needed for research. So go, alma mater, you stay weird.