Rhapsodomancy is an ancient form of divination performed by choosing through some method a specific passage or poem from which to ascertain information.
There were various methods for practicing rhapsodomancy. Sometimes, individuals would write several verses or sentences from a poet on multiple pieces of wood, paper, or similar material, shake them together in an urn, and draw one out. Sometimes, they cast dice on a table that was covered with verses; the one on which the die landed was said to contain the prediction.
In ancient Rome, the method of sortes involved opening a book and choosing some verse at first sight. This method was particularly called the sortes Praenestinae; and afterwards, according to the poet who was used, sortes Homerica, sortes Virgilianae, etc.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica 1823, p. 794.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "article name needed". Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.