Rhapsodomancy

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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.[1]

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  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica 1823, p. 794.

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