But in its second aspect it touched divination and astrology, of which Galen' says that the physiognomical part is the greater, and this aspect of the subject ' bulked largely in the fanciful literature of the middle ages.
Hepatoscopy, or divination through the liver, belongs therefore to the primitive period when that organ summed up all vitality and was regarded as the seat of all the emotions and affections - the higher as well as the lower - and also as the seat of intellectual functions.
There we are told that for purposes of divination certain signs were scratched on slips of wood from a fruit-bearing tree (including, no doubt, the beech; cp. book, German Buck, and Buchstabe, a letter of the alphabet); the slips were thrown down promiscuously on a white cloth, whence the expert picked them up at random and by them interpreted fate.
Amongst his scientific, theological and grammatical works mention may be made of De diis, containing an examination of various cults and ceremonials; treatises on divination and the interpretation of dreams; on the sphere, the winds and animals.
Philochorus also wrote on oracles, divination and sacrifices; the mythology and religious observances of the tetrapolis of Attica; the myths of Sophocles; the lives of Euripides and Pythagoras; the foundation of Salamis.
In many nations divination and priesthood have always gone hand in hand; at Rome, for example, the augurs and the XV viri sacrorum, who interpreted the Sibylline books, were priestly colleges.
Similarly dice are thrown for purposes of sortilege; the astragali or knucklebones, used in children's games at the present day, were implements of divination in the first instance.
Similar in principle is coscinomancy, or divining by a sieve held suspended, which gives indications by turning; and the equally common divination by a suspended ring, both of which are found from Europe in the west to China and Japan in the east.
He married a daughter of Tarquinius and succeeded to the throne by the contrivance of his mother-in-law, Tanaquil, who was skilled in divination and foresaw his greatness.
There are also indications that the extensive texts dealing with divination through the liver of sacrificial animals, which represents a more popular origin than divination through the observations of the heavens, based as it is on the primitive view which regarded the liver as the seat of life and of the soul, were brought into connexion with astral divination.