Anthropomancy: The Practice of Divining Human Entrails

Anthropomancy is the Divination of human entrails. This horrid form of divination is very ancient. Herodotus wrote that Menelaus practiced it when detained in Egypt because of contrary winds. Because of his barbarous curiosity he sacrificed two country children in order to discover his destiny.

Also, Heligabalus practiced anthropomancy.

Julian the Apostate incorporated anthropomancy in his magical operations. He had large numbers of children killed so he could read their entrails. During his last experiment at Carra, in Mesopotamia, he enclosed himself within the Temple of the Moon, and having performed all manner of evil within, he had the Temple doors sealed and placed a guard there so no one would enter until his return. However, he was killed in battle with the Persians. When men of Julian’s successor entered the Temple at Carra they discovered a woman hanging by her hair with her liver torn out.

It is speculated that the infamous Gilles De Laval also performed such hideous species of this divination. A.G.H.


Anthropomancy in Divination

Anthropomancy, a form of divination involving the examination of human entrails, is indeed one of the more gruesome and barbaric practices recorded in history. This practice, while rare, is noted in various historical accounts.


Historical Instances

  • Menelaus in Egypt: According to Herodotus, Menelaus, the legendary king of Sparta, resorted to anthropomancy while detained in Egypt due to contrary winds. This involved the sacrifice of two children to divine his future.
  • Emperor Elagabalus: The Roman Emperor Elagabalus, known for his eccentric and controversial reign, is also said to have practiced anthropomancy.
  • Julian the Apostate: Julian the Apostate, a Roman Emperor who attempted to restore paganism in the empire, reportedly incorporated anthropomancy in his magical practices. He is infamously known for killing children to read their entrails during his divination rituals.
  • Temple of the Moon Incident: Julian’s last known anthropomantic ritual took place in the Temple of the Moon in Carra, Mesopotamia. Following his death in battle, his successor’s men discovered a horrific scene in the temple, involving a woman with her liver torn out.


Gilles De Laval (Gilles de Rais)

  • Speculation: There is speculation that Gilles de Rais, a French nobleman and later a convicted serial killer of children, might have engaged in anthropomancy. However, this remains a subject of historical debate and is not definitively proven.


Context and Condemnation

  • Ancient and Rare Practice: Anthropomancy was a rare and highly condemned practice, even in ancient times. It represents one of the darker aspects of historical attempts to understand the future or divine will.
  • Modern Perspective: Today, it is viewed as a deeply disturbing and unethical practice, reflecting the extremes of human cruelty and superstition in historical contexts.


Moral and Ethical Considerations

  • Universal Condemnation: The practice is universally condemned in modern times and goes against all contemporary ethical and moral standards.
  • Historical Aberration: Instances of anthropomancy, as recorded in history, are often seen as aberrations and are not representative of mainstream religious or cultural practices of their times.


Source: 9.