Alternatively Auspex, Aruspex, and Haruspex.
A soothsayer, prophet or diviner. Also, to conjecture from signs or omens, to divine or predict, as from omens; to prognosticate; presage.
Originally the term Augur was applied to the priest or religious authority who interpreted omens from the flight, song and feeding of birds (etymologically connected with the Latin avis, 'bird').
In ancient Rome Augurs were the officials in charge of observing and interpreting omens for guidance in public affairs. They adopted many of their practices from the older Etruscan culture, passing their intricate system orally from generation to generation.
There was a specific spot on top of the Roman Capitol from which the Augurs, with veiled heads, read the auspices in the flight of birds. Augurs also accompanied Roman armies and fleets, specifically to read the omens before an engagement was entered upon.
As time went by, augury became institutionalized in the Roman Republic, and Augurs were gathered into a formal college (The College of Augurs), along with the pontiffs, who administered public ceremonies, and the keepers of the Sibylline books (a collection of ancient oracular prophecies). The augurs' readings were recorded and stored, with the subsequent outcomes, in secret archives.
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Sources: (1) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (2) Zolar, Encyclopedia of Ancient and Forbidden Knowledge, Souvenir Press Ltd; (3) Pickover, Clifford A., Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction, Prometheus Books; (4) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group; (5) Bailey, Nancy (editor), The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Spells and Magic, Sterling Publishing.
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