Iconography of the Etruscan Haruspex
The religious rituals of the Etruscans incorporated several forms of divination including the practices of extispicy and hepatoscopy, the arts of divining through the examination of sacrificed animal entrails, and specifically the liver. This practice was carried out by a religious specialist known as a haruspex. Past academic treatment of this figure is limited and lacks specific and focussed studies devoted to examining the profession of haruspicy and the individual haruspex particularly in the English language. This study aims to expand the evaluation of the haruspex figure through a detailed examination of iconography as represented by archaeological evidence. This iconography is present on such evidence as mirrors, cinerary urns and bronze figurines representing one of the most famous individuals and professions of the Etruscans. This work aims to analyse this iconography from several angles with a view to discussing a number of questions. How can an image be defined as a haruspex? Who were they and what did they look like? Where did they practice and was anyone else involved? This can be established by considering such angles as gender, gesture, context, clothing, appearance and accompanying inscriptions. Alongside this analysis is an assessment of the treatment of haruspices in ancient and modern day literature as well as an examination of the myth that surrounds the origin of haruspicy within Etruria. This combined analysis allows the social and political status of this figure to be considered while a definition of the haruspex regarding their role and representation within Etruscan society is established.