Tuesday, 6 June 2006


In these days of hose-pipe bans this is appropriate. I just want to tell you about this word.

I have been reading Emilio Pasquini, Dante e le figure del vero: la fabbrica della Commedia (Milan: Mondadori, 2001), and he used the word rabdomantico. The word means a diviner, or more specifically a water diviner (or a dowser, as they are also known).

It comes from the Greek ῥαβδομαντεία, f. ῥἁβδος meaning 'rod', and μαντεία meaning 'divination, prophetic power'. Someone who practises this is called a rhabdomancer. P. G. W. Glare (in the Oxford Latin Dictionary) records the word rhabdos ~i, f. A rod-shaped phenomenon allied to a rainbow. ~os..generis eiusdem ad uirgae rigorem perlongum colorata nubecula dicitur, Apul. Mun. 16.


hesitant hack said...

The hazel stirred.

Miglior acque said...

Yes darling! You've reminded me. How lovely. I should have remembered, and posted it.


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