A Taxonomy of magicks derived from Timayenis’s A History of the Art of Magic
This name was given to divination through certain appearances in the air. Besides the observation of meteors it included the study of the clouds, both those in process of formation and those that assume a variety of shapes; for it was believed that the cloud-forms foretold the happy and unhappy aspect of the planets. It was claimed that the
four elements were peopled with spirits called sylphs, nymphs, gnomes, salamanders, etc. The gnomes were demons which lodged in the earth and were always intent upon
doing mischief. Water was the home of the nymphs, while fire was that of the salamanders. The sylphs, peopling the air, were the most beautiful and lovable creatures in the world. We are told that one could easily approach them, yet on one condition, which rendered it well-nigh impossible —it was, to be absolutely chaste.
Alectryomancy was an ancient kind of divination which attempted to foretell events by means of a cock, and was employed among the Greeks in the following manner: A
circle was made on the ground and divided into twenty-four equal portions or spaces ; in each space was written one of the letters of the Greek alphabet, and upon each of these
letters was laid a grain of wheat. This being done, a cock was placed within a circle and careful observation was made of the grains he picked up. The letters corresponding to
these grains were afterward formed into a word, which word was the answer decreed. It was thus that Libanius and Jamblichus sought who should succeed the Emperor Valens.
They pronounced certain mysterious words, and examined which would be the first letters discovered by a young cock which they kept without food for some time. The first letter was the Greek letter Theta (6), the second the Epsilon (e), the third the Omicron (o), the fourth the Delta (d), and thereby they came to the conclusion that the name of the successor would begin by Theod. Upon this the Emperor Valens put to death several of those supposed to aspire to the throne and whose name commenced by Theod ; as, for
instance, Theodestes, Theodulos, Theodoras, Theodotes, etc. He forgot, however, Theodosius, who succeeded him, and who received the epithet of the Great. The magicians attributed to the crowing of the cock the power to break up the meetings of apparitions and spectres.
Thus, in the play of Hamlet, Horatio, speaking to his friend
Hamlet about the ghost, says:
“My lord, I did.
But answer made it none : yet once, methought,
It lifted up its head, and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak ;
But, even then, the morning cock crew loud ;
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away ;
And vanished from our sight.”
From the Greek word aleuron, meaning flour, is a sort of divination practised by the aid of flour. It is sometimes also called alphitomancy.
From the Greek als, meaning salt. This is divination by
salt, which the ancients regarded as sacred. It is well known that salt was one of the most important ingredients in ancient Greek sacrifices ; in fact, to omit placing a saltcellar near the spot where the sacrifice was to take place was deemed the forerunner of great misfortunes. Among early Christians salt was regarded as the symbol of wisdom, and many people still regard it as a misfortune to spill salt accidentally upon the table.
This horrible divination was made by examining the entrails of the dead. Not a few instances are recorded where emperors and kings have caused to be strangled numbers of unoffending persons in the pursuit of this nefarious practice.
Prom the Greek apanto, to meet. It is divination by means of objects that one meets. Many have lived in constant fear of crows, black cats, and white hens. The Indians turn at once back into their houses if they meet a serpent on their way. In some parts of France the people fear to meet a rabbit, and peasants to this day believe that some misfortune will happen to them if on rising they come across a bare-headed woman.
Arithmomancy is a kind of divination or method of foretelling future events by means of numbers. The Gematria, which constitutes the first part of the Jewish Cabala, is a kind of Arithmomancy.
Astrology is generally divided into natural astrology, the science which predicts the motions of heavenly bodies and eclipses of the sun and moon, and judicial astrology, which studies the influence of constellations on the destiny of men and empires. The latter has taken root so deeply in the human mind that neither experience, nor the falsity of its predictions, nor the progress of civilization have been able to totally extirpate it. To this day, a few may be found who, from a superstitious reverence for the past, or the spirit of contradiction, pride themselves on their adherence to the belief in stellar influences. Even if the said science were exact, it is difficult to see the advantage which would result to the world at large for men to know their future; for they could not fight against the laws of destiny, while they would have a premature source of sorrow in case an ominous fate awaited them. What pleasure could such knowledge have brought to Socrates, Phocion, Caesar, Pompey, Charles I., Henry III., IV., Louis XVI., and many
others, whose names are inscribed on the bloody pages of history ?
According to Herodotus, a Greek historian, born about the year 484 B.C., the Egyptians must be considered as the inventors of astrology, while others claim that we must look to Chaldea as its birthplace. At any rate, it is difficult to trace its origin, and a minute discussion of the subject would carry us beyond the limits of the present work. M. F. Hofer, in his History of Astronomy, remarks : “If we wish to seek for the origin of the science, let us place a child or a savage in presence of the earth and the heavens, and ask what thoughts these suggest to him. We shall then obtain a clew to guide us on our path.”
Suffice to say, that in every “part of the ancient world astrology had its votaries, either as a native product, or transplanted at some unknown time, from some unknown region, and amalgamated so closely with the various local beliefs as to lose all trace of its protoplastic condition. The Chinese astrologists professed the power of producing or averting eclipses, the Etruscan priests asserted that they could draw down or divert lightning.
Among the Greeks, Chilon, the Lacedemonian, was the first who applied himself to the science of judicial astrology. He maintained that heat, humidity, cold, and dryness are the four qualities the different mixture of which makes the diversity of the temperament of man. Heat and humidity serve to generate, cold and dryness to destroy the body, and these four qualities are disposed in man according to celestial influences. The sun is the principle of heat, and the moon that of humidity ; and according to the disposition of these two great luminaries at the moment of the birth of the child, the latter brings to the
world the ferment of the malady which is to destroy it. It can easily be seen that, from the very first, judicial astrology, was, so to speak, a medical superstition. It did not, however, long confine itself to this one phase, for general predictions of all sorts soon became attached to it, and were freely made upon the authority of celestial influences.
According to the tradition of the Arabs, the sun presides over the brain, the heart, the marrow of the bones, and the right eye; Mercury over the tongue, mouth, hands,
legs, nerves, and imagination ; Saturn over the liver and right ear ; Jupiter over the navel, chest, and intestines; Mars over the blood and nostrils ; Venus over the flesh ; the moon over all the members, but principally over the brain, lungs, stomach, and left eye.
Hence the nature of every man is in direct rapport with the planet under which he is born. Thus, he who is born under the domination of the sun is beautiful, frank, generous; he who has been dominated by Venus is rich and fond of pleasure; by Mercury, clever, intelligent, and gifted with an excellent memory; by Saturn, unfortunate; by Jupiter,
just and famous; by Mars, happy and valiant. Colors even belonged to the different planets: black to Saturn; blue to Jupiter; red to Mars; gold to the sun; green to Venus;
white to the moon; and mixed colors to Mercury.
The horoscope of a child newly born may be predicted as follows: Let us suppose that it is born under the domination of the sun. According to the astrologers, the progression
which this planet accomplishes from the moment of the birth of the child forms, day by day, the principal determination of its fortune for every year. Thus, a child being born at ten minutes past one in the afternoon, its genealogical figure is computed upon that moment ; for it is the root of its life, and the general figure we are always to follow. But by computing the figure of the state in which the sun and all planets find themselves the following day at the same hour, and comparing this second figure with the first, we obtain the fortune of the second year of the life of the child. By continuing thus day by day, we can obtain the relation of that which will designate the figure of each
day to each year which corresponds to it. The ages during which astrologers were dominant, either by the terror they inspired, or by the martyrdom they endured when their predictions were either too true or too false, were the saddest in the world’s history. In the times of Augustus, it was a common practice for men to conceal the day and hour of their birth, till, like Augustus, they found a complacent astrologer. On the subject of astrologers there remains only to mention a few of their predictions remarkable, either for their fulfillment, or for the ruin and confusion they brought upon their authors. We begin with one taken from Bacon’s Essay of Prophecies: “When I was in France, I heard from one Dr. Pena that the queen’s mother, who was given to curious arts, caused the king her husband’s nativitie to be calculated under a false name, and the astrologer gave a judgment that he should be killed in a duel, at which the queene laughed, thinking her husband to be above challenges and duels; but he was slaine upon a course at tilt, the splinters of the staffe of Montgomery going in at his bever.”
A favorite topic of the astrologers of all countries has been the immediate end of the world. As early as 1186 the earth had escaped one threatened cataclysm of the astrologers. This did not prevent Stoffler from predicting a universal deluge for the year 1524—a year, as it turned out, distinguished for drought. His aspect of the heavens told him that in that year three planets would meet in the aqueous sign of Pisces. The prediction was believed far and wide, and President Aurial, at Toulouse, built himself a Noah’s ark—a curious realization, in fact, of Chaucer’s merry invention in the Miller’s Tale. In China any false prediction of the astrologers was punished with death. But, as the Latin poet Juvenal says in his Sixth Satire, the astrologers’ chief power depends on their persecution. One of the most famous astrologers of the Middle Ages was Tycho
Brahe, the astronomer roval of Denmark, who not only from his fifteenth year was devoted to astrology, but adjoining his observatory at Uranienburg had a laboratory built in order to study alchemy (the pretended art of making gold), and it was only a few years before his death that he finally abandoned astrology. We may here notice one very remarkable prediction of the master of Kepler, one of the founders of modern astronomy. He carefully studied the comet of 1577, and it announced, he tells us, that on the north, in Finland, there should be born a prince who should lay waste
Germany, and vanish in 1632. Gustavus Adolphus, it is well known, was born in Finland, overran Germany, and died in 1632. The fulfilment of the details of this prophecy was, of course, nothing but a lucky hit, but we may con- vince ourselves that Tycho Brahe had some basis of reason for his prediction. He was no dupe of vulgar astrology, but
gifted rather with the happy inspiration of Paracelsus, who saw in himself the forerunner and prototype of the scientific ascendency of Germany. Born in Denmark of a noble Swedish family, a politician, as were all his contemporaries of distinction, Tycho, though no conjurer, could foresee the advent of some great northern hero. Moreover, he was doubtless well acquainted with a very ancient tradition, that heroes generally came from the northern frontiers of their native land, where they are hardened and tempered by the three-fold struggles they wage with soil, climate, and barbarian neighbors.
Seeing that astrology once permeated all sciences, all religion, and all politics, it is not strange if traces of it crop up where we should least expect them. To astrological politics we owe the theory of heaven-sent rulers, instruments in the hands of Providence, and saviours of society. Napoleon as well as Wallenstein believed in his star. Many passages in our older poets are unintelligible without some knowledge of astrology. Chaucer wrote a treatise on the astrolabe, Milton constantly refers to planetary influences; in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Gloucester and Edmund represent respectively the old and the new faith. We still contemplate and consider; we still speak of men as jovial, saturnine, or mercurial ; we still talk of the ascendancy of genius, or a disastrous defeat.
From the Greek axe, a hatchet, divination by the axe. This instrument was placed in equilibrium upon a stake. Thereupon the names of suspected persons were pronounced.
When the axe made some movement during the pronunciation of any of these names, it was deemed a certain proof that the name was that of the guilty.
From the Greek belos, an arrow. This is a method of divination through the instrumentality of arrows, practised in the Bast, but chiefly among the Arabians. Ezekiel says that Nebuchadnezzar used this divination to ascertain the event of the war he was waging against the Jews.
In the employment of belomancy, two distinct methods were in vogue. One was to mark a number of arrows, and to put eleven or more of them into a bag. These were afterward drawn out, and accordingly as they were marked, or otherwise, were future events judged. Another way was to have three arrows, upon one of which was written, God forbids it me ; upon another, God orders it me; and upon the third, nothing at all. These were put into a quiver, out of which one of the three was drawn at random. If it happened to be that with the second inscription, the thing they consulted about was to be done; if it chanced to be that with the first inscription, the thing was let alone; and if it
proved to be that without any inscription, they drew over again. Belomancy is an ancient practice, and is probably that which Ezekiel mentions, chap. xxi. 21; at least St. Jerome understands it so, and observes that the practice was frequent among the Assyrians and Babylonians. Something like it is also spoken of in Hosea (the first in order of the minor prophets), only that staves are mentioned there instead of arrows, which is rather rhabdomancy (from the Greek rhabdos, stick) than belomancy. Grotius, as well as Jerome, confound the two together, and show that they prevailed much among the Magi, Chaldeans, and Scythians, from whom they passed to the Sclavonians and thence to the Germans, who were said by Tacitus to make use of belomancy. The Turks to this day foretell the result of a battle in this way.
From the Greek botanon, plant, divination by plants. We know very little how this sort of divination was practised, but evidently a considerable knowledge of natural history must have been necessary, if it were based upon the observation of phenomena that certain plants present.
From the Greek Kapnos, smoke. Divination by the smoke of sacrifices. If during a sacrifice the smoke was thin and light, curling itself and ascending straight up towards the sky, the omen was propitious; if it scattered itself in all directions, it was the contrary. Favorable conditions of the atmosphere were indispensable to attain the result wished for.
Divination by drawing cards.
This was another species of divination used by the ancients, and was performed by means of a mirror. Pausanias says that this method of divination was in vogue among the Achaians, when those who were sick and in danger of death let down a mirror or looking-glass, fastened by a thread, into a fountain before the Temple of Ceres; then, looking into the glass, if they saw a ghastly, disfigured face, they took it as a sure sign of death ; but, on the contrary, if the face appeared fresh and healthy, it was a token of recovery. Sometimes glasses were used without water, and the images of future things, it is said, were represented in them.
The Egyptian hierophants, as well as the magicians of ancient Greece and Eome, were accustomed to astonish their dupes with optical illusions, visible representations of the
divinities and subdivinities passing before the spectators in dark subterranean chambers. From the descriptions of ancient authors we may conjecture that the principal optical illusion employed in these effects was the throwing of spectral images of living persons and other objects upon the smoke of burning incense by means of concave metal mirrors. But, according to the detailed exposure of the tricks of the magicians, it appears that the desired effect was often produced in a simple way by causing the dupe to look into a cellar through a basin of water with a glass bottom standing under a sky-blue ceiling, or by figures on a dark wall, drawn in inflammable material and suddenly ignited. The flashes of lightning and the rolling thunder which sometimes accompanied these manifestations were easy tricks now familiar to everybody as the ignition of lycopodium and the shaking of a sheet of metal.
This operation consisted in burning upon coals the head of a donkey. This sacrifice was made to demons, and compelled them to respond to the questions addressed to them.
Wax was melted, and it was allowed to fall, drop by drop, into the water. The form which these “droppings” assumed indicated a propitious or unpropitious event. This divination is especially in vogue among the Turks.
Commonly known as palmistry. It is divination by inspecting the lines and configuration of the hand. Chiromancy seeks in the palm of the hand certain relations supposed to be closely allied with the seven planets. According to the palmisters the upper part of the thumb, or the elevation of the hand which is at the root of the thumb, is under the domination of Venus ; others, however, place it under that of Mars. The triangle formed by the lines of the hand is attributed by some to Mars and by others to Mercury. The capital letter A, formed and figured in the quarter of the hand which is dominated by Jupiter is a prognostic of wealth ; in the quarter of the sun, of a great fortune ; in the quarter of Mercury, of successes ; in the quarter of Venus, of inconstancy ; in the quarter of Mars, of cruelty ; in the quarter of the moon, of weakness.
The seven first letters of the alphabet, devoted to the seven planets, have each their particular signification, when they are formed by the seven lines of the hand. But as the
formation of letters is different in several languages the lines of the hand must necessarily have different meanings among the Arabs, Chinese, Greeks, French, English, etc.
The little white lines that are often to be seen upon the nails presage, when they are numerous, that the appearances upon which one counts are vain. We are told that the palmister should feel neither love nor hate toward the person whose hand he is examining. Under this condition only can the result prove true. The hand examined must be well washed and its possessor be in a state of complete tranquility, avoiding excess of heat or cold. There is also a dispute as to which hand should be examined. Some maintain that the right hand is the proper one among men, or those born in the day, while it is the left for women, or for those born in the night. Others claim the exact contrary.
In this sort of divination, not only are the lines of the hand observed, but also their largeness, length, color, and depth. The form and largeness of the hand is also considered, as well as the shape of the fingers and nails. The stupidity of palmistry is evident from the fact that among many thousand hands not even two are to be found alike.
See also: Rat & Raven – Chirologia
This kind of divination is performed by the throwing of dice or little bones, and observing the points or marks turned up.
At Bura, a city of Achaia, there was a celebrated Temple of Hercules, where such as consulted the oracle, after praying to the idol, threw four dice, the points of which being well scanned by the priest, he was supposed to draw an answer from them.
This word is derived from the Greek chleson, which signifies two things, viz., a report and a bird. In the former sense, cledonism should denote a kind of divination drawn
from words occasionally uttered. Cicero observes that the Pythagoreans made observations not only of the words of the gods, but also of those of men, and accordingly believed the pronouncing of certain words — e. g., incendium —at a meal very unlucky. Thus, instead of prison, they employed the term domicilium; and to avoid calling the Furies bythe name Erinyes, which was supposed to be displeasing to them, they said Eumenides. In the second sense, Cledonism would seem to be divination drawn from birds, the same as ornithomancy.
As the word implies, is the art of divination by a sieve.
The sieve being suspended, after the repetition of a certain formula, is taken between two fingers only, and the names of the persons suspected repeated. He at whose name the sieve turns, trembles, or shakes, is reputed guilty of the charge in question. This doubtless must be a very ancient practice. Theocritus, in his Third Idyllion, mentions a woman who was very skillful in it. It was sometimes also practised by suspending the sieve by a thread, or fixing it to the points of a pair of scissors, giving it room to turn,
and naming, as before, the parties suspected. In this manner coscinomancy is still employed in some parts of England. From Theocritus it appears that it was not only used
to find out culprits, but also to discover secrets.
This is a sort of divination performed by means of a ring.
It was done by holding a ring, suspended by a fine thread, over a round table, whose edge contained a number of marks with the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet. The
ring, in shaking or vibrating over the table, stopped over certain letters, which, being joined together, composed the required answer. But this operation was preceded and accompanied by several superstitious ceremonies. The ring was to be consecrated with a great deal of mystery. The person holding it was to be clad in linen garments to the
very shoes, his head was to be shaven all round, and he was to hold vervain in his hand.
The whole process of this mysterious rite is given in the 29th book of Ammianus Marcellinus.
(From exta and spicere, to view, consider.) The name of the officer who examined the entrails of the victim was Extispex.
This method of drawing presages relative to futurity was much practised throughout Greece, where there were two families consecrated and set apart particularly for the exercise of it. Among the Etruscans in Italy, likewise, the art was in great repute. Lucian gives us a fine description of one of these operations in his first book.
This species of divination, practised among the ancients, was performed by means of ventriloquism. There is another kind of divination called by the same name, which is performed by means of glasses, or other round transparent vessels, within which certain figures appear by magic art. Hence its name, in consequence of the figures appearing as if in the interior of the vessel.
Was performed by means of a number of little points or dots, made at random on paper, and afterwards considering the various lines and figures which these points present, thereby pretending to form a judgment of futurity, and deciding proposed question. Polydore Virgil defines geomancy as a kind of divination performed by means of clefts or chinks made in the ground, and he takes the Persian magi to have been the inventors
Geomancy is derived from the Greek yn, earth; and fAavreia, divination; it being the ancient custom instead of making use of the points above mentioned to cast little pebbles on the ground, and thence to form the conjecture.
Hydromancy, or the art of divining or foretelling future events by means of water, is one of the four general kinds of divination: the other three, depending upon the other elements, —viz, fire, air and earth—are denominated pyromancy, aeromancy, and geomancy, already mentioned.
The Persians are said to have been the first inventors of hydromancy. There are in existence various ancient hydromatic machines and vessels, which are of a singularly curious nature.
The art of divining the good or bad fortune which will befall a man from the letters of his name. This mode of divination was in very popular repute among the ancients. The Pythagoreans taught that the mind, actions, and success of men were according to their fate, genius, and name; and Plato himself inclines somewhat to the same
opinion. Thus Hippolytus (from the Greek hippos, horse) was observed to be torn to pieces by his own chariot horses, as his name imported; and Agamemnon signified that he should linger long before Troy; Priam that he should be redeemed from bondage in his childhood. To this also may be referred the lines of Claudius Eutilius:
“Nominibus certis credam decurrere mores ? Moribus et potius nomina certa dari? “
It is a frequent and just observation in history, that the greatest empires and states have been founded and destroyed by men of the same name. Thus, for instance, Cyrus, the son of Cambyses, founded the Persian monarchy, and Cyrus, the son of Darius, ruined it; Darius, son of Hystaspes, restored it; and, again, Darius, son of Asamis, utterly over- threw it. Philip, son of Amyntas, exceedingly enlarged the kingdom of Macedonia; and Philip, son of Antigonus, wholly lost it. Augustus was the first emperor of Rome,
Angustulus the last. Constantine first settled the empire at Constantinople, to which city he gave his name, and another Constantine lost it wholly to the Turks.
There is a somewhat similar observation that some names are constantly unfortunate to princes.—e.g., Caius among the Eomans: John in France, England and Scotland; and Henry in France. One of the principal rules of onomancy, among the Pythagoreans, was, that an even number of vowels in a name signified an imperfection in the left side of a man, and an odd number in the right.
Another rule, about as valuable as this, was that those per- sons were the most happy in whose names the numeral letters, added together, made the greatest sums; for this reason, said they, Achilles vanquished Hector, the numeral letters in the former name surpassing in number those in the latter. And, doubtless, it was from a like principle
that the Roman fops toasted their mistresses at their meetings as often as their names contained letters.
” Nalvia sex cyathis, septem Justina libatur.”
Ehodingius describes a singular kind of onomancy. Theodotus, King of the Goths, being curious to learn the issue of his wars against the Romans, an onomantical Jew ordered him to shut up a number of swine in small styes, and to give to some of them Roman, and to others Gothic names, with different marks to distinguish them, and there to keep them till a certain day. When the appointed day came, upon inspecting the styes, it was found that those to which the Gothic names had been given were dead, and those which had the Eoman names were alive; upon which the Jew foretold the defeat of the Goths.
The art of interpreting dreams, or a method of foretelling future events by means of dreams. This species of divination dates back to the earliest times. The Scriptures furnish sundry examples of celestial communications given to men in their dreams, as for instance the explication given to Pharaoh by Joseph. It was believed that to dream loss of teeth presaged some calamity or the death of a relative. To dream of black cats or white
hens was also considered a bad omen. To dream loss of sight foretold the loss of one’s children. If one dreamed of the loss of one’s head, arms, or feet, it was the loss of one’s father, brothers, or domestics. To dream that one had hair fine and well curled was a
sign of prosperity. If, on the other hand, the hair seemed to be neglected or scant, it was a sign of affliction.
To dream of garlands of flowers in their season was a happy omen; but if the flowers were out of season the dream was a presage of ill.
To dream of death foretold marriage.
To dream that one finds a treasure was considered as foreboding death and sorrow. To dream of looking into a mirror, if single, or to dream of some sorrowful event, foretold some good fortune about to occur.
This kind of divination is performed by means of the finger-nails. The ancient practice was to rub the nails of a youth with oil and soot or wax, and to hold up the nails thus prepared against the sun, upon which there was supposed to appear figures or characters which showed the thing required. Hence, also, modern chiromancers called
that branch of their art which relates to the inspection of nails onychomancy.
Is a kind of divination, or method of arriving at the knowledge of futurity, by means of birds; it was among the Greeks what augury was among the Romans.
A species of divination performed by means of fire. The ancients imagined they could foretell futurity by inspecting fire and flames. For this purpose they considered its direction, or which way it turned. Sometimes they threw pitch into it, and if it took fire instantly they considered it a favorable omen.
PSYCHOMANCY, OR SCIOMANCY.
An art among the ancients of raising or calling up the spirits or souls of deceased persons to give intelligence of things to come. The witch who conjured up the soul of Samuel, to foretell Saul the event of the impending battle, did so by sciomancy.
Was an ancient method of divination performed by means of rods or staves. In fact, this sort of divination dates from time immemorial. St. Jerome mentions it in his commentary on Hosea, where the prophet says : “In the name of God, my people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them; ” which passage that saint “understands to allude to rhabdomancy. The same is met with again in Ezekiel, where the prophet says: ” For the King of Babylon stood at the parting of the way,” at the head of the two ways, to use divination: “he made his arrow bright,” or, as St. Jerome renders it, he mixed his arrows; he consulted with images; he looked in the river. If it be the same kind of divination that is alluded to in these two passages, rhabdomancy must be a superstition similar to belomancy. These two, in fact, are generally confounded. So much, however, is certain, that the instruments of divination mentioned by Hosea are different from those of Ezekiel, though it is possible they might use rods or arrows, indifferently; or the military men might use arrows, and the rest rods. The women cut the rods very straight by means of secret enchantments, and during certain periods of time, designated very minutely by means of these rods, predicted the future.