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What is a soothsayer?

A soothsayer is believed to be a person who can predict and foretell the future. They are much like prophets, seers and oracles; they can sense what is in store or what is about to happen in a person’s life. Soothsayers can also provide insightful and wise counseling inspired by the gods.

Back in the ancient time in Rome, soothsayers were well-respected. They were consulted, most of the time, by the emperors and the reigning administration before planning, making and executing major political decisions and judgment towards the people.

Different ways of voicing their prediction of the future had been practiced and observed by soothsayers. Sometimes, they use animal livers from animal sacrifices to seek for a sign or an omen. But sometimes, they believe that warnings and portents come in different forms like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and other natural calamities, these are known and deliberated to be portentous and inauspicious omens. They also consider births with an abnormality, such as a goat with two heads, a child with deformities, etc., to be ominous and direful and that it meant the relationship with the gods is in poor and unpleasant disposition. When such things happen, government will consult with soothsayers and/or haruspices for a presage or a prophecy and discuss and deliberate rightful actions to determine the good or the most beneficial for the gods and the people.

Here are some of the famous soothsayers:

  1. Caesar’s soothsayer

The famous seer was known to have indirectly told Caesar about his death by the Ides when he was on his way to the Theatre of Pompey. When he arrived, he received 23 stabs and died.


  1. Joan Quigley

She was known to be a commendable and a competent psychic and it was believed that she was being consulted every time a presidential appearance was made to see if things would work out fine and well.


  1. Nostradamus

He has a lot of predictions and most of the prophecies are accurate and relevant. Presently, the people get terrified when something happens on the current time and somehow gets related to the prophecies of Nostradamus such as the atomic bombing in Japan, Hitler’s birth, the 911 tragedy and many more. He even predicted his own death on July 1, 1566 and the next day he was found lifeless.


  1. Cassandra

The struggle for Cassandra as a soothsayer is that no one believed her prophecies even if it does really happen. It is believed that she was cursed by the god of the sun, Apollo, when she didn’t love him back when he did. She had predicted the Trojan Horse and the death of Agamemnon.


  1. Pythia

She was a famous priestess from Delphi and she was known to have told Nero about his death that says, "The number 73 marks the hour of your downfall”, she was buried alive as he did not like what she had seen. Nero thought he was going to die at 73, but he actually committed suicide when he was 30 after the revolt led by the 73-year old Galba.

But, to the Roman Catholic, it is vile to believe in people such as soothsayers, seers, prophets, and oracles as what they see or tell to the people are considered to be offensive and an abomination to the Lord. And with this, it is believed that God wipes all detestable and blasphemous people who practice and shows such ways and acts.

A quotation from the bible says:

“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.”, Deuteronomy 18:9-12



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