Gratian and Theodosius I Ban Divination That Uses Sacrifice Hot

Gratian and Theodosius I Ban Divination That Uses Sacrifice

Emperor Theodosius I

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Religious History
Christian History

Roman emperors Gratian and Theodosius I proclaim a new law banning divination by means of examining the livers and entrails of sacrifices. Violators are to be tortured as punishment.

This new law states:

"No mortal is permitted to perform sacrifices in order to use the victim's liver or entrails so that he might obtain the hope of a vain promise, or, what is worse, learn the future by an accursed consultation.

The bitter punishment of torture is prescribed for those who, in violation of Our prohibition, try to divine the truth of present or future events." [CT 16.10.9]

Divination, magic, and other supernatural powers are all contrary to orthodox Christianity, but banning them entirely is difficult because they are so popular. In the past Roman emperors have simply banned the use of such power for evil purposes, but Emperor Theodosius I is pursuing a much stricter and harsher policy.


Emperors of Rome: Gratian

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