Palmistry can be traced back many thousands of
years, with significance being given to the hand in paintings found in from
the Stone Age. It is thought that the modern day practise of the art originates
from India, where a number of techniques have been devised based on ancient
writings. Since then, palmistry has been spread to other countries and altered
by their cultures' own religious interpretations of signs on the hand. For example,
when Gypsies arrived in Europe in the 1300s, they mixed the palmreading they
had learnt from India with their own blend of psychic abilities.
Palmistry is thought to have been popular among
academics in Ancient Greece, with links to physicians using it in their practise
and Aristotle writing on it. In the 4 century BC, Aristotle is said to have
sent his student, Alexander the Great, to India in order to discover whatever
he could on palmistry, and although experts dispute Aristotle's writings on
palm reading, it is thought that he attributes meaning to the length of the
lines on the hand in his work De Historia Animalium.
Claims have also been made that palmistry was
used in the Roman times by Julius Caesar. It is thought that he believed that
by reading his men's palms, he could judge their intentions and split imposters
from genuine followers. On one occasion, it was said, he read a man's palm and,
deciding that he was an imposter, had his executed. However, historians have
disputed this, arguing that the Romans preferred astrology to palm reading as
a method of forecast.
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