Ancient Greece's Most Famous Oracles: The History of the Oracles at Delphi and Dodona, Charles River Editors
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Ancient Greece's Most Famous Oracles: The History of the Oracles at Delphi and Dodona

Author: Charles River Editors

Narrator: Cathy Barnes

Unabridged: 2 hr 21 min

Format: Digital Audiobook

Publisher: Findaway Voices

Published: 04/06/2023

Genre: History - Ancient - Greece

Synopsis

In ancient Greece, “no other practice was so universal than the consultation of oracles.” These holy sites were found in 260 locations around the Greek-speaking world, and they were considered the “most satisfactory means of ascertaining the future.” These sanctuaries were “set apart from the profane, ordinary world” and were in the beginning restricted to natural locations where the divine was thought to be “especially present.” They were set aside for special spiritual functions, and a state of purity was generally required of its participants. A historical tendency toward providing haven for criminals was based on the fear of shedding blood in a holy place, and the “fear that the evil magic would emanate from his curse.”

The Oracle of Delphi was one of the greatest religious institutions in Greece and one which played a significant role not only in the formation and collective decisions of Hellenic localities and city-states but also in the personal lives of Greeks known and unknown. The site was dedicated to the god Apollo, and the Greeks believed the god spoke his oracles through his prophetess known as the Pythia. The judgments and decisions rendered by the oracle were so important to the Greeks that they often put them above all other interests, even security threats posed by the likes of the Persians, and Delphi was popular even amongst outsiders. Many authors of antiquity mention the oracle for one reason or another, and there even survive epigraphic collections that preserve the god’s words on stone.

The Oracle of Dodona was the oldest of all, and it was one of the few dedicated to Zeus and his consort goddess Dione. The oracular utterances heard at the oracles are generally referred to as “smokiness” in Greek, but at Dodona, the answers came in natural sounds and other peripheral phenomena.

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