Ancient Greek Divination by Sarah Iles Johnston

By Sarah Iles Johnston

The 1st English-language survey of historical Greek divinatory equipment, historical Greek Divination deals a extensive but targeted remedy of the earliest makes an attempt through historic Greeks to hunt the tips of the gods.

  • Offers in-depth discussions of oracles, wandering diviners, homemade tools of foretelling the longer term, magical divinatory concepts, and masses extra
  • Illustrates how the research of divination illuminates the mentalities of old Greek religions and societies

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Extra resources for Ancient Greek Divination

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Delphi displayed itself particularly well: the sacred way that led from the bottom of the hill to the temple itself was lined with buildings, statues and monuments that had been erected by cities to advertise their wealth, splendor and achievements, or by individuals to celebrate a victory in the games (Figs. 2 and 3). When visitors finally reached the temple, they saw paintings of famous mythological scenes. A young woman in Euripides’ Ion, visiting Delphi for the first time, says: Look, look at this: Zeus’ son is killing the Lernaean Hydra With a golden sickle .

He followed this description with the remark “I know that you must be embarrassed and blushing to hear these things” (one wonders who was in his congregation and whether he correctly estimated their reactions). 3–4). Of course, the Christians wanted to discredit pagan religions, and their favorite way of doing so was to suggest that they were really nothing more than orgies, with the gods joining in on occasion. But sometimes it turns out that their lurid pictures are built around a core of reality, however much exaggerated.

22 = Paroem. Gr. II, 154). Other oracular shrines also made sure their personnel were well fed. At the Amphiareion, for example, priests received one shoulder of meat and the hide from each animal that was sacrificed; the meat was eaten and the hides were probably sold to tanners at a nice profit, as was the case at most sanctuaries. Nor was it only priests who made out well. Because the process of consultation at many oracles might consume days or even weeks, local hotels and taverns had a steady trade in housing and feeding visitors.

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