The Oracles of Zeus: Dodona, Olympia, Ammon

The Oracles of Zeus: Dodona, Olympia, Ammon

Herbert W. Parke

Language: English

Pages: 304


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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Thessaly proper and just before Magnesia there is a vague little paragraph: 12 'Gouneus from Kyphos was leading two and twenty ships, and him the Enienes followed and the Perrhaebians, enduring in war, who placed their homes round hard-wintered Dodona, and those who worked the lands round the lovely Titaressos which sends its fairflowing water into the Peneios, nor is it mingled with the silvereddying Peneios, but flows on top of it like oil. For it is a fragment of the water of Styx, that

tradition that the pigs thrown in at Potniae reappeared next spring at Dodona. But though often a pious believer of local tales, on this occasion he adds the comment that others may perhaps be THE RESPONSES OF DODONA IN LITERATURE I53 persuaded by the story. It was not unusual for the Greeks to believe in extraordinary underground connections, particularly of rivers. Their limestone districts provided actual examples. But here it is most likely that the idea of the underground link

natural home is in the theology of the near East. The most famous expression is in the Reuelation of St. John where God describes himself to the prophet 16o THE ORACLES OF ZEUS as 'which is and which was and which is to come'. 68 The phrase has close analogies elsewhere in Jewish and non-Jewish literature as applied to Jehovah or Ahuramazda, and it is from some such source that the Dodonaean priesthood derived their address to Zeus. Even in the days of Herodotus they had not been unaware of

into the country. Melampus undertakes to cure them for a :reward which ultimately consists in a third of the kingship of Argos for himself and a third for his brother Bias, while the original dynasty retains the remaining fraction. Homer knew of Melampus as fated to rule over many Argives, but that he knew the legend in this form is unlikely. Certainly he makes Melampus leave Mcssenia on account of a quarrel with Neleus, not because he was attracted to Argos by the offer of kingship. Actually

book "Concerning oracle-centres" says that they base their prophecy on the skins by examining the splits in them whether they are straight or not.' This further comment from Heraclides seems inconsistent with the general picture in that at first sight his description seems to imply that the lamids simply examined the skins after they were flayed. But in a very abbreviated scholium perhaps it is meant that OLYMPIA we should combine the two descriptions. l<'rom the first sentence alone we get a

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