The Ancient Library

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only on capturing the Acropolis that the Spartans learned the contents of the oracles there jealously preserved from alien knowledge, oracles which were of evil import for Athens' future.1 At Sparta knowledge of the oracles was confined to the Pythioi and the kings.2 At Thebes ^rja-^oL were jealously guarded by the royal house, if we can accept as evidence Pausanias' version of the Oidipous story.3 \eyeTat, &e Kal &>? vodrj Aaiov dvyaTtjp eirj, teal to? tov %p-r)o~fj,bv tov KaS/i.&> SodevTO, e/c AeX^wv Sit ai/TTjv Kara evvoiav 6 Aaifo? • eirio-Tao-dai: Se toii? /SacrtXea? ovo'eva aXXoi/ to pavTevfjia. Ulysses claims that it was the capture of Helenus which rendered possible the fall of Troy.

quam sum Dardanio, quern cepi, vate potitus quam responsa deum Troianaque fata retexi.* •

1 Herodotos v. 90. 2 Herodotos vi. 57.

3 Pausanias ix. 26. 3. In the various versions of the Oidipous story, mention is often made of the "oracles of Lai'os." While it is possible that the ifiBivovra Aatou iraXa/0ara W<70OTo of Soph. O. T. god may mean "oracles about "or "given to Laios," it is not easy to see what meaning can be attached to this interpretation in Herod, v. 43. Possibly Aa'iou xpvrpol might mean oracles of Lai'os in a sense analogous to oracles of Bakis (for king-seers see below, p. 67; Oidipous has divine associations), but more probably the Theban kings, like the Peisistratids, possessed a collection of xf"!^^ which were jealously guarded in rigid secrecy.

4 Ovid, Metam. xiii. 335-336; cf. Apollod. Efit. 5. 9 etir&VTos dt Kd\xavTOi "EXepoc etdtrai roiis pvon&ovs rty TriSXii' XWVOI/J, tveSpeuffas aiirov 'OSvfffeiis Kal xe'jowcrci/uei'os &ri ri> arparlnreSov ijyaye, Kal avay-Ka$/j,tvos o "EXecos X^yei fruis Sc alpeffetri i] "IXiot; cf. betrayal of Sparta

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