The Ancient Library

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root idea manifested in these customs is that of the rejection by the divine element of the accursed thing. The transition to a divina­tion by throwing things representative of the person into the water is the easier when it is remembered that ordeal by proxy* is extremely common, and also that the method of attaining union with the sacred well was to throw objects into it. And just as the coins of Amphi-araos' spring at Oropos come to be regarded as offerings to the hero, so here there can be little doubt that the notion of sacrifice has affected the theory of the divinatory rite. Dr. Frazer aptly quotes other instances of sacrifices to volcanoes in his note on the Etna rite, and the loaves of Epidauros Limera were evidently offerings to the goddess.2 Thus we get the notion of the acceptance or the refusal of sacrifice figuring also as an element in these divinatory rites.

The type of ordeal which remains to be con­sidered is that in which the guilty person or his representative is sucked down by the water. Doubtless the basis of the belief is the credited

1 E.g. Malay diving ordeal, Skeat, pp. 542-544; Melanesian dau hju and the alligator ordeal, Codrington, p. 212. In some of the African poison ordeals the dose is administered to hens as proxies, Hopf, Tkierorakel, p. 167.

2 Cf. cakes offered to rivers or the sea, Paus. vii. 24. 3 ; x. 8. 10.


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