The Ancient Library

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3. Oracle of Zeus Ammon, in an oasis in Libya, in the north-ivest of Egypt. According to the traditions current at Dodona and Thebes in Egypt, it was founded by the latter city (Herod, ii. 42, 54, &c.), and the form in which the god was re­presented at Thebes and in the Ammonium was the same ; he had in both places the head cf a ram. (Herod, iv. 181.) The Greeks became ac­quainted with this oracle through the Cyreneans, and Sparta was the first city of Greece which formed connections with it. (Paus. iii. 18. §2.) Its example was followed by the Thebans, Olym­pians, Dodonaeans, Eleans, and others, and the Athenians sent frequent theories to the Ammo­nium even before 01. 91 (Bockh, Publ. Econ. p. 240,2d edit.), and called one of their sacred vessels Ammonis. (Hesych. and Suid. s. v. "A/u/Awi/• Harpocrat. s. v. 3A/x/xows.) Temples of Zeus Am-mon were now erected in several parts of Greece. His oracle in Libya was conducted by men who also gave the answers. (Diod. xvii. 51.) Their number appears to have been very great, for on some occasions when they carried the statue about in a procession, their number is said to have fceen eighty. (Diod. iii. 50.) In the time of Strabo (xvii. p. 813) the oracle was very much neglected, and in a state of decay. The Greek writers, who are accustomed to call the greatest god of a bar­barous nation Zeus, mention several oracles of this divinity in foreign countries. (Herod, ii. 29 ; Diod. iii. 6.)

III. oracles of other gods,

The other gods who possessed oracles were con­sulted only concerning those particular departments of the world and human life over which they presided. Demeter thus gave oracles at Patrae in Achaia, but only concerning sick persons, whether their sufferings would end in death or recovery. Before the sanctuary of the goddess there was a well surrounded by a wall. Into this well a mir­ror was let- down by means of a rope, so as to swim upon the surface. Prayers were then performed and incense offered, whereupon the image of the sick person was seen in the mirror either as a corpse or in a state of recovery. (Pans. vii. 21. § 5.) At Pharae in Achaia, there was an oracle of Hermes. His altar stood in the middle of the market-place. Incense was offered there, oil-lamps were lighted before it, a copper coin was placed upon the altar, and after this the question was put to the god by a whisper in his ear. The person who consulted him shut his own ears, and imme­diately left the market-place. The first remark that he heard made by any one after leaving the market place was believed to imply the answer of Hermes. (Paus. vii. 22. § 2.)

There was an Oracle of Pluto and Cora at Charax, or Acharaca, not far from Nysa, in Caria. The two deities had here a temple and a grove, and near the latter there was a subterraneous cave of a miraculous nature, called the cave of Charon ; for persons suffering from illness, and placing confidence in the power of the gods, tra­velled to this place, and stayed for some time with experienced priests who lived in a place near the cave. These priests then slept a night in the cavern, and afterwards prescribed to their patients the remedies revealed to them in their dreams. Often, however, they took their patients with them into the cave, where they had to stay for several



days in quiet and without taking any food, and were sometimes allowed to fall into the prophetic sleep, but were prepared for it, and received the advice of the priests ; for to all other persons the place was inaccessible and fatal. There was an annual panegyris in this place, probably of sick persons who sought relief from their sufferings. On the middle of the festive day the young men of the gymnasium, naked and anointed, used to drive a bull into the cave, which, as soon as it had entered, fell down dead. (Strab. xiv. p. 649 ; compare xii. p. 579.)

At Epidaurus Limera oracles were given at the festival of Ino. [I no a]. The same goddess had an oracle at Oetylon, in which she made revela­tions in dreams to persons who slept a night in her sanctuary. (Paus. iii. 26. § 1.) Hera Acraea had an oracle between Lechaeon and Pagae. (Strab. viii. p. 380.)

IV. oracles of heroes.

1. Oracle of Amphiaraus, between Potniae and Thebes, where the hero was said to have been swallowed up by the earth. His sanctuary was surrounded by a wall and adorned with columns, upon which birds never settled, and birds or cattle never took any food in the neighbourhood. (Paus. ix. 3. § 2.) The oracles were given to persons in their dreams, for they had to sleep in the temple (Herod, viii. 134) after they had prepared them­selves for this incttlatio by fasting one day^ and by abstaining from wine for three days. (Philostrat.-Vit. ApolL ii. 37-) The Thebans were not allowed to consult this oracle, having chosen to take the hero as their ally rather than as their prophet. (Herod. I. c.) Another oracle of Amphiaraus was at Oropus, between Boeotia and Attica, which was most frequently consulted by the sick about the means of their recover}'-. Those who consulted it had to undergo lustrations, and to sacrifice a ram, on the skin of which they slept a night in the temple, where in their dreams they expected the means of their recovery to be revealed to them. (Paus. i. 34. § 2, &c.) . If they recovered, they had to throw some pieces of money into the well of Amphiaraus in his sanctuary. The oracle \vas said to have been founded by the Thebans. (Strab. ix. p. 399.)

2. Oracle of Ampliilochus. He was the son of Amphiaraus, and had an oracle at Mallos in Cilicia, which Pausanias calls the most trustworthy of his


time. (Paus. i. 34. § 2 ; Dion Cass. Ixxii. 7.)

3. Oracle of Trophonius at Lebadeia in Boeotia. (Paus. ix. 37. § 3.) Those who wished to con­sult this oracle had first to purify themselves by spending some days in the sanctuary of the good spirit and good luck (ayadov Aai/Jiovos koi ayaOrjS Tu%?js\ to live sober and pure, to abstain from warm baths, but to bathe in the river Hercyna, to offer sacrifices to Trophonius and his children, to Apollo, Cronos, king Zeus, Hera Heniocha, and to Demeter Europe, who was said to have nursed Trophonius ; and during these sacrifices a sooth­sayer explained from the intestines of the victims whether Trophonius would be pleased to admit the consultor. In the night in which the consultor was to be allowed to descend into the cave of Tro­phonius, he had to sacrifice a ram to Agamedes, and only in case the signs of the sacrifice were favourable, the hero was thought to be pleased to admit the person into his cave. What took place

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