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842

ORACULUM.

after this was as follows : — Two boys, 13 years old, led him again to the river Hercyna, and bathed and anointed him. The priests then made him drink from the well of oblivion (A^Or?) that lie might forget all his former thoughts, and from the well of recollection (Mz/Tj/xoo-iV?]) that he might ro-membor the visions which he was going to have. They then showed him a mysterious representation of Trophonius, made him worship it, and led him into the sanctuary, dressed in linen garments with girdles around his body, and wearing a peculiar kind of shoes (/cp^TrTSes) which were customary at Lebadeia. Within the sanctuary which stood on an eminence, there was a cave, into which the per­son was now allowed to descend by means of a ladder. Close to the bottom, in the side of the cave, there was an opening into which he put his feet, whereupon the other parts of the body were likewise drawn into the opening by some invisible power. What the persons here saw was different at different times. They returned through the sani3 opening by which they had entered, and the priests now placed them on the throne of Mnemo­syne, asked them what they had seen, and led them back to the sanctuary of the good spirit and good luck. As soon as they had recovered from their fear, they were obliged to write clown their vision on a little tablet which was dedicated in the temple. This is the account given by Pausanias, who had himself descended into the cave, and writes as an eye-witness. (Pans. ix. 39. § 3, &c. ; compare Philostr. Vit. ApolL viii. 19.) The an­swers were probably given by the priests according to the report of what persons had seen in the cave. This oracle was held in very great esteem, and did not become extinct until a very late period: and though the army of Sulla had plundered the temple, the oracle was much consulted by the Ro­mans (Orig. c. Cels. vii. p. 355), and in the time of Plutarch it was the only one among the numerous Boeotian oracles, that had not become silent. (Plut. de Orac. Def. c. 5.)

4. Oracle of Calchas, in Daunia in southern Itaty. Here answers were given in dream?, for those who consulted the oracle had to sacrifice a black ram, and slept a night in the temple, lying on the skin of the victim. (Strab. vi. p. 284.)

5. Oracles of Asclepius (Aesculapius). The oracles of Asclepius were very numerous. But the most important and most celebrated was that of Epidaurus. His temple there was literally covered with votive tablets, on which persons had recorded their recovery by spending a night in the temple. In the temples of Aesculapius and Scrap is at Rome, recovery was likewise sought by incubatio in his temple. (Suet. Claud. 25.) F. A. Wolf has written an essay, Beitrag zur Gesck. des Somnambulismus aus dem Aiterthum (Vermischte Schrifien, p. 382, &c.), in which he endeavours to show that what is now called Mesmerism, or animal magnetism, was known to the priests of those temples where sick persons spent one or more nights for the purpose of recovering their health. Other oracles of the same kind are mentioned in that essay, together with some of the votive tablets still extant.

6. Oracle of Heracles at Bura in Achaia. Those who consulted it, prayed and put their questions to the god, and then cast four dice painted with figures, and the answer was given according to the position of these figures. (Paus. vii. 25. § 6.)

7. Oracle of Pasipliac^ at Thalamiae in Laconia,

OKACULUM.

where answers .were given in dreams while persona spent the night in the temple. (Pint. Cleom. 7, Agis, 9 ; Cic. de Din. i. 43.)

8. Oracle of Phriccus^ in Iberia near Mount Caucasus, where no rams were allowed to be sacri­ficed. (Strab. xi. p. 498 ; Tacit. Annal. vi. 34.)

V. oracles of the dead.

Another class of oracles are the oracles of the dead (veKvo/j.avre'iov or ^v^OTvo^.ir^'iov^^ in which those who consulted called up the spirits of the dead, and offered sacrifices to the gods of the lower world. One of the most ancient and most cele­brated places of this kind was in the country of the Thesprotians near lake Aornos. (Diod. iv. 22 ; Herod, v. 92. § 7 ; Paus. ix. 30. § 3.) An­other oracle of this kind was at Heraclea on the Propontis. (Plut. dm. 6.)

Respecting the Greek oracles in general see Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterth. ii. p. 585, &c. ; Klati-sen, in Erscli und Griile^s Encyclop. s. v. Orakel.

VI. italian oracles.

Oracles, in which a god revealed his will through the mouth of an inspired individual, did not exist in Italy. The oracles of Calchas and Aesculapius mentioned above were of Greek origin, and the former was in a Greek heroumon mount Garganus. The Romans, in the ordinary course of things, did not feel the want of such oracles as those of Greece, for they had numerous other means to discover the will of the gods, such as the Sibylline books, augury, haruspices, signs in the heavens, and the like, which are partly described in separate articles and partly in divjnatio. The only Italian oracles known to us are the following : —

I.Oracle of Faunus. PI is oracles are said to have been given in the Saturnian verse, and collec­tions of his vaticinia seem to have existed at an early period. (Aurel.Vict. De Orig. gent. Rom. c. 4.) The places where his oracles were given were two groves, the one in the neighbourhood of Tibur, round the well of Albunea, and the other on the Aventine. (Virg. Aen. vii. 81, &c. ; Ovid, Fast. iv. 650, &c.) Those who consulted the god in the grove of Albunea, which is said to have been re­sorted to by all the Italians, had to observe the following points : — The priest first offered a sheep and other sacrifices to the god. The skin of the victim was spread on the ground, and the consul-tor was obliged to sleep upon it during the night, after his head had been thrice sprinkled with pure water from the well, and touched with the brunch of a sacred beech tree. He was, moreover, obliged several days before this night to abstain from ani­mal food and from matrimonial connections, to be clothed in simple garments, and not to wear a ring on his fingers. After he fell asleep on the sheep, skin he was believed to receive his answer in wonderful visions and in converse with the god himself. (Virg. /. c.; Isidor. viii. 11. 87.) Ovid (/. c.) transfers some of the points to be observed in order to obtain the oracle on the Albunea, to the oracle on the Aventine. Both may have had much in common, but from the story which he re­lates of Numa it seems to be clear that on the Aventine certain different ceremonies also were observed.

2. Oracles of Fortuna existed in several Italian

towns, especially in Latium, as at Antium and

. Praeneste. In the former of these towns two

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