The Oracles of the Ancient World: A Comprehensive Guide
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Ranging from Abai to Zeleia, from massive temples in Egypt to modest tombs in Turkey, oracles were a major feature of the religions of many ancient cultures until their demise under the Christian Roman emperors. This work is a guide to all the known oracles of the ancient world. The greater part of it is devoted to an alphabetical listing providing details of nearly 300 sites in more than 25 countries where oracles of one kind or another functioned in antiquity. The text is extensively cross-referenced and illustrated, and supplemented by indexes, a glossary, and a substantial introduction.
sanctuaries, even if few buildings stand to any great height. At Epidauros this situation is being addressed by actually reconstructing some of the principal edifices. In other places, such as PTOON and CYANEAE, excavations have been carried out and much has been revealed, but the sites have since become overgrown again so that they are more difficult to explore and reconstruct in the imagination. Some sites, for example KRANNON and THESPIAI, comprise little more than nondescript piles of rubble
or the other of them was a centre of oracular activity, healing or otherwise. On the other hand, it seems clear that there was a strong tendency for them to be so. Indeed, I would suggest that the popularity of their cults was in no small measure due to that fact. They offered a dimension that most other cults conspicuously failed to do (with that of Asclepius being an obvious exception). Again I have sought to provide a representative sample. A significant class of exceptions (and this applies
claimed that the oracle spoke to him in his own language, Carian, rather than Greek. This at least suggests that the god made use of a prophet or prophetess here. The remains of a small grotto can be found near the SW comer of the temple. Although natural in origin, there are clear signs of it having been partly shaped by human hand. This is as likely a location for the oracle as any. Many impressive statues were found at the site, most of which are now in the museums of Thiva and Athens. They
been eaten by mice during the night, they decided they had found the right place. Teucer went on to become king of Troy, and some would place the scene of this event further north, nearer to that city. It may be that there was more than one temple of Apollo Smintheos in the region. Mice were kept in the temple, and evidently treated with some reverence. Oracular activity at Chryse is attested to by both Ovid and Menander (a third-century AD rhetorician, not the fourth-century BC playwright of the
unclear. Such oracles were frequently carved onto the walls of tombs, and there are hundreds of tombs in the area, especially on the hill of the acropolis. A number of them are highly decorated, and many bear inscriptions. A full investigation of them all would be a lengthy task. Near the 139 Turkey top of the hill, but outside the acropolis proper, are the remains of a Byzantine church. It may stand on the site of an earlier temple of Sarapis. MAGNESIA ON THE MAEANDER: an oracle of Apollo in