Τρόποι μαντείας στο ιερό της Δωδώνης (Journal article)

Τζουβάρα-Σούλη, Χρυσηίς


According to philological evidence and archaeological data Dodona was the oldest Greek sanctuary and oracle (Herod.2.52.2f) and, up to a certain date, the only Greek oracle which “Zeus has loved and wished it to be his oracle-centre for mankind” (Hesiod, fr.134). Hesiod with this passage gives more concrete information about the chthonic nature of Zeus and the manner in which the oracles were uttered by the God himself, who dwelt in the stock of the sacred oak tree. Another version of the cult in Dodona is found in Herodotus’narrative (2.54-57), where the foundation legend of the cult is mentioned and new testimonies of the oracular rites are introduced: Peleiades-Priestesses, an institution that lasted up to the early Christian times. Together with the Priestesses-Prophets, however, appeared Priests- Prophets, Selloi or Helloi, already known to Homer and tragic writers as well as mentioned in later literature. Apart from Dodona priesthood Homeric times (Odys. x 327-330, t 296-299) known the oracular message of the sacred oak tree rustling leaves, as the prime symbol of prophecy. Indeed in Pausanias’ time (1.17.5), the oracular oak tree was still in the sanctuary and was considered as one of the oldest trees (Paus. 8.23.5). Apparently, oracular responses of the sacred couple (Zeus and his wife Dione) were also given by the flight and the cooing of the doves nestling in it. Post-Homeric tradition though vaguely mentions some other divinatory “Symbols” and “signs” as for instance the bronze cauldrons with the tripods that surrounded the sacred tree from nearly the first half of the 8th century B.C. During the 4th century B.C. a “Dodonean copper-smithy”, an offering of Corcyraean people, (“Corcyraean mastix)” (Corcyraean whip) which, according to philological evidence, represented a new way of prophecy, replaced the oracular cauldrons. This dedication was also in use during the 2nd century B.C. and possibly until the middle of the 1st century A.D. Summing up, we can remark that prophecy varies in its manner’s not limited to the natural phenomena, only (Oak-tree, doves) but extending to the human intervention as well (tripods, cauldrons, the dedication of Corcyraean people). Though writes of later literature are looking again for oracular properties in nature, namely in Naia spring (Plinius HN 2.228, Lucret. 6.879 and Pomponius Melas 2.43). Finally, another manner of prophecy in the sanctuary of Dodona is related to the leaden tablets, on which people inscribed their questions: this mainly stated from the middle of the sixth century B.C., as, at first, these questions were asked orally: indeed, from the 5th century B.C. these inscribed questions became a rule. However, the process of prophecy in this case is not clearly known, and for this reason various views have been set forth, as that of the consulation with sortes and this in accordance with the oracle of Delphi. Scientific research suggests that this method was first used in the 6th century B.C. and this is confirmed by the oldest oracular inscriptions ever found in Dodona. As it is concluded by the variety of the alphabets appearing on the oracular tablets, pilgrims used to come here not only from various greek regions but also from cities and nations of Magna Grecia and Sicily. However, the vast majority of the visitors to the sanctuary belonged to cities and tribes of Epirus. Quite a lot, came from Corinth, neighbouring Thessaly, Ionian Islands, especially Corcyra, Athens, Rhodes, and a smaller number from Ionic places.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Σχολή Φιλοσοφική. Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Keywords: -
URI: http://olympias.lib.uoi.gr/jspui/handle/123456789/6070
Publisher: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Σχολή Φιλοσοφική. Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Appears in Collections:Τόμος 26 (1997)

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