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Greek History and its Intersection with Myth and Literature this illustrated lecture is one version of an introductory presentation I have honed over the years. In the classes we classicists teach, the ancient Greek world is not dead — we constantly celebrate its enduring spirit, which has seeped down through the ages in the literature and art that has shaped so much of our modern world. In the mind of an ancient Greek, history, literature, and mythology peacefully co-exist, no lines drawn between them. We tend to compartmentalize such things - but remember, even fifth century Greeks — cosmopolitan Athenians!

In fact, the Greeks, whose entire reality was closely connected to the natural world, cheerfully allowed the mythic and the real to intersect at will. What is even cooler is that recent discoveries have allowed us to see that material evidence recently uncovered and conserved by archaeologists supports, clarifies and enlarges the world bequeathed two thousand years ago by their great literary history. Now we can do more than just walk through the same forests, swim in the same waters, climb the same mountains as did the ancient Greeks.

Through the literature and the mythology of those Greeks we can hear the whispers and see the shadows of the very people we read about in their own haunts. In this introductory lecture, originally called "Orestes' Trek" but since expanded we will travel the path from myth to history, from the Age of Heroes to the Historical Era, tracing the ubiquitous use of myth along the way, as we see it color our perception of significant ancient sites such as Mycenae, Athens, Delphi, and others.

But we start our journey not on the mainland, but on Crete…. This red-figured amphora from BC depicts Zeus' abduction of Europa. According to myth, they first made love in Gortyna under a plane tree which never lost its leaves thereafter. Europa bears King Minos, ruler of Crete, who gives his name to the Minoan Age coined by Arthur Evans as he excavated the ruins of Cnossos at the turn of the century.

Here are some pictures of the reconstruction of the archaeological site of Cnossos: entryway , horns of consecration , queen's toilet , bull-jumping fresco The great King Theseus, before he became king, sailed to Crete and dispatched the creature, as this black-figure vase from the Louvre shows. There are many other myths associated with the island of Crete and the Palace of Knossos The architect Zakharias Kanakis has made a wooden model of what the palace might have looked like, and indeed it looks like a labyrinth can't publish it here but it is displayed in the Heraklion Museum in Crete.

But the real architect of the original labyrinth was Daedalus, who escaped from the island of Crete with his son Icarus.

He made wings for himself and the boy, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and his wings melted. He drowned. When Theseus sailed from Crete after killing the minotaur , he stopped off at Naxos, where he abandoned Ariadne she in turn was picked up by Dionysos, who married her.

The Oracle of Delphi

Theseus "forgot" to exchange the black sails for white ones, as he promised to do to signal success to his father, who was waiting on Cape Sounion for news of his son. When King Aegeus saw the black sails, he assumed the worst.

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In grief, he plunged headlong from the cliff to his death into the sea that now bears his name. Mycenae is the home of The House of Atreus, the cursed family that inspired so much fodder for the playwrights and other poets of ancient Greece. How does it fit in with our theme of the intersection of myth and literature and archaeology and history? First, the literary Agamemnon is specifically referred to as the King of nearby Argos, not Mycenae — Aeschylus is providing a mythic birth for the very real fifth century political alliance between Argos and Athens. But Mycenae is the archaeological site that corresponds to the mythic home of Agamemnon as well as his father and son.

Mycenae: The Lion Gate is the oldest monumental sculpture in Europe not in the world We have always assumed that these are the same Mycenean lions known from over other art works perhaps their steatite heads, now missing, faced forward. Lion relief serves a structural purpose: it fills and therefore masks the triangular space created above the lintel in order to reduce the pressure of the tremendous weight of the stones. The forepaws of the figures rest on a row of blocks carved above a double plinth, which may represent altars.

Their paws flank a single pillar, perhaps representing the propylon or entry room, symbol of the power they guard. Perhaps this was the heraldic symbol of the Royal House of Atreus. And note how the composition of the scene perfectly fits the space it is designed to occupy. Grave Circle A : 6 shaft graves, which contained 19 bodies: 9 men, 8 women, 2 children. The Dalai Lama , who lives in exile in northern India, still consults an oracle known as the Nechung Oracle , which is considered the official state oracle of the government of Tibet.

Apollo and the Oracle of Delphi

The Dalai Lama has according to centuries-old custom, consulted the Nechung Oracle during the new year festivities of Losar. The Gadhong oracle has died leaving Nechung to be the only primary oracle. Another oracle the Dalai Lama consults is the Tenma Oracle , for which a young Tibetan woman by the name of Khandro La is the medium for the mountain goddesses Tseringma along with the other 11 goddesses.

The Dalai Lama gives a complete description of the process of trance and spirit possession in his book Freedom in Exile. Due to the ban, many of the abbots that were worshippers of Dorje Shugden have been forced to go against the Dalai Lama. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the classical concept. For the software company, see Oracle Corporation.

For other uses, see Oracle disambiguation. Main article: Divination. Main articles: Oracle bone and I Ching. The Seer in Ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press, Greek Religion.

Prophecy of the Setting Sunrise

Harvard University Press. Minoan Snake goddess. London: John Murray. Retrieved 3 August Grube, J. Socrates also argued that the oracle's effectiveness was rooted in her ability to abandon herself completely to a higher power by way of insanity or "sacred madness. Paths from Ancient Greece. Brill Publishers. Guide to Greece 9.

De Dea Syria. The secret of Creta. Efstathiadis Group. Athens Fully revised and updated.

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Archived from the original on Retrieved CS1 maint: Archived copy as title link. Categories : Divination Prophecy. Hidden categories: CS1 maint: Archived copy as title All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from February Articles with unsourced statements from March Articles containing Greek-language text Commons category link is on Wikidata Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference Wikipedia articles with GND identifiers Wikipedia articles with NDL identifiers.

Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Look up oracle in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Wikiquote has quotations related to: Oracle. At that time Rhodes was invited to take part in a later return of the festival at Kyzikos that had been founded around In the same way, before the end of the second century, the Ptolemaic court was invited to take part in another return of this very festival, when Eudoxos of Kyzikos came to Alexandria as theoros and spondophoros for his city to announce the upcoming Koreia It could, however, as well have been addressed to another body within the city, maybe an association like the Ammonitai mentioned in the following action.

A newly discovered inscription also refers to an oracle given by Ammon to the city of Kyzikos and proclaimed there by Claudius Eumenes.

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The response of Ammon is not entirely clear, due to the defective state of the inscription. The god seems to have said something to the effect that he did not care for bloody sacrifices or gold, but only for incense and pious thoughts Ammon seems also to have recommended that the city approach the oracle of Apollo at Klaros. Such advice — one oracle recommending consultation of another—is not uncommon. Whether this happened is, however, not clear.

The city was not a regular client of Klaros and fails to be represented among the large number of cities from Asia Minor and the Black Sea region which in this period sent delegations to Klaros more or less frequently. For this, see the preliminary report of L. Robert, in numerous other publications Rehm dates it, according to the letter forms, to the time of the emperor Diocletian, around AD He quoted other testimonies for the equating of Apollo and Helios and made the point that the prophet hailed from a city other than Miletos, a city where the cult of Kore was traditional and extremely important.

Nevertheless, at the later passage, on p. Still, the solution seems to be at hand. Second, Fontenrose was correct in stating that only a person who was a citizen and a resident of Miletos was eligible for the office of prophet He came close to the solution when he spoke of the possibility of Milesian citizenship being granted to him.


It was also agreed that any Kyzikenian would be considered Milesian in Miletos and any Milesian Kyzikenian in Kyzikos I have no difficulty in assuming that this provision was still valid and could be invoked some six hundred years later, and that Damianos or one of his ancestors took up residence at Miletos and claimed and obtained Milesian citizenship, which enabled Damianos to rise to the top of Milesian society and stand for election to become prophet of Apollo.

In Theonas represented Kyzikos and the province of Hellespont at the ecumenical council at Nicaea and was one of the fathers to sign the formula adopted by the majority of those present which soon became known as the Nicene creed A delegation from the city appeared before him in and requested the restoration of the pagan temples. The emperor commended them for their zeal and gave them a free hand; moreover, he exiled the bishop Eleusios Men such as the prophet Damianos with his sincere devotion to his ancestral goddess had become rare.

In due course, the oracles became silent. His work is for the most part preserved in Greek, but for sections only in a Latin translation made by Petrus Gillius Pierre Gilles in the sixteenth century from a Greek manuscript now lost They, however, surreptitiously stole her sc. Nor can it be determined who advised the citizens of Kyzikos when a shortage of fish endangered their livelihood. Clear is, however, that any advisement given by a god could only come as the result of a consultation, that is, in the form of a oracle, when this was addressed as so often happened in times of dire straits.

The possibilities are primarily Delphi, Didyma, and Klaros. The cult of the goddess originated in Crete and spread from there The cult of the goddess established at Kyzikos in the end has been overlooked by Hasluck and by N. Ehrhardt in their reviews of the cults of the city The record is fullest for Kyzikos. Boehringer has argued that the traditional date for its beginning, ca. He is followed in this by G. Le Rider and L.

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Robert; see Robert , n. With this, Robert returned to the chronology of von Fritze , , with pl. VI But Rigsby , nos. For the Strangford Collection see Habicht , 93, This is attractive since Palairos, like Medeon, is a city of Akarnania.