chapter  1
54 Pages

Ancient Greek writings on divination

Divination was central to the life of the ancient Greeks. Literally hundreds of terms covered its various facets: its practitioners; the omens and oracles themselves; and its various manifestations and procedures. Divination was not expected to provide a palatable answer to a query: criticising divination, however, according to the tragedians, did not solve the issue at hand. Divination was so much part and parcel of Greek life that it forms an important aspect in the accounts of all the Greek historians, from the 'history' of the Trojan War in the Iliad, down through to the end of the ancient Greek world. Modern scholarship has always been preoccupied with divination at Delphi and its consequences for the Greek world, especially in the classical period, but overwhelmingly it is the wide range of the divinatory procedures, that arrests attention, which were freely available to the general public.