Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle: Divination and Democracy

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April 2008



This book provides an exploration of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, where the god Apollo was believed to speak to inquirers through his priestesses. In particular, it examines Athens' use of the oracle c. 500-300 BC. Demonstrating the importance of communication with the gods, and doing their will, in classical Athenian society, Hugh Bowden concludes that ancient Athens was not a secular Westernized democracy as we understand the term today.


Introduction; 1. How did the Delphic oracle work?; 2. What did the Athenians think of the Delphic Oracle?; 3. What did historians and philosophers say about the Delphic oracle?; 4. How and why did the Athenians consult the Delphic oracle?; 5. What did the Athenians ask the Delphic oracle?; 6. Why did the Athenians (and other Greek cities) go to war?; 7. Conclusion: divination and democracy; Appendix 1. Consultations of Delphi in Attic tragedy; Appendix 2. Concordance of Athenian consultations.


Hugh Bowden is Lecturer in Ancient History at King's College London. He is the author of numerous articles on Greek religion and history and is editor of The Times Ancient Civilizations (2002).


'... clear, straightforward and jargon-free'. BBC History 'This work provides a new account of how the Delphic oracle functioned, making it essential reading both for students of the oracle itself and of Athenian democracy.' History Today 'His discussion of this central theme of the book is carefully and thought-provokingly placed within a wider religious, political, intellectual and cultural context than one might immediately imagine such a title to embrace ... closely argued and immensely provocative ...' Journal of Classics Teaching 'This excellent little book challenges many generally accepted views about both Athenian democracy and the Delphic oracle in an attempt to highlight the role religion played in ancient Greek political discourse. ... well written and researched ... this affordable monograph with its clean text, useful appendices, full bibliography, and fine (and extensive) English translations will surely become a standard reference on both the Delphic oracle and Athenian society.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review
EAN: 9780521823739
ISBN: 0521823730
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2008
Seitenanzahl: 188 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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