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Oracles And Greek Mentalities: The Mantic Confirmation Of Mantic Revelations

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Chapter Summary

The average Greek had a sense of divine intervention in human affairs. A sign is ambiguous by definition, however, and always hazardous to interpret; his best strategy would be to follow the greatest concentration of symbols and potentially telling mantic clues. Croesus' story is now considered an isolated example of hybris, but it has left an impression of trickery that has coloured perceptions of Greek oracles to the present day. The expedition of Agesipolis in 388 BCE provides a perfect example. This chapter suffices to show that vision is simplistic: a priest and a prophetess of Apollo certainly benefited from their respective position, but this does not imply that they brazenly lied to their consultants under the very nose of the powerful deity with whom they were supposed to enter into contact-a fact that current political interpretations, curiously enough, never take into account.

Keywords: Agesipolis; Greek oracles; mantic revelations



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