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Homer The Prophet: Homeric Verses And Divination In The Homeromanteion

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Chapter Summary

In this paper, the author investigates the complex relation between orality and literacy by analyzing a set of magical papyri that quote disconnected and seemingly out of context Homeric verses. This set is generally referred to as the homeromanteion, the 'Homer oracle,' and can be dated around the fourth or fifth century century CE. The author also discusses the homeromanteion by first looking at instances where Homeric verses are quoted in a larger narrative in contexts of divination. It is also important to compare the Homeric lines in the homeromanteion with the use of Homer for ritual purposes elsewhere in the magical papyri. The author then compares this compilation of lines with similar sortes and other divination practices and propose a reading of the homeromanteion as a full manual and document in its own right, at the same time attempting to explain why these verses were included in it.

Keywords: divination; Greek; Homer; homeromanteion; magical papyri; prophet; sortes; tradition



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