Ancient Greek Divination by Sarah Iles Johnston

By Sarah Iles Johnston

The 1st English-language survey of old Greek divinatory equipment, old Greek Divination deals a extensive but specified remedy of the earliest makes an attempt by means of old Greeks to hunt the tips of the gods.

  • Offers in-depth discussions of oracles, wandering diviners, selfmade tools of foretelling the longer term, magical divinatory strategies, and masses extra
  • Illustrates how the examine of divination illuminates the mentalities of historic Greek religions and societies

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Halliday did go on to enjoy a creditable career – he became professor of ancient history at the University of Liverpool – but that career was built largely in the still marginal field of folklore studies, which did not help to bring renewed attention to his first book. E. Waite, and treatises on ritual magic and demonology by Eliphas Levi has not helped to raise the status of Halliday’s book in the academic world. The next major contribution to the study of divination that appeared after Halliday’s book was, like Bouché-Leclercq’s four volumes, primarily a compendium of information.

Dodds’s The Greeks and the Irrational (1951) is still standard reading for classicists and for many outside of the field as well. In the preface, Dodds cautions that his work is not meant to serve as a “history of Greek religion, or even of Greek religious ideas or feelings . . qxd 19/5/08 11:43 AM Page 23 Why Divination? ). ” In other words, we are to look to the title of his book for the theme that binds together his chapters, such as it is: they are all disquisitions on what he understands to be irrational elements in Greek religion.

Delphi displayed itself particularly well: the sacred way that led from the bottom of the hill to the temple itself was lined with buildings, statues and monuments that had been erected by cities to advertise their wealth, splendor and achievements, or by individuals to celebrate a victory in the games (Figs. 2 and 3). When visitors finally reached the temple, they saw paintings of famous mythological scenes. A young woman in Euripides’ Ion, visiting Delphi for the first time, says: Look, look at this: Zeus’ son is killing the Lernaean Hydra With a golden sickle .

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