Monday, April 29, 2024

Oracular inquiries and daily life. The oracle of Dodona in the Classical and Hellenistic period

Frank, Karolina Barbara

This thesis examines the daily life and religiosity of ancient Greeks through their consultations at the oracle of Zeus Naios and Dione in Dodona, Epirus, during the Classical and Hellenistic period, as well as explores the role that the oracle played in shaping its supplicants’ day-to-day reality. Past scholarship has predominantly centered on literary and archaeological sources in order to investigate the functioning of the sanctuary, its divinatory practices, and its staff. Of late, the focus of studies has shifted to the inquiries made by those visiting the oracle. However, it has been the very recent publication of the corpus of over 4000 oracular inscriptions from the Epirote sanctuary (Dakaris et al. 2013, 2 vols.), which has significantly expanded the source material for the study of Dodona and its supplicants. These previously unpublished tablets, dated to the 6th-2nd c. BC, contain a wide range of queries made by private individuals, poleis, and koina at the oracle, as well as answers given by the gods. By placing these texts in a broader socio-economic and historical context, this thesis analyzes the portrayal of the lives of the individuals and communities consulting at Dodona through the prism of their questions, requests, and concerns. It examines the identity of the supplicants, arguing that most seem to have been of local Epirote and Northwestern Greek origin. Each chapter addresses a different topic of inquiry concerning religious, social, and economic issues, demonstrating the extent and range of the oracle’s influence over worship, local economies, and socio-cultural norms. The thesis also explores the different ways in which the supplicants used oracular divination to solve their problems. It contributes to the understanding of the role of oracles in personal religiosity and communicating with the divine in order to alleviate one’s concerns and shape one’s decision-making process.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Oracular inquiries and daily life. The oracle of Dodona in the Classical and Hellenistic period
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence ( Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.



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