The Meaning Of Oracles In Ancient Greece

689 words - 3 pages

“Oracles (or prophecies) themselves are messages from the gods in human language concerning the future or the unknown and are usually received in response to specific inquiries, often through the agency of inspired mediums” (Aune). For the people of Ancient Greece, Oracles were intermediaries between man and the G-ds. People would ask the Oracle questions about the future and/or ask for advice. Because the Oracles’ responses were always ambiguous, the answers could never be wrong. Regardless of the ambiguousness of the answers, the Ancient Greeks still relied heavily on the Oracles to make important life decisions.
Though Apollo and Zeus had other Oracles in Ancient Greece, Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi was the most famous and important Oracle in Ancient Greece. The Delphic oracle was located in the city of Delphi. “It was believed [that] Apollo … spoke through the mouth of an inspired woman known as the Pythia, who in turn conveyed the message to a priest, who relayed it to the person who had made the inquiry” (Rubin). People would ask this Oracle a variety of different questions; one might ask for advice on who he/she should marry or if one should embark on a journey. “A man might want to know if he would ever have a son; and a son -- like Oedipus -- might consult an oracle to find out who his biological parents are” (Rubin). Inquirers understood, though, that they would have to interpret the words of the Oracle and knew that there was a chance that they could or would misinterpret it. Regardless, people still traveled very far and spent much of their wealth to visit the Oracle.
In order to get an answer from the Oracle at Delphi, Pythia, there was a ritual that needed to take place. This ritual consisted of sacrifices and such. “On a day of consultation, a goat received a ritual bath in a spring; it was then sacrificed if, by trembling appropriately, it signaled the god's presence. Next, the Pythia took her seat within the aduton (inmost sanctuary) of the temple upon a tripod that represented...

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