Essay On Divination

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The phenomenon of divination was something that characterized private and public life in ancient Greece. According to Fontenrose, people would generally seek divine consultation on occasions like these: plague, famine, catastrophe, war or casus belli, rulership matters, welfare of a city or a state, colonization, portents or prodigies, worship of the gods and religious issues. • Private Life As far as private life is concerned, people consulted the divine on many occasions, asking almost about everything concerning their every day life. According to the epigraphic evidence, the majority of the questions coming from individuals were dealing with marriage, trips, agricultural matters or voyages for purposes of immigration or whether to risk…show more content…
Ancient Greek literature offers us a variety of instances. Bowden in his book about divination and democracy in classical Athens, states that divination in the field of politics was of major importance «for its ability (at least in theory) to oppose authority, and to serve as a resistance mechanism, hence ensuring that leaders are not seen to act entirely on their own initiative over matters where dispute would seem possible or likely. Furthermore, as Robert Parker has emphasized, the decision to seek such a sanction implies acceptance of an obligation to act according to the will of the god, and thus the sign which is sought acquires greater authority than that which offers itself.» Therefore, divination worked as a means of eliminating possible disorder in the field of politics. Consultation would usually come from the supernatural, from a power coming from above, from the gods. Hence, this kind of divine consultation had gravity and was meant to be for the good of the city and of the citizens. This is what also Bowden states in his book, by saying that «divination would make some difficult decisions easier by reframing the issues at stake, and give the appearance of external authority for those decisions, making it easier to reconcile members of the society to them.» In general, the author highlights relationship between religion and democracy (since divination is believed to belong to the

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