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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Herodotus, Histories, 8.96

nanWhen the battle was broken off, the Hellenes towed to Salamis as many of the wrecks as were still there and kept ready for another battle, supposing that the king could still make use of his surviving ships. ,A west wind had caught many of the wrecks and carried them to the shore in Attica called Colias. Thus not only was all the rest of the oracle fulfilled which Bacis and Musaeus had spoken about this battle, but also what had been said many years before this in an oracle by Lysistratus, an Athenian soothsayer, concerning the wrecks carried to shore there. Its meaning had eluded all the Hellenes: quote type="oracle" l met="dact"The Colian women will cook with oars. /l lBut this was to happen after the king had marched away. /l /quote

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

8 results
1. Euripides, Orestes, 1522 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1522. A slave, and yet you fear death, which will release you from trouble? Phrygian
2. Herodotus, Histories, 1.2, 1.31-1.32, 1.187, 2.83, 2.119, 2.129, 3.65, 3.124-3.125, 4.62, 5.90.2, 6.57.4, 6.118, 7.6, 7.15-7.18, 7.143, 7.197, 7.219, 7.228, 8.20, 8.51-8.55, 8.65, 8.77, 9.1, 9.36-9.38, 9.41, 9.43, 9.61-9.62 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1.2. In this way, the Persians say (and not as the Greeks), was how Io came to Egypt, and this, according to them, was the first wrong that was done. Next, according to their story, some Greeks (they cannot say who) landed at Tyre in Phoenicia and carried off the king's daughter Europa. These Greeks must, I suppose, have been Cretans. So far, then, the account between them was balanced. But after this (they say), it was the Greeks who were guilty of the second wrong. ,They sailed in a long ship to Aea, a city of the Colchians, and to the river Phasis : and when they had done the business for which they came, they carried off the king's daughter Medea. ,When the Colchian king sent a herald to demand reparation for the robbery and restitution of his daughter, the Greeks replied that, as they had been refused reparation for the abduction of the Argive Io, they would not make any to the Colchians. 1.31. When Solon had provoked him by saying that the affairs of Tellus were so fortunate, Croesus asked who he thought was next, fully expecting to win second prize. Solon answered, “Cleobis and Biton. ,They were of Argive stock, had enough to live on, and on top of this had great bodily strength. Both had won prizes in the athletic contests, and this story is told about them: there was a festival of Hera in Argos, and their mother absolutely had to be conveyed to the temple by a team of oxen. But their oxen had not come back from the fields in time, so the youths took the yoke upon their own shoulders under constraint of time. They drew the wagon, with their mother riding atop it, traveling five miles until they arrived at the temple. ,When they had done this and had been seen by the entire gathering, their lives came to an excellent end, and in their case the god made clear that for human beings it is a better thing to die than to live. The Argive men stood around the youths and congratulated them on their strength; the Argive women congratulated their mother for having borne such children. ,She was overjoyed at the feat and at the praise, so she stood before the image and prayed that the goddess might grant the best thing for man to her children Cleobis and Biton, who had given great honor to the goddess. ,After this prayer they sacrificed and feasted. The youths then lay down in the temple and went to sleep and never rose again; death held them there. The Argives made and dedicated at Delphi statues of them as being the best of men.” 1.32. Thus Solon granted second place in happiness to these men. Croesus was vexed and said, “My Athenian guest, do you so much despise our happiness that you do not even make us worth as much as common men?” Solon replied, “Croesus, you ask me about human affairs, and I know that the divine is entirely grudging and troublesome to us. ,In a long span of time it is possible to see many things that you do not want to, and to suffer them, too. I set the limit of a man's life at seventy years; ,these seventy years have twenty-five thousand, two hundred days, leaving out the intercalary month. But if you make every other year longer by one month, so that the seasons agree opportunely, then there are thirty-five intercalary months during the seventy years, and from these months there are one thousand fifty days. ,Out of all these days in the seventy years, all twenty-six thousand, two hundred and fifty of them, not one brings anything at all like another. So, Croesus, man is entirely chance. ,To me you seem to be very rich and to be king of many people, but I cannot answer your question before I learn that you ended your life well. The very rich man is not more fortunate than the man who has only his daily needs, unless he chances to end his life with all well. Many very rich men are unfortunate, many of moderate means are lucky. ,The man who is very rich but unfortunate surpasses the lucky man in only two ways, while the lucky surpasses the rich but unfortunate in many. The rich man is more capable of fulfilling his appetites and of bearing a great disaster that falls upon him, and it is in these ways that he surpasses the other. The lucky man is not so able to support disaster or appetite as is the rich man, but his luck keeps these things away from him, and he is free from deformity and disease, has no experience of evils, and has fine children and good looks. ,If besides all this he ends his life well, then he is the one whom you seek, the one worthy to be called fortunate. But refrain from calling him fortunate before he dies; call him lucky. ,It is impossible for one who is only human to obtain all these things at the same time, just as no land is self-sufficient in what it produces. Each country has one thing but lacks another; whichever has the most is the best. Just so no human being is self-sufficient; each person has one thing but lacks another. ,Whoever passes through life with the most and then dies agreeably is the one who, in my opinion, O King, deserves to bear this name. It is necessary to see how the end of every affair turns out, for the god promises fortune to many people and then utterly ruins them.” 1.187. There was a trick, too, that this same queen contrived. She had a tomb made for herself and set high over the very gate of that entrance of the city which was used most, with writing engraved on the tomb, which read: ,“If any king of Babylon in the future is in need of money, let him open this tomb and take as much as he likes: but let him not open it unless he is in need; for it will be the worse for him.” ,This tomb remained untouched until the kingship fell to Darius. He thought it a very strange thing that he should never use this gate, or take the money when it lay there and the writing itself invited him to. ,The reason he did not use the gate was that the dead body would be over his head as he passed through. ,After opening the tomb, he found no money there, only the dead body, with writing which read: “If you were ever satisfied with what you had and did not disgrace yourself seeking more, you would not have opened the coffins of the dead.” Such a woman, it is recorded, was this queen. 2.83. As to the art of divination among them, it belongs to no man, but to some of the gods; there are in their country oracles of Heracles, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Ares, and Zeus, and of Leto (the most honored of all) in the town of Buto . Nevertheless, they have several ways of divination, not just one. 2.119. Menelaus then went to Egypt and up the river to Memphis ; there, relating the truth of the matter, he met with great hospitality and got back Helen, who had not been harmed, and also all his wealth, besides. ,Yet, although getting this, Menelaus was guilty of injustice toward the Egyptians. For adverse weather detained him when he tried to sail away; after this continued for some time, he carried out something impious, ,taking two native children and sacrificing them. When it became known that he had done this, he fled with his ships straight to Libya, hated and hunted; and where he went from there, the Egyptians could not say. The priests told me that they had learned some of this by inquiry, but that they were sure of what had happened in their own country. 2.129. The next king of Egypt, they said, was Kheops' son Mycerinus. Disliking his father's doings, he opened the temples and let the people, ground down to the depth of misery, go to their business and their sacrifices; and he was the most just judge among all the kings. ,This is why he is praised above all the rulers of Egypt ; for not only were his judgments just, but Mycerinus would give any who were not satisfied with the judgment a present out of his own estate to compensate him for his loss. ,Though mild toward his people and conducting himself as he did, yet he suffered calamities, the first of which was the death of his daughter, the only child of his household. Deeply grieved over this misfortune, he wanted to give her a burial somewhat more sumptuous than ordinary; he therefore made a hollow cow's image of gilded wood and placed the body of his dead daughter therein. 3.65. At this time he said no more. But about twenty days later, he sent for the most prominent of the Persians that were about him, and thus addressed them: “Persians, I have to make known to you something which I kept most strictly concealed. ,When I was in Egypt I had a dream, which I wish I had not had; it seemed to me that a messenger came from home to tell me that Smerdis sitting on the royal throne touched heaven with his head. ,Then I feared that my brother would take away my sovereignty from me, and I acted with more haste than wisdom; for it is not in the power of human nature to run away from what is to be; but I, blind as I was, sent Prexaspes to Susa to kill Smerdis. When that great wrong was done I lived without fear, for I never thought that when Smerdis was removed another man might rise against me. ,But I mistook altogether what was to be; I have killed my brother when there was no need, and I have lost my kingdom none the less; for it was the Magus Smerdis that the divinity forewarned in the dream would revolt. ,Now he has been done for by me, and I would have you believe that Smerdis Cyrus' son no longer lives; the Magi rule the kingdom, the one that I left caretaker of my house, and his brother Smerdis. So then, the man is dead of an unholy destiny at the hands of his relations who ought to have been my avenger for the disgrace I have suffered from the Magi; ,and as he is no longer alive, necessity constrains me to charge you, men of Persia, in his place, with the last desire of my life. In the name of the gods of my royal house I charge all of you, but chiefly those Achaemenids that are here, not to let the sovereignty fall again into Median hands; if they have it after getting it by trickery, take it back through trickery of your own; if they have got it away by force, then by force all the stronger get it back. ,And if you do this, may your land bring forth fruit, and your women and your flocks and herds be blessed with offspring, remaining free for all time; but if you do not get the kingdom back or attempt to get it back, then I pray things turn out the opposite for you, and on top of this, that every Persian meet an end such as mine.” With that Cambyses wept bitterly for all that had happened to him. 3.124. Polycrates then prepared to visit Oroetes, despite the strong dissuasion of his diviners and friends, and a vision seen by his daughter in a dream; she dreamt that she saw her father in the air overhead being washed by Zeus and anointed by Helios; ,after this vision she used all means to persuade him not to go on this journey to Oroetes; even as he went to his fifty-oared ship she prophesied evil for him. When Polycrates threatened her that if he came back safe, she would long remain unmarried, she answered with a prayer that his threat might be fulfilled: for she would rather, she said, long remain unmarried than lose her father. 3.125. But Polycrates would listen to no advice. He sailed to meet Oroetes, with a great retinue of followers, among whom was Democedes, son of Calliphon, a man of Croton and the most skillful physician of his time. ,But no sooner had Polycrates come to Magnesia than he was horribly murdered in a way unworthy of him and of his aims; for, except for the sovereigns of Syracuse, no sovereign of Greek race is fit to be compared with Polycrates for magnificence. ,Having killed him in some way not fit to be told, Oroetes then crucified him; as for those who had accompanied him, he let the Samians go, telling them to thank him that they were free; those who were not Samians, or were servants of Polycrates' followers, he kept for slaves. ,And Polycrates hanging in the air fulfilled his daughter's vision in every detail; for he was washed by Zeus when it rained, and he was anointed by Helios as he exuded sweat from his body. 4.62. This is their way of sacrificing to other gods and these are the beasts offered; but their sacrifices to Ares are of this sort. Every district in each of the governments has a structure sacred to Ares; namely, a pile of bundles of sticks three eighths of a mile wide and long, but of a lesser height, on the top of which there is a flattened four-sided surface; three of its sides are sheer, but the fourth can be ascended. ,Every year a hundred and fifty wagon-loads of sticks are heaped upon this; for the storms of winter always make it sink down. On this sacred pile an ancient scimitar of iron is set for each people: their image of Ares. They bring yearly sacrifice of sheep and goats and horses to this scimitar, offering to these symbols even more than they do to the other gods. ,of enemies that they take alive, they sacrifice one man in every hundred, not as they sacrifice sheep and goats, but differently. They pour wine on the men's heads and cut their throats over a bowl; then they carry the blood up on to the pile of sticks and pour it on the scimitar. ,They carry the blood up above, but down below by the sacred pile they cut off all the slain men's right arms and hands and throw these into the air, and depart when they have sacrificed the rest of the victims; the arm lies where it has fallen, and the body apart from it. 5.90.2. Furthermore, they were spurred on by the oracles which foretold that many deeds of enmity would be perpetrated against them by the Athenians. Previously they had had no knowledge of these oracles but now Cleomenes brought them to Sparta, and the Lacedaemonians learned their contents. It was from the Athenian acropolis that Cleomenes took the oracles, which had been in the possession of the Pisistratidae earlier. When they were exiled, they left them in the temple from where they were retrieved by Cleomenes. 6.57.4. They keep all oracles that are given, though the Pythians also know them. The kings alone judge cases concerning the rightful possessor of an unwedded heiress, if her father has not betrothed her, and cases concerning public roads. 6.118. Datis journeyed with his army to Asia, and when he arrived at Myconos he saw a vision in his sleep. What that vision was is not told, but as soon as day broke Datis made a search of his ships. He found in a Phoenician ship a gilded image of Apollo, and asked where this plunder had been taken. Learning from what temple it had come, he sailed in his own ship to Delos. ,The Delians had now returned to their island, and Datis set the image in the temple, instructing the Delians to carry it away to Theban Delium, on the coast opposite Chalcis. ,Datis gave this order and sailed away, but the Delians never carried that statue away; twenty years later the Thebans brought it to Delium by command of an oracle. 7.6. He said this because he desired adventures and wanted to be governor of Hellas. Finally he worked on Xerxes and persuaded him to do this, and other things happened that helped him to persuade Xerxes. ,Messengers came from Thessaly from the Aleuadae (who were princes of Thessaly) and invited the king into Hellas with all earnestness; the Pisistratidae who had come up to Susa used the same pleas as the Aleuadae, offering Xerxes even more than they did. ,They had come up to Sardis with Onomacritus, an Athenian diviner who had set in order the oracles of Musaeus. They had reconciled their previous hostility with him; Onomacritus had been banished from Athens by Pisistratus' son Hipparchus, when he was caught by Lasus of Hermione in the act of interpolating into the writings of Musaeus an oracle showing that the islands off Lemnos would disappear into the sea. ,Because of this Hipparchus banished him, though they had previously been close friends. Now he had arrived at Susa with the Pisistratidae, and whenever he came into the king's presence they used lofty words concerning him and he recited from his oracles; all that portended disaster to the Persian he left unspoken, choosing and reciting such prophecies as were most favorable, telling how the Hellespont must be bridged by a man of Persia and describing the expedition. ,So he brought his oracles to bear, while the Pisistratidae and Aleuadae gave their opinions. 7.15. Greatly frightened by the vision, Xerxes leapt up from his bed, and sent a messenger to summon Artabanus. When he came, Xerxes said, “Artabanus, for a moment I was of unsound mind, and I answered your good advice with foolish words; but after no long time I repented, and saw that it was right for me to follow your advice. ,Yet, though I desire to, I cannot do it; ever since I turned back and repented, a vision keeps coming to haunt my sight, and it will not allow me to do as you advise; just now it has threatened me and gone. ,Now if a god is sending the vision, and it is his full pleasure that there this expedition against Hellas take place, that same dream will hover about you and give you the same command it gives me. I believe that this is most likely to happen, if you take all my apparel and sit wearing it upon my throne, and then lie down to sleep in my bed.” 7.16. Xerxes said this, but Artabanus would not obey the first command, thinking it was not right for him to sit on the royal throne; at last he was compelled and did as he was bid, saying first: ,“O king, I judge it of equal worth whether a man is wise or is willing to obey good advice; to both of these you have attained, but the company of bad men trips you up; just as they say that sea, of all things the most serviceable to men, is hindered from following its nature by the blasts of winds that fall upon it. ,It was not that I heard harsh words from you that stung me so much as that, when two opinions were laid before the Persians, one tending to the increase of pride, the other to its abatement, showing how evil a thing it is to teach the heart continual desire of more than it has, of these two opinions you preferred that one which was more fraught with danger to yourself and to the Persians. ,Now when you have turned to the better opinion, you say that, while intending to abandon the expedition against the Greeks, you are haunted by a dream sent by some god, which forbids you to disband the expedition. ,But this is none of heaven's working, my son. The roving dreams that visit men are of such nature as I shall teach you, since I am many years older than you. Those visions that rove about us in dreams are for the most part the thoughts of the day; and in these recent days we have been very busy with this expedition. ,But if this is not as I determine and it has something divine to it, then you have spoken the conclusion of the matter; let it appear to me just as it has to you, and utter its command. If it really wishes to appear, it should do so to me no more by virtue of my wearing your dress instead of mine, and my sleeping in your bed rather than in my own. ,Whatever it is that appears to you in your sleep, surely it has not come to such folly as to infer from your dress that I am you when it sees me. We now must learn if it will take no account of me and not deign to appear and haunt me, whether I am wearing your robes or my own, but will come to you; if it comes continually, I myself would say that it is something divine. ,If you are determined that this must be done and there is no averting it, and I must lie down to sleep in your bed, so be it; this duty I will fulfill, and let the vision appear also to me. But until then I will keep my present opinion.” 7.17. So spoke Artabanus and did as he was bid, hoping to prove Xerxes' words vain; he put on Xerxes' robes and sat on the king's throne. Then while he slept there came to him in his sleep the same dream that had haunted Xerxes; it stood over him and spoke thus: ,“Are you the one who dissuades Xerxes from marching against Hellas, because you care for him? Neither in the future nor now will you escape with impunity for striving to turn aside what must be. To Xerxes himself it has been declared what will befall him if he disobeys.” 7.18. With this threat (so it seemed to Artabanus) the vision was about to burn his eyes with hot irons. He leapt up with a loud cry, then sat by Xerxes and told him the whole story of what he had seen in his dream, and next he said: ,“O King, since I have seen, as much as a man may, how the greater has often been brought low by the lesser, I forbade you to always give rein to your youthful spirit, knowing how evil a thing it is to have many desires, and remembering the end of Cyrus' expedition against the Massagetae and of Cambyses' against the Ethiopians, and I myself marched with Darius against the Scythians. ,Knowing this, I judged that you had only to remain in peace for all men to deem you fortunate. But since there is some divine motivation, and it seems that the gods mark Hellas for destruction, I myself change and correct my judgment. Now declare the gods' message to the Persians, and bid them obey your first command for all due preparation. Do this, so that nothing on your part be lacking to the fulfillment of the gods' commission.” ,After this was said, they were incited by the vision, and when daylight came Xerxes imparted all this to the Persians. Artabanus now openly encouraged that course which he alone had before openly discouraged. 7.143. Now there was a certain Athenian, by name and title Themistocles son of Neocles, who had lately risen to be among their chief men. He claimed that the readers of oracles had incorrectly interpreted the whole of the oracle and reasoned that if the verse really pertained to the Athenians, it would have been formulated in less mild language, calling Salamis “cruel” rather than “divine ” seeing that its inhabitants were to perish. ,Correctly understood, the gods' oracle was spoken not of the Athenians but of their enemies, and his advice was that they should believe their ships to be the wooden wall and so make ready to fight by sea. ,When Themistocles put forward this interpretation, the Athenians judged him to be a better counsellor than the readers of oracles, who would have had them prepare for no sea fight, and, in short, offer no resistance at all, but leave Attica and settle in some other country. 7.197. When Xerxes had come to Alus in Achaea, his guides, desiring to inform him of all they knew, told him the story which is related in that country concerning the worship of Laphystian Zeus, namely how Athamas son of Aeolus plotted Phrixus' death with Ino, and further, how the Achaeans by an oracle's bidding compel Phrixus descendants to certain tasks. ,They order the eldest of that family not to enter their town-hall (which the Achaeans call the People's House) and themselves keep watch there. If he should enter, he may not come out, save only to be sacrificed. They say as well that many of those who were to be sacrificed had fled in fear to another country, and that if they returned at a later day and were taken, they were brought into the town-hall. The guides showed Xerxes how the man is sacrificed, namely with fillets covering him all over and a procession to lead him forth. ,It is the descendants of Phrixus' son Cytissorus who are treated in this way, because when the Achaeans by an oracle's bidding made Athamas son of Aeolus a scapegoat for their country and were about to sacrifice him, this Cytissorus came from Aea in Colchis and delivered him, thereby bringing the god's wrath on his own descendants. ,Hearing all this, Xerxes, when he came to the temple grove, refrained from entering it himself and bade all his army do likewise, holding the house and the precinct of Athamas' descendants alike in reverence. 7.219. The seer Megistias, examining the sacrifices, first told the Hellenes at Thermopylae that death was coming to them with the dawn. Then deserters came who announced the circuit made by the Persians. These gave their signals while it was still night; a third report came from the watchers running down from the heights at dawn. ,The Hellenes then took counsel, but their opinions were divided. Some advised not to leave their post, but others spoke against them. They eventually parted, some departing and dispersing each to their own cities, others preparing to remain there with Leonidas. 7.228. There is an inscription written over these men, who were buried where they fell, and over those who died before the others went away, dismissed by Leonidas. It reads as follows: quote type="inscription" l met="dact"Here four thousand from the Peloponnese once fought three million. /l /quote ,That inscription is for them all, but the Spartans have their own: quote type="inscription" l met="dact"Foreigner, go tell the Spartans that we lie here obedient to their commands. /l /quote ,That one is to the Lacedaemonians, this one to the seer: quote type="inscription" l met="dact"This is a monument to the renowned Megistias, /l lSlain by the Medes who crossed the Spercheius river. /l lThe seer knew well his coming doom, /l lBut endured not to abandon the leaders of Sparta. /l /quote ,Except for the seer's inscription, the Amphictyons are the ones who honored them by erecting inscriptions and pillars. That of the seer Megistias was inscribed by Simonides son of Leoprepes because of his tie of guest-friendship with the man. 8.20. Now the Euboeans had neglected the oracle of Bacis, believing it to be empty of meaning, and neither by carrying away nor by bringing in anything had they shown that they feared an enemy's coming. In so doing they were the cause of their own destruction, ,for Bacis' oracle concerning this matter runs as follows quote type="oracle" l met="dact"When a strange-tongued man casts a yoke of papyrus on the waves, /l lThen take care to keep bleating goats far from the coasts of Euboea /l /quote To these verses the Euboeans gave no heed; but in the evils then present and soon to come they suffered the greatest calamity. 8.51. Since the crossing of the Hellespont, where the barbarians began their journey, they had spent one month there crossing into Europe and in three more months were in Attica, when Calliades was archon at Athens. ,When they took the town it was deserted, but in the sacred precinct they found a few Athenians, stewards of the sacred precinct and poor people, who defended themselves against the assault by fencing the acropolis with doors and logs. They had not withdrawn to Salamis not only because of poverty but also because they thought they had discovered the meaning of the oracle the Pythia had given, namely that the wooden wall would be impregnable. They believed that according to the oracle this, not the ships, was the refuge. 8.52. The Persians took up a position on the hill opposite the acropolis, which the Athenians call the Areopagus, and besieged them in this way: they wrapped arrows in tar and set them on fire, and then shot them at the barricade. Still the besieged Athenians defended themselves, although they had come to the utmost danger and their barricade had failed them. ,When the Pisistratids proposed terms of surrender, they would not listen but contrived defenses such as rolling down boulders onto the barbarians when they came near the gates. For a long time Xerxes was at a loss, unable to capture them. 8.53. In time a way out of their difficulties was revealed to the barbarians, since according to the oracle all the mainland of Attica had to become subject to the Persians. In front of the acropolis, and behind the gates and the ascent, was a place where no one was on guard, since no one thought any man could go up that way. Here some men climbed up, near the sacred precinct of Cecrops' daughter Aglaurus, although the place was a sheer cliff. ,When the Athenians saw that they had ascended to the acropolis, some threw themselves off the wall and were killed, and others fled into the chamber. The Persians who had come up first turned to the gates, opened them, and murdered the suppliants. When they had levelled everything, they plundered the sacred precinct and set fire to the entire acropolis. 8.54. So it was that Xerxes took complete possession of Athens, and he sent a horseman to Susa to announce his present success to Artabanus. On the day after the messenger was sent, he called together the Athenian exiles who accompanied him and asked them go up to the acropolis and perform sacrifices in their customary way, an order given because he had been inspired by a dream or because he felt remorse after burning the sacred precinct. The Athenian exiles did as they were commanded. 8.55. I will tell why I have mentioned this. In that acropolis is a shrine of Erechtheus, called the “Earthborn,” and in the shrine are an olive tree and a pool of salt water. The story among the Athenians is that they were set there by Poseidon and Athena as tokens when they contended for the land. It happened that the olive tree was burnt by the barbarians with the rest of the sacred precinct, but on the day after its burning, when the Athenians ordered by the king to sacrifice went up to the sacred precinct, they saw a shoot of about a cubit's length sprung from the stump, and they reported this. 8.65. Dicaeus son of Theocydes, an Athenian exile who had become important among the Medes, said that at the time when the land of Attica was being laid waste by Xerxes' army and there were no Athenians in the country, he was with Demaratus the Lacedaemonian on the Thriasian plain and saw advancing from Eleusis a cloud of dust as if raised by the feet of about thirty thousand men. They marvelled at what men might be raising such a cloud of dust and immediately heard a cry. The cry seemed to be the “Iacchus” of the mysteries, ,and when Demaratus, ignorant of the rites of Eleusis, asked him what was making this sound, Dicaeus said, “Demaratus, there is no way that some great disaster will not befall the king's army. Since Attica is deserted, it is obvious that this voice is divine and comes from Eleusis to help the Athenians and their allies. ,If it descends upon the Peloponnese, the king himself and his army on the mainland will be endangered. If, however, it turns towards the ships at Salamis, the king will be in danger of losing his fleet. ,Every year the Athenians observe this festival for the Mother and the Maiden, and any Athenian or other Hellene who wishes is initiated. The voice which you hear is the ‘Iacchus’ they cry at this festival.” To this Demaratus replied, “Keep silent and tell this to no one else. ,If these words of yours are reported to the king, you will lose your head, and neither I nor any other man will be able to save you, so be silent. The gods will see to the army.” ,Thus he advised, and after the dust and the cry came a cloud, which rose aloft and floated away towards Salamis to the camp of the Hellenes. In this way they understood that Xerxes' fleet was going to be destroyed. Dicaeus son of Theocydes used to say this, appealing to Demaratus and others as witnesses. 8.77. I cannot say against oracles that they are not true, and I do not wish to try to discredit them when they speak plainly. Look at the following matter: quote type="oracle" l met="dact"When the sacred headland of golden-sworded Artemis and Cynosura by the sea they bridge with ships, /l lAfter sacking shiny Athens in mad hope, /l lDivine Justice will extinguish mighty Greed the son of Insolence /l lLusting terribly, thinking to devour all. /l /quote , quote type="oracle" l met="dact"Bronze will come together with bronze, and Ares /l lWill redden the sea with blood. To Hellas the day of freedom /l lFar-seeing Zeus and august Victory will bring. /l /quote Considering this, I dare to say nothing against Bacis concerning oracles when he speaks so plainly, nor will I consent to it by others. 9.1. When Alexander returned and told him what he had heard from the Athenians, Mardonius set forth from Thessaly and led his army with all zeal against Athens; he also took with him all the people to whose countries he came along the way. The rulers of Thessaly did not repent of what they had already done and were readier than before to further his march. Thorax of Larissa, who had given Xerxes safe-conduct in his flight, now, without any attempt of concealment, opened a passage for Mardonius into Hellas. 9.36. This Tisamenus had now been brought by the Spartans and was the diviner of the Greeks at Plataea. The sacrifices boded good to the Greeks if they would just defend themselves, but evil if they should cross the Asopus and be the first to attack. 9.37. Mardonius' sacrifices also foretold an unfavorable outcome if he should be zealous to attack first, and good if he should but defend himself. He too used the Greek manner of sacrifice, and Hegesistratus of Elis was his diviner, the most notable of the sons of Tellias. This man had been put in prison and condemned to die by the Spartans for the great harm which he had done them. ,Being in such bad shape inasmuch as he was in peril of his life and was likely to be very grievously maltreated before his death, he did something which was almost beyond belief; made fast in iron-bound stocks, he got an iron weapon which was brought in some way into his prison, and straightway conceived a plan of such courage as we have never known; reckoning how best the rest of it might get free, he cut off his own foot at the instep. ,This done, he tunneled through the wall out of the way of the guards who kept watch over him, and so escaped to Tegea. All night he journeyed, and all day he hid and lay hidden in the woods, till on the third night he came to Tegea, while all the people of Lacedaemon sought him. The latter were greatly amazed when they saw the half of his foot which had been cut off and lying there but not were unable to find the man himself. ,This, then, is the way in which he escaped the Lacedaemonians and took refuge in Tegea, which at that time was unfriendly to Lacedaemon. After he was healed and had made himself a foot of wood, he declared himself an open enemy of the Lacedaemonians. Yet the enmity which he bore them brought him no good at the last, for they caught him at his divinations in Zacynthus and killed him. 9.38. The death of Hegesistratus, however, took place after the Plataean business. At the present he was by the Asopus, hired by Mardonius for no small wage, where he sacrificed and worked zealously, both for the hatred he bore the Lacedaemonians and for gain. ,When no favorable omens for battle could be won either by the Persians themselves or by the Greeks who were with them (for they too had a diviner of their own, Hippomachus of Leucas), and the Greeks kept flocking in and their army grew, Timagenides son of Herpys, a Theban, advised Mardonius to guard the outlet of the pass over Cithaeron, telling him that the Greeks were coming in daily and that he would thereby cut off many of them. 9.41. Until ten days had passed, no more was done than this. On the eleventh day from their first encampment opposite each other, the Greeks growing greatly in number and Mardonius being greatly vexed by the delay, there was a debate held between Mardonius son of Gobryas and Artabazus son of Pharnaces, who stood as high as only few others in Xerxes' esteem. ,Their opinions in council were as I will show. Artabazus thought it best that they should strike their camp with all speed and lead the whole army within the walls of Thebes. Here there was much food stored and fodder for their beasts of burden; furthermore, they could sit at their ease here and conclude the business by doing as follows: ,they could take the great store they had of gold, minted and other, and silver drinking-cups, and send all this to all places in Hellas without stint, excepting none, but especially to the chief men in the cities of Hellas. Let them do this (he said) and the Greeks would quickly surrender their liberty; but do not let the Persians risk the event of a battle. ,This opinion of his was the same as the Thebans, inasmuch as he too had special foreknowledge. Mardonius' counsel, however, was more vehement and intemperate and not at all leaning to moderation. He said that he thought that their army was much stronger than the Greeks and that they should give battle with all speed so as not to let more Greeks muster than were mustered already. As for the sacrifices of Hegesistratus, let them pay no heed to these, nor seek to wring good from them, but rather give battle after Persian custom. 9.43. Now for this prophecy, which Mardonius said was spoken of the Persians, I know it to have been made concerning not them but the Illyrians and the army of the Enchelees. There is, however, a prophecy made by Bacis concerning this battle: , quote type="oracle" l met="dact"By Thermodon's stream and the grass-grown banks of Asopus, /l lWill be a gathering of Greeks for fight and the ring of the barbarian's war-cry; /l lMany a Median archer, by death untimely overtaken will fall /l lThere in the battle when the day of his doom is upon him. /l /quote I know that these verses and others very similar to them from Musaeus referred to the Persians. As for the river Thermodon, it flows between Tanagra and Glisas. 9.61. When the Athenians heard that, they attempted to help the Lacedaemonians and defend them with all their might. But when their march had already begun, they were set upon by the Greeks posted opposite them, who had joined themselves to the king. For this reason, being now under attack by the foe which was closest, they could at the time send no aid. ,The Lacedaemonians and Tegeans accordingly stood alone, men-at-arms and light-armed together; there were of the Lacedaemonians fifty thousand and of the Tegeans, who had never been parted from the Lacedaemonians, three thousand. These offered sacrifice so that they would fare better in battle with Mardonius and the army which was with him. ,They could get no favorable omen from their sacrifices, and in the meanwhile many of them were killed and by far more wounded (for the Persians set up their shields for a fence, and shot showers of arrows). Since the Spartans were being hard-pressed and their sacrifices were of no avail, Pausanias lifted up his eyes to the temple of Hera at Plataea and called on the goddess, praying that they might not be disappointed in their hope. 9.62. While he was still in the act of praying, the men of Tegea leapt out before the rest and charged the barbarians, and immediately after Pausanias' prayer the sacrifices of the Lacedaemonians became favorable. Now they too charged the Persians, and the Persians met them, throwing away their bows. ,First they fought by the fence of shields, and when that was down, there was a fierce and long fight around the temple of Demeter itself, until they came to blows at close quarters. For the barbarians laid hold of the spears and broke them short. ,Now the Persians were neither less valorous nor weaker, but they had no armor; moreover, since they were unskilled and no match for their adversaries in craft, they would rush out singly and in tens or in groups great or small, hurling themselves on the Spartans and so perishing.
3. Cicero, On Divination, 1.34 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.34. Iis igitur adsentior, qui duo genera divinationum esse dixerunt, unum, quod particeps esset artis, alterum, quod arte careret. Est enim ars in iis, qui novas res coniectura persequuntur, veteres observatione didicerunt. Carent autem arte ii, qui non ratione aut coniectura observatis ac notatis signis, sed concitatione quadam animi aut soluto liberoque motu futura praesentiunt, quod et somniantibus saepe contingit et non numquam vaticitibus per furorem, ut Bacis Boeotius, ut Epimenides Cres, ut Sibylla Erythraea. Cuius generis oracla etiam habenda sunt, non ea, quae aequatis sortibus ducuntur, sed illa, quae instinctu divino adflatuque funduntur; etsi ipsa sors contemnenda non est, si et auctoritatem habet vetustatis, ut eae sunt sortes, quas e terra editas accepimus; quae tamen ductae ut in rem apte cadant, fieri credo posse divinitus. Quorum omnium interpretes, ut grammatici poe+tarum, proxime ad eorum, quos interpretantur, divinationem videntur accedere. 1.34. I agree, therefore, with those who have said that there are two kinds of divination: one, which is allied with art; the other, which is devoid of art. Those diviners employ art, who, having learned the known by observation, seek the unknown by deduction. On the other hand those do without art who, unaided by reason or deduction or by signs which have been observed and recorded, forecast the future while under the influence of mental excitement, or of some free and unrestrained emotion. This condition often occurs to men while dreaming and sometimes to persons who prophesy while in a frenzy — like Bacis of Boeotia, Epimenides of Crete and the Sibyl of Erythraea. In this latter class must be placed oracles — not oracles given by means of equalized lots — but those uttered under the impulse of divine inspiration; although divination by lot is not in itself to be despised, if it has the sanction of antiquity, as in the case of those lots which, according to tradition, sprang out of the earth; for in spite of everything, I am inclined to think that they may, under the power of God, be so drawn as to give an appropriate response. Men capable of correctly interpreting all these signs of the future seem to approach very near to the divine spirit of the gods whose wills they interpret, just as scholars do when they interpret the poets.
4. Plutarch, Aristides, 9.1-9.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Plutarch, Pelopidas, 21.3 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

21.3. and, still further, the youths who were sacrificed by Themistocles to Dionysus Carnivorous before the sea fight at Salamis Cf. the Themistocles, xiii. 2 f. for the successes which followed these sacrifices proved them acceptable to the gods. Moreover, when Agesilaüs, who was setting out on an expedition from the same place as Agamemnon did, and against the same enemies, was asked by the goddess for his daughter in sacrifice, and had this vision as he lay asleep at Aulis, he was too tender-hearted to give her, Cf. the Agesilaüs, vi. 4 ff. and thereby brought his expedition to an unsuccessful and inglorious ending.
6. Plutarch, Themistocles, 13.2-13.3 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.27.4, 10.12.11, 10.14.6 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4.27.4. Epaminondas was most strongly drawn to the foundation by the oracles of Bacis, who was inspired by the Nymphs and left prophecies regarding others of the Greeks as well as the return of the Messenians: Then indeed shall the bright bloom of Sparta perish and Messene again shall be inhabited for all time. I have discovered that Bacis also told in what manner Eira would be captured, and this too is one of his oracles: The men of Messene o'ercome by the thunder's roll and spouting rain. 10.12.11. It is said that the men who uttered oracles were Euclus of Cyprus, the Athenians Musaeus, son of Antiophemus, and Lycus, son of Pandion, and also Bacis, a Boeotian who was possessed by nymphs. I have read the oracles of all these except those of Lycus. These are the women and men who, down to the present day, are said to have been the mouthpiece by which a god prophesied. But time is long, and perhaps similar things may occur again. 10.14.6. Now I greatly marveled that it was from Themistocles alone that the priestess refused to accept Persian spoils. Some thought that the god would have rejected alike all offerings from Persian spoils, if like Themistocles the others had inquired of Apollo before making their dedication. Others said that the god knew that Themistocles would become a suppliant of the Persian king, and refused to take the gifts so that Themistocles might not by a dedication render the Persian's enmity unappeasable. The expedition of the barbarian against Greece we find foretold in the oracles of Bacis, and Euclus wrote his verses about it at an even earlier date.
8. Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 1.6.9-1.6.12 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
achaea Mikalson (2003) 78
achaeans Mikalson (2003) 78
appeal of the sibyl Bacchi (2022) 61
ares Mikalson (2003) 78
aristophanes Edmonds (2019) 216
artabanus of persia Mikalson (2003) 141
artaüctes of persia Mikalson (2003) 78, 141
athena,of egypt Mikalson (2003) 144
athenians,sacrifices of humans Mikalson (2003) 78
athens Edmonds (2019) 216
bacis,salamis Mikalson (2003) 78
bakis Bacchi (2022) 61; Edmonds (2019) 216
cambyses of persia,dreams of Mikalson (2003) 141
chresmologoi Mikalson (2003) 141, 206
christianity Edmonds (2019) 216
croesus of lydia,piety of Mikalson (2003) 141
cyprus Edmonds (2019) 216
cyrus of persia,dreams of Mikalson (2003) 141
daimones Mikalson (2003) 141
datis,persians general,dreams of Mikalson (2003) 206
dedications Mikalson (2003) 141
delphi Bacchi (2022) 61; Edmonds (2019) 216
delphic oracle,wooden wall, Mikalson (2003) 78, 141
dionysus,omestes Mikalson (2003) 78
divination Edmonds (2019) 216
dreams,of polycrates daughter Mikalson (2003) 141
dreams Mikalson (2003) 141
egypt and egyptians Mikalson (2003) 78, 141, 144
euphrantides Mikalson (2003) 78
festivals,of athena of egypt Mikalson (2003) 144
festivals,of isis of egypt Mikalson (2003) 144
festivals,thesmophoria Mikalson (2003) 144
helen of sparta Mikalson (2003) 78
herodotus Edmonds (2019) 216
hesiod Mikalson (2003) 144
hexameter verse' Bacchi (2022) 61
homer Mikalson (2003) 144
hybris Mikalson (2003) 78
impiety,of human sacrifice Mikalson (2003) 78
isis,goddess of egypt Mikalson (2003) 144
judaism Edmonds (2019) 216
kleomenes Edmonds (2019) 216
koros Mikalson (2003) 78
lapis lazuli Edmonds (2019) 216
lysistratus of athens Mikalson (2003) 141, 206
manteis Mikalson (2003) 78, 141
megistias of acarnania Mikalson (2003) 141
menelaus of sparta Mikalson (2003) 78
miracles,at athens Mikalson (2003) 141
musaeus Edmonds (2019) 216
myth and mythology Mikalson (2003) 144
nike,goddess Mikalson (2003) 78
nymphs Edmonds (2019) 216
omens,to artaüctes Mikalson (2003) 141
omens,to athenians Mikalson (2003) 141
omens,to greeks Mikalson (2003) 78, 141
omens Mikalson (2003) 141
onomacritus Mikalson (2003) 141
oracles Edmonds (2019) 216
orphics Mikalson (2003) 144
pausanias Edmonds (2019) 216
phanias of lesbos Mikalson (2003) 78
pisistratids Edmonds (2019) 216
polycrates of samos Mikalson (2003) 141
prayers,of lydians Mikalson (2003) 141
prayers Mikalson (2003) 78, 141
roman imperial period Edmonds (2019) 216
roman sibylline books Edmonds (2019) 216
sacrifices,before battle Mikalson (2003) 78
sacrifices,human Mikalson (2003) 78
sacrifices Mikalson (2003) 141
salvation Edmonds (2019) 216
samothrace,mysteries of Mikalson (2003) 144
sandauce of persia Mikalson (2003) 78
scythians Mikalson (2003) 78
semele,goddess of egypt Mikalson (2003) 144
sibyl Edmonds (2019) 216
sparta Edmonds (2019) 216
themistocles of athens,human sacrifice and Mikalson (2003) 78
women Edmonds (2019) 216
xenia Mikalson (2003) 78
xerxes of persia,dreams of Mikalson (2003) 141, 206
xerxes of persia,oracles to Mikalson (2003) 141
zeus Mikalson (2003) 78