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Dodona


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The sanctuary of Zeus Naïos in Epirus, and reputedly the oldest Greek oracle. The god's temple‐sharer is Dione Naïa, and they are shown together on coins. Traditionally oracular responses emanated from the rustling leaves of the sacred oak or from doves sitting in the tree. Odysseus claimed to have gone to Dodona in order to ‘hear Zeus' will from the lofty oak’. Achilles prayed to the Pelasgian Zeus at Dodona, whose prophets, ‘sleep on the ground with unwashed feet’. By the mid‐5th cent. bc the oracle was operated by three priestesses, who later on were themselves called ‘the Doves’. Their method of issuing responses in a trance was borrowed from Apollo's oracle at Delphi. The Dodonian oracle generally offered advice on private problems. The enquirer scratched his question on a lead tablet and was answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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