The Art of the Consultation

Michael Attyah Flower

in The Seer in Ancient Greece

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520252295
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934009 | DOI:
The Art of the Consultation

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Every seer seeks to establish a special relationship or rapport with his clients and to persuade those clients of his expertise. Individuality, creativity, and flexibility are also important aspects of the seer's craft. If every diviner acted like every other, there would be no means of distinguishing oneself, of setting oneself apart as having a special gift or skill. Finally, in addition to the ritual and performative aspects of divination, there is one other dimension that should not be overlooked: “the intellectual prowess of the diviner.” The seer practiced a traditional craft, but he practiced it successfully by applying his intelligence to the situation at hand, and by putting on a performance that served to establish confidence in his abilities and skills. In sum, when a seer conducted a rite of divination there were three major components to his activity: he was engaged in a ritual activity, he was acting out a performance, and he was employing his ingenuity and intelligence. All three of these facets—ritual, performance, and intelligence—are evident in the case studies that can be extracted from ancient sources.

Keywords: seers; Greek divination; ritual; performance; intelligence

Chapter.  10535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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