The ancients believed that a person's life is determined by fate, destiny. Even the gods were largely subject to the dictates of fate, but the responsibility of Zeus, the head of the Greek pantheon, was to see to it that their life was the drawn path. They believed that it is possible to lift the veil of the future, and if necessary seek advice from various oracles. The most famous was the oracle of the god Apollo predictions, located near Delphi.

Quests for help priests soothsayers, interpret the will of the deity, or signs, such as thrown dice. A special type of divination were auspices — observe the flight and cries of birds, is extremely popular in ancient Rome. The future, he believed people could identify the lot or kind of burnt offerings. Another type of prophecy is the dreams sent by the gods, sometimes, however, only to confuse people. For the predictions was made to contact as living oracles, and to have died. The Romans also often cast lots, trying to learn his fate, but very rarely resorted to the prophecies in policy.

Oracle (Latin oraculum)
— In ancient times one of the means by which people tried to enter into direct contact with the deity. Sayings oracle revelations were considered gods, and they were produced questioning in a certain place, a well-known mediators, mostly priests of the deity, and interpreters who were receiving revelation. All oracles can be subsumed under three categories: the predictions were obtained or in the form of sentences, or symbols, or in the form of dreams. In the famous oracle of all — Delphic — stupefying couple came out of the rock crevices, the prophetess led to a state of clairvoyance, at Dodona about the will of the deity was judged by the movements of the leaves on the sacred oak, the sounds emanating from the metal container to the murmur of the sacred source, Delos followed the rustling of laurel.

In the oracle of Zeus Ammonskogo in Libya — a known phenomena in the image of the deity, made up of precious stones, in Rome, at the behest of the Senate and in the presence of a magistrate, revealed Sibylline books.
It is difficult to judge how the priests themselves were convinced of the truth of revelation, in any case to see in oracles alone deliberate deception on the part of the priests would be one-sided judgment and devoid of historical perspective. Even a vague form responses, particularly characteristic of the Delphic oracle, is not in itself evidence of deliberate deception, but it is undeniable that priests often provided his infallibility ambiguous answers, suitable for any occasion. The emergence of an oracle that location was required or beneficent sources that Greek thought used to bind affinity deity, or natural phenomenon (a pair of hot springs, etc.), produces a state of exaltation. There were oracles and in areas where the remains of some of the famous clairvoyant. In the latter case, the person subjected to questioning usually spiritualize the action of a deity;
so for example, in oracle Amphiaraus questioning, after three days of abstinence from wine and overnight fasting, had to sleep in the temple to him in a dream opened the will of the deity.

Appointment oracle was not to just to reveal the future, but to the name of god to lead a life of the people in those exceptional cases where human wisdom rendered untenable. The oracle resorted statesmen when their personal authority is insufficient for carrying out one or the other measure. Therefore, for a certain period of Greek history oracles are important political institutions. Oracles, whose advice is sought in all important undertakings, much to the maintenance of separate Greek consciousness of national unity and implementation obschegrecheskih enterprises. They protected the crop, the colonization of new lands, etc.

The oldest of all the oracles considered oracle in Meroe, in Egypt, and it is immediately followed by an oracle in the Egyptian Thebes, and the oracle of Zeus Ammonskogo. In Greece, the greatest authority used the oracle at Dodona, and later — the oracle at Delphi. In addition, Zeus had his oracles are in Elida, Pisa and Crete, Apollo — in Claros near Colophon and Delos. Oracle Branhidov in Miletus was dedicated to Apollo and Artemis. Oracles were heroes in the oracle Amphiaraus Oropose, oracles Trifonov and Hercules — in Bure and in Achaia. Oracles with evocation of the dead existed in Heraclea Pontus and Avernskom lake. The oracle should be classified and sayings of the so-called Sibyls, particularly Eritrean and (in Italy) kumeyskih. In Rome there were oracles Faun and Fortune in Preneste, oracle Palicki, but they are willing to refer also to the Greek and the Egyptian oracles. In Greece, the oracles have lost their significance only after the complete fall of freedom and independence of the Greeks, and then deprived of all authority, they eked out their existence to the reign of Theodosius, when it was finally closed.

Pythia (??) — prophetess at Delphi. When the Delphic sanctuary in ancient times, when applied to the oracle, apparently, only once a year, there were two Pythia and one of the assistant, and subsequently, with more frequent voproshenii oracle Pythia was only one. Oracle was selected regardless of social class. Demanded of her dedication to Apollo and chastity. First Delphic oracle Pythia were virgins. But when one of them seduced by the petitioner, who appeared for advice, instead of virgins began to choose mature married women with children, or old women, to avoid future similar cases discredit authoritative oracle. Oracle refused to give the man of prophecy, polluted crime. She was preparing for a three-day fasting and divination bath in Castalian source, before divination wore luxurious clothing, placed a laurel wreath on his head, drinking water source Kassotidy and chewed leaf sacred laurel. Then she sat down on a huge tripod, standing on the breach, and, falling into ecstasy of intoxicating fumes prophesied. These couples were harmful.

A case where the Pythia, fell from a tripod unconscious and died. Maybe it was described by Plutarch, when he was a witness of the priests Pythia was forced to work in an odd day. Against his will, it came down to aditon and suddenly screamed, fell to the ground, and a few days died.
In the ancient prophecy was given once a year — the birthday of Apollo — 7 Bisiya (mid February — mid-March), when he returned from the Hyperboreans. With the VI. BC. e. were held on the seventh day of each month, except for the three winter months when Apollo was visiting the Hyperboreans, and later — every day except unclean days.

Delphian oracle
— There oracle at the temple of Apollo at Delphi. According to Greek mythology, was founded by Apollo on the site of his victory in the monstrous serpent Python. Delphic oracle, who was in charge of the Pythia, was one of the oracle in the Hellenic world. The flowering of the Delphic oracle refers to the VII-V century BC. e., when he acted as a mediator in conflicts mezhpolisnyh. Was made on all important matters of state and personal life turn to the oracle. Was carried political alliance with Sparta, which has become a secular sword temple. In Delphi hurry embassy with rich gifts of the many kingdoms of the ancient world. Midas gave as a gift to the temple of the golden throne. Croesus was a fan of the Delphic Apollo.

Reduce the impact of the church began with the Greco-Persian Wars, when Delphi was the Persians, hoping to become the religious center of the Persian Empire Persian Empire. But even during the time of Roman rule in the church kept monetary contributions from different areas of the Mediterranean. The temple was repeatedly plundered, burned during the invasion of the Gauls in 279 BC, during the reign of Theodosius (391 AD. Uh.) It was finally closed down.

History and mythology.
The history of the church began with the fact that once a goat, wandering among the rocks of Parnassus, approaching a certain hole, where evaporation out, suddenly came to an extraordinary convulsive movement. People came running, too, felt the effect of the vapors: the madness of his mind, they were abruptly utter incoherent words. Once those words were for the prediction (oracles), and steam escape from earth the hole — for divine inspiration. In this place and built the famous temple. Oracle originally belonged Gaia, guarded by the dragon Python, or a dolphin and a place called Pifo (ancient Greek.?? — Expose the rot). Gaia was the first prophetess mountain nymph Daphne (ancient Greek.?? — Laurel). From mother Gaia Themis was the oracle of Delphi, who gave his sister Phoebe, and she — the grandson of Apollo, who, having trained in the art of divination Pan came to Delphi, where the murdered guard the oracle dragon Python and possess an oracle.

Chthonic dark prophecy son of the Earth have given way to the will of Zeus, the father of the gods and the organizer of a new, Olimpiskogo cosmic order, which was made by the spokesman of "thrower sunlight", causing the land to the evaporation of divination. After the defeat of the dragon Apollo brought his ashes in a sarcophagus and established funeral games in honor of Python. Apollo then went looking for the priests of the temple. At sea, he saw a ship coming from Knossos, which in Crete. Turning dolphin, he brought the power of their spells ship Chris, where he opened the sailors and told about their purpose. In Chris sailors erected an altar to Apollo and was named Delphi, in honor of the image, in which Apollo appeared to them. From Chris sailors went to Parnassus, which became the first priest of the temple of Apollo. Bees brought from the country of the Hyperboreans temple of wax, and all subsequent temples were built on a sample.

Temple of Apollo,
located in the beautiful mountains of Delphi, was the most revered sites in ancient Greece. The townspeople came here for help, hoping to solve their problems in life, improve your health, soldiers — for advice before the battle, the settlers who went to Italy, Spain or Africa, waiting for him farewell. Oracle has supported the intention of Orestes to avenge the murder of his father Oedipus and predicted that he would kill his father and marry his mother.

Description of the sanctuary Pausanius gives in Book X of his "Description of Greece." In the city of Delphi Castalia brook, originating from between two rocks — Fedriadami, at the foot of which was a sanctuary. Sacred District was filled with statues of all kinds dedicatory structures, sometimes reaching to the size of entire buildings, etc. The most temple was built in the Doric style, and had a rich sculptural piece. The whole architrave was hung with shields, mined from the Persians and Gauls. In the pronaos were inscribed sayings seven sages ("Know thyself," "Nothing through the measure," and so on), and was a sacred image of a symbol "?" In triplicate: wooden dedicated 7th sages Bronze — Athenians and gold — Empress Livia.

In the inner part of the temple (aditon) available for questioning, the golden statue of Apollo, the laurel tree, white marble omphalos with two golden eagles, and under it was the sarcophagus with the ashes of the Python. In the sanctuary, where no one but the Pythia and the priests are not allowed, there is a famous cleft in the rock, from which a pair of stupefying. Above it stood the tripod on which the Pythia sat down to bring themselves into ecstasy under the influence of the vapor. Pythia originally chosen from the young girls, but once one of them is not in compliance with innocence, chose an older girl. At the edge of the cleft was key Kassotida, who drank water before Pythia divination, and laurel trees, the leaves of which she chewed.

The tree is in some unknown way cited shudder. Here is the so-called "center of the universe" — a cone-shaped elevation of marble wrapped up sacred masks. Of the countless any dedications (after the mass export of works of art in Rome under Nero, there were still 3,000 statues) deserves special mention huge golden tripod, dedicated by the Greeks from barbarian Plateyskoy production after the battle. Gold Cup it was backed by the bottom bronze column with three svivshihsya snakes. All parts are gold mining fokiytsev, bronze same column, in which the names of all the Greek states, fought with the Persians, was transported to Constantinople by Constantine the Great, where it is now. On the walls of the so-called "Leskhi Knidiytsev" is the famous song Polygnotus depicting the fall of Troy and the underworld. Near Delft, in the spur of Parnassus, is also stalactite grotto dedicated to the ancient nymphs and Pan.

Category: Mystery stories

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