Ancient Greek Divination

Ancient Greek Divination

Hardback Blackwell Ancient Religions

By (author) Sarah Iles Johnston

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The first English-language survey of ancient Greek divinatory methods, Ancient Greek Divination offers a broad yet detailed treatment of the earliest attempts by ancient Greeks to seek the counsel of the gods. Offers in-depth discussions of oracles, wandering diviners, do-it-yourself methods of foretelling the future, magical divinatory techniques, and much more Illustrates how the study of divination illuminates the mentalities of ancient Greek religions and societies

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Author information

Sarah Iles Johnston is Professor of Greek and Latin and Director of the Program in the Study of Religions at The Ohio State University. She is the author of Hekate Soteira (1990) and Restless Dead (1999) and the editor or co-editor of Medea: Essays on Medea in Myth, Literature, Philosophy and Art (1997), R eligions of the Ancient World: A Guide (2004) and Mantike: Studies in Ancient Divination (2005). Her most recent book, which she co-authored with Fritz Graf, is Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets (2007).

Review quote

"It is, in fact, difficult to find fault with this work." (Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science, June 2010) "This is a very accessible volume that explores the complicated roles and methods of divination throughout the Greek world. Johnston successfully elucidates the uses, importance, and pliancy of divination in the ancient world using both Greek and Roman sources. She bravely approaches this inherently vague realm and has created a text that is very useful in its breadth and scope." (Religious Studies Review, June 2010) "Johnston has made a fine exposition and analysis of a wide variety of ancient evidence, well-supported by current scholarship and her own careful interpretations." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, May 2009) “With Ancient Greek Divination, Johnston makes another outstanding contribution to the study of Greek religion." (Choice Reviews, May 2009)

Back cover copy

"Ancient Greek Divination" offers a broad yet detailed treatment of the attempts by ancient Greeks to seek the counsel of the gods. The first English-language survey of Greek divinatory methods, the book includes in-depth discussions of oracles, wandering diviners, do-it-yourself methods of foretelling the future, magical divinatory techniques, and much more. Author Sarah Iles Johnston provides essential facts on each method and highlights its social and cultural significance, effectively illustrating how the study of divination illuminates the mentalities of ancient Greek religions and society. The volume is illustrated and contains a chapter-by-chapter bibliography. Combining current scholarship with a lively and accessible style of writing, "Ancient Greek Divination" takes a new look at a phenomenon that was central to the lives of the Ancient Greeks.

Table of contents

List of Figures. Acknowledgments. List of Abbreviations. 1. Why Divination?. 2. The Divine Experience Part One: Delphi and Dodona. 3. The Divine Experience Part Two: Claros, Didyma and Others. 4. Freelance Divination: The Mantis. 5. The Mantis and the Magician. Index Locorum. Subject Index