Oracles, Curses, and Risk Among the Ancient Greeks

Oracles, Curses, and Risk Among the Ancient Greeks

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Esther Eidinow sets the published question tablets from the oracle at Dodona side by side with the binding-curse tablets from across the ancient Greek world, and explores what they can tell us about perceptions of and expressions of risk among ordinary Greek men and women, as well as the insights they afford into civic institutions and activities, and social dynamics. Eidinow follows the anthropologist Mary Douglas in defining `risk' as socially constructed, in
contrast to most other ancient historians, who treat risk-management as a way of handling objective external dangers. The book includes a full catalogue of all published texts from Dodona, as well as the 159 curse tablets discussed, together with translations of all texts.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 534 pages
  • 163 x 241 x 35mm | 935g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 6 halftones, 2 maps
  • 0199277788
  • 9780199277780

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Exploring uncertainty ; 2. A lapse into unreason ; 3. Individuals and oracles ; 4. The dwelling of the spirit ; 5. A catalogue and summary of published questions by individuals and responses from the Dodona oracle ; 6. Oracles and daily life ; 7. Curses! ; 8. Urban drama ; 9. The best defence ; 10. Business as usual? ; 11. Love and curses ; 12. Curses and risk ; Conclusion
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Review quote

Recommended to any anthropologist who seeks an example of a sophisticated application by an ancient historian of insights and methods gleaned from their discipline. * Michael Flower, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 14 , no. 4 * opened a new perspective for classical scholarship at a time when Classical Antiquity does not seem to appeal to the broader educated public in the way it once did * Emanuel Voutiras, Classical Review 59:1 * [A] work of originality and remarkable erudition... convincingly challenged current interpretations * Hugh Bowden, Journal of Hellenic Studies, 128 * This book will undoubtedly serve as a comprehensive and readable introduction to the range of contexts under which oracle consultation and cursing would have taken place in ancient Greece, and as a trove of new insights and skeptical reservations for both laypeople and seasoned scholars. * Bryn Mawr Classical Review * a scholarly work of high standard * Emmanuel Voutiras, The Classical Review * interesting and informative * Les Etudes Classiques *
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About Esther Eidinow

Esther Eidinow is a Lecturer in Ancient Greek History at the University of Nottingham.
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