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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter presents an overview of information about Greek divination, with a particular focus on issues that perennially concerned its users. During divination, humans and gods potentially interacted more closely than they ever did during other rituals. Yet how could an enquirer be sure that the gods were not sending divinatory messages (e.g. oracles, omens) that were purposefully misleading? Divination was found everywhere in Greece on a daily basis, but it could never become rote; it was always fraught with a certain tension. Perhaps it was this ongoing uncertainty about divination, as well as its potential to bring one closer to the gods, that motivated so much ancient debate about the topic, with consequent theorizations about what worked best and why? Scholars continue these debates today, although with a focus on what the theories can tell us about ancient mentalities and conceptions of the divine.

Keywords: oracles, divination, rituals, gods, omens

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