Independent Diviners in Classical Greece (5th and 4th centuries B.C.): A Study

Gaukroger, Louise (2016) Independent Diviners in Classical Greece (5th and 4th centuries B.C.): A Study. Master of Philosophy (MPhil) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

The main aim of this thesis is to establish as firmly as possible the importance of independent diviners in classical Greece. Independent diviners were the mobile means of communicating with the divine and as such were essential to the everyday practices of the ancient Greeks. Historical events unfolded as a direct result of the recommendations made by independent diviners and their interpretations were key considerations in the decision making processes of leading statesmen, generals and even kings. It is essential to establish independent diviners firmly in their appropriate context by exploring their origins in myth and the achievements of the earliest seers, through to the evolution of the role and their influence during the classical period. This thesis is an original contribution to our understanding of independent diviners as it is a comprehensive study reevaluating the need for, the importance of, and the expectations of seers in ancient Greece during the classical period. This work aims to improve not only our understanding of these individuals, but also our understanding of divination, ancestry, tradition, decision-making, the balance of power where seers are concerned, and ancient Greek attitudes towards them. In this thesis I treat two types of religious specialist, known more specifically as a χρησμολόγος and a μάντις. I refer to both throughout the work under the general title of an independent diviner for ease of communication. This topic will be approached comparatively by exploring the role and expectations of seers in myth and evaluating how this appeared to change by the end of the classical period. After considering the definition, ancestry and acquisition of mantic ability, the evolution and application of the role, the divinatory methods involved in practising the τέχνη and the treatment and reception of independent diviners within the scope of this study, it is hoped that this thesis will have emphasised the importance of both divination and independent diviners as the means by which divine communication was implemented and interpreted, and in turn, how decisions of remote importance were settled upon.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Philosophy (MPhil))
Uncontrolled keywords: Ancient Greek Divination Ancient Greek Religion Independent Diviners Seers Omens Oracles
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2016 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2016 09:15 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56858 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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