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What Ancient Greeks Asked the Oracle of Dodona Revealed in Video

Remains at Dodona, the site of the most ancient oracle in Greece. Credit: Marcus Cyron /CC BY-SA 3.0

The ancient Greek sanctuary and theater of Dodona, home to the oldest oracle, are part of a uniquely historic site in the country, which predated even the more universally-known Delphi.

Questions that required a prophetic answer from the Oracle of Dodona on matters of politics, religion, family, health, work, travel and property, were written on sheets of lead, and many of these small tablets have been excavated on the site of the Dodona Oracle.

Here is a sample of the questions asked to the oracle of Dodona:

Some of the questions asked of the Oracle of Dodona

“Would it be in my best interests to migrate to Chalkis?” (a city in Evia, Central Greece)

“Should I go with another man in order to have children? To which Gods should I appeal?”, asks a woman called Kleoniki.

“Will Nikeas be well enough to fit out his workshop?”, a man called Alkinoos asks.

“Will I be happy if I marry the daughter of Filonedes?”

“I am Kittos, slave of Dionysios and ask: Will my boss release me as he promised?”

“I am Myrta  and I would like to know if I will become a widow.”

The questions ancient Greeks asked at the oracle are a significant source of information on their everyday lives.

The oracular tablets, on which a total of 4.216 inscriptions can be read, date from the end of the 6th century B.C. to the mid-3rd century BC.

They are usually small lead sections measuring a few centimeters, which had generally been re-used many times.

The letters are no larger than 1-1.5 millimeters, while the questions are written in a variety of alphabets and dialects, as people from many places traveled to the Oracle; from Syracuse, Taras/Taranto, Boeotia, Athens and Corinth.

Related: The Ancient Greek Sanctuary of Dodona



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