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Delphic oracle  

Michael Scott

The origins of the oracle of Apollo date to the very end of the 9th centurybce. Eventually it developed into the most important Greek oracle and was consulted by poleis (see polis) as well as individuals. It played an important guiding role in the formation of the Greek poleis and in colonization; it gave guidance on warfare, pollution, “release from evils,” (rarely) laws, and—above all—cult. The story that Apollo was not the original owner of the oracle but replaced an earlier deity (different versions naming different deities, but all including Gaia or Themis, or both) is unlikely to reflect cult history; it is a myth, expressing the perception that at Delphi the chthonian, dangerous, and disorderly aspects of the cosmos have been defeated by, and subordinated to, the celestial guide and lawgiver.1 Apollo’s oracle has tamed the darker side of the cosmos—both at the theological (Gaia’s defeat) and at the human level: it therefore gives men divine guidance through which they can cope with this side of the cosmos.


drama, reception of  

Emma Cole

Ancient drama has had a vast influence upon the literary, performance, and intellectual culture of modernity. From ancient Greece thirty-two tragedies, eleven comedies, and one satyr play survive, and from ancient Rome ten tragedies and twenty-seven comedies remain, alongside countless fragments from all genres. Many of the surviving plays are staged in contemporary theatre in both literal translation and more liberal adaptation, and today more ancient drama is seen in professional theatres than at any point since antiquity. Although all ancient dramatic genres have a rich reception history, Greek tragedy dominates the field, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries. Productions of Greek tragedy today range from masked performances in the original language through to radical, avant-garde, immersive, and postdramatic reinventions. Greek tragedy is also frequently used as a touchstone within literary theory and broader intellectual discourse, from the theorisation of the ideal form of performance (Wagner’s Gesamtkuntswerk) to the development of psychoanalytic theory (Freud’s Oedipus complex) and structuralism (Lévi-Strauss). Ancient drama has also provided inspiration for entirely new dramatic forms; the influence of Roman tragedy, for example, can be felt within the revenge tragedies of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, while traces of Roman comedy can be felt in slapstick comedy and Italian commedia dell’arte. Current growth areas within both artistic practice, and academic research into the reception of ancient drama, include the performance reception of dramatic fragments, an increased interest in forms such as burlesque and pantomime, and the use of ancient drama as a tool of resistance against oppressive political regimes.


magic, Greek  

Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Greek magic is the discourse of magic within the ancient Greek world. Greek magic includes a range of practices, from malevolent curses to benevolent protections, from divinatory practices to alchemical procedures, but what is labelled magic depends on who is doing the labelling and the circumstances in which the label is applied. The discourse of magic pertains to non-normative ritualized activity, in which the deviation from the norm is most often marked in terms of the perceived efficacy of the act, the familiarity of the performance within the cultural tradition, the ends for which the act is performed, or the social location of the performer. Magic is thus a construct of subjective labelling, rather than an objectively existing category. Rituals whose efficacy is perceived as extraordinary (in either a positive or negative sense) or that are performed in unfamiliar ways, for questionable ends, or by performers whose status is out of the ordinary might be labelled (by others or by oneself) as magic in antiquity.



Andrew Robert Burn and Antony Spawforth

Minyans (Μινύαι), the descendants of *Minyas, an Ur-Greek population-group believed in Classical times to have inhabited Aegean lands in the heroic age (see dryops; pelasgians), with centres at *Orchomenus (1) and *Iolcus. Western Peloponnesian communities of so-called Minyans existed in the lifetime of Herodotus (4. 148). In myth they appear outside the mainland mainly linked to the itinerary of the Minyan *Argonauts (Teos, Lemnos, Cyrene, etc.



Herbert Jennings Rose

Oebalus, an early Spartan king, who had a hero-shrine (see hero-cult) at Sparta (Paus. 3. 15. 10). He has no legend, merely a place in several mutually contradictory genealogies, for which see Wörner in Roscher's Lexikon, under the name. Hence Oebalius, Oebalides, etc. , in Latin poetry often mean Spartan, and the name itself is now and then used for some minor character of Spartan or Peloponnesian origin (as Verg. Aen.


Panskoye I  

Vladimir F. Stolba

Panskoye I is one of the most prominent and best-studied settlements in the rural territory of Chersonesus on the Tarkhankut Peninsula (north-western Crimea). Founded in the late 5th century bce as a fortified outpost (tetrapyrgia) protecting the south-eastern frontiers of Olbian territory, around 360 bce it was subjugated to Tauric Chersonesus, a close relationship which it maintained until the settlement’s catastrophic destruction around 270 bce. In 1969–1994, a significant part of the settlement and associated necropolis were investigated by the Tarkhankut Archaeological Expedition of the Leningrad Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences of the USSR (since 1991, Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg). The settlement’s stratigraphy and size, as well as its unique structure and layout, representing an agglomeration of compactly placed free-standing farmsteads, adjoining house blocks, and monumental buildings accommodating more than one household, distinguish it from other rural settlements in the area. Its rich and original material culture shows a remarkable intermingling of various cultural components, both Greek and non-Greek.


Ptolemaeus (4), of Mende, priest and author  

Kenneth S. Sacks

Ptolemaeus of Mende, a priest, wrote on the Egyptian kings in three books. He wrote before Apion (first half of the 1st cent. bce), who refers to him. He attributes the Hebrew Exodus under Moses to the time of king Amosis (founder of the 18th dynasty).


Sacred Wars  

C. J. Tuplin

Four wars declared by the Delphic *amphictiony (see delphi) against states allegedly guilty of sacrilege against *Apollo.The First involved *Solon and resulted in *Cirrha's destruction as a punishment for ‘brigandage’ and impious treatment of pilgrims and dedications (early 6th cent.). Claims that this is a pseudo-historical event, invented in the 340s, are dubitable given *Isocrates' reference in Plataicus (14.31: 373/2).The Second arose when Athens placed the sanctuary under Phocian control (see phocis). *Sparta intervened to restore Delphian authority and *Athens countered by restoring Phocis (c.448). The Phocians lost control again after 446. The affair is obscure (*Thucydides (2)'s treatment is very brief); Sparta's intervention in *Doris in 458 is probably part of the background.The Third. Phocian intentions were suspect in 363, but it was a Delphian denunciation (357) for cultivation of the Crisaean plain (between Delphi and the coast) which precipitated war.