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Robert Parker and David Potter

Among the many forms of *divination known to the Greeks, the responses given by a god or hero when consulted at a fixed oracular site were the most prestigious (see e.g. Soph.OT498–501). Such oracles were numerous. *Herodotus(1) lists five in mainland Greece and one in Asia Minor which king *Croesus supposedly consulted in the 6th cent. bce (1. 46), and at least another five (including one ‘oracle of the dead’) appear in his pages; *Pausanias (3) mentions four lesser local oracles, and at least five more can be added from epigraphical evidence (cf. C. Michel, Recueil d'inscriptions grecques (1900–27), 840–56; Syll.3 1157–66).Healing oracles, those of *Asclepius above all, are a specialized group, though even these never confined themselves exclusively to medical questions. The business of a general purpose oracle is best revealed by the lead question-tablets found at *Zeus' oracle at *Dodona.