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oat iron, steel, machinery and textiles. The total yearly value
of tic foreign trade exceeds £5,000,000.
Tie history of Oporto dates from an early period. Before the Resin invasion, under the name of Portus Calc, Gaia or Cago, it was a town on the south bank of the Douro with a good trade; lie Alani subsequently founded a city on the north bank, calling it Cufrsm .Vopam. About A.d. 540 the Visigoths under Lcovigild obtained possession, but yielded place in 716 to the Moors. The Christians, however, recaptured Oporto in 997, and it became the capital of the counts of Portucalia for part of the period during wiikb the Moors ruled in the southern provinces of Portugal. (See Portugal: History.) The Moors once more became its masters for a short period, till in 109* it was brought finally under Christian domination. The citizens rebelled in 1628 igainst an unpopular, tax, in i66r for a similar reason, in 1757 against the wine monopoly, and in 1808 against the French. The town is renowned in British military annals from the duke of Wellington's passage of the Douro, by which he surprised and pet to flight the French army under Marshal Soult, capturing the city on the izth of May 1809. Oporto sustained a severe siege in 1832—1833, being bravely defended against the Miguelites by Dom Pedro with 7000 soldiers; 16,000 of its inhabitants perished. In the constitutional crises of 1820, 1826, 1836, 1842, 1846-1847, 1891 and 1907-1908 the action of Oporto, as the capital of northern Portugal, was always of the utmost importance.
OPOSSUM, an American Indian name properly belonging to the American marsupials (other than Caenolcslcs), but in Australia applied to the phalangers (see Phalancer). True opossums are found throughout the greater part of America from the United States to Patagonia, the number of species being largest in the more tropical parts (see Marsufialia). They form the family Didelpkyidae, distinguished from other marsupial families by the equally developed hind-toes, the nailless but fully opposable first hind-toe, and by the dentition, of which the formula is i. f, c. \, p. 4> m, |; total 50. The peculiarity in the mode of succession of these teeth is explained in the article referred to. Opossums are small animals, varying from the size of a mouse to that of a large cat, with long noses, ears and tails, the Utter being as a rule naked and prehensile, and with the first toe in the hind-foot so fully opposablc to the other digits as to constitute a functionally perfect posterior "hand." These opposable first toes are without nail or claw, but their tips are expanded into broad flat pads, which are of great use to these cfimbing animals. On the anterior limbs all the five digits are provided with long sharp claws, and the first toe is but little cpposablc. The numerous cheek-teeth are crowned with minute Aarply-pointed cusps, with which to crush the insects on which these creatures feed, for the opossums seem to take in South America the place in the. economy of nature filled in other countries by hedgehogs, moles, shrews, &c. The truo opossums are typically represented by Didclphys marsttpialis, a species, with several local races, ranging over the greater part of North America (except the extreme north). It is of large size, and atremely common, being even found living in towns, where k act* as a scavenger by night, retiring for shelter by day upon the roofs or into the sewers. It produces in the spring from zii lo sixteen young ones, which are placed by the mother in her pcuch immediately after birth, and remain there until able to Ute care ol themselves; the period of gestation being from fourteen to seventeen days. A local race found in Central and tropical South America is known as the crab-eating opossum (D. marsupialis cancriwra). The second sub-genus, or genus, Wtt&kirus contains a considerable number of species found
over the tropical parts of the New World. They are of size, with short, close fur, very long, scaly and naked tails, and have less developed ridges on their skulls They have, as z rule, no pouch in which lo carry their voung, and the latter therefore commonly ride on their mother's back, holding on by winding their prehensile tails round hers, as in the figure of the *wHy opossum. The latter belongs to the sub-genus Philander, tftkh is nearly allied to the last; its full title being Diddphy
(Philander) lanigcra. The philander (D. [P.] philander) is closely related.
The fourth sub-genus (or genus) is Marmosa (Micoureus, or Grymaeomys), differing from the two last by the smaller size of its members and by certain slight differences in the shape of their teeth. Its best-known species is the murine opossum (D. murina), no larger than a mouse, of a bright-red colour, found as far north as central Mexico, and extending thence to the south of Brazil. A second well-known species is D. cinerea, which ranges from Central America to western Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. Yet another group (Pcramys) is represented by numerous shrew-like species, of very small size, with short, hairy and non-prehensile tails, not half the length of the trunk, and unridged skulls. The most striking member of the group
The Woolly Opossum (Didelphys lanigera) and young, is the Three-striped Opossum (D. americana) from Brazil, which is of a reddish grey colour, with three clearly-defined deep-black bands down its back, as in some of the striped mice of Africa. D. dimidiata, D. nudicaudata, D. domestica, D. unistrtata and several other South American species belong to this group. Lastly we have the Chiloe Island opossum (D. gliroides), alone representing the sub-genus Dromiciops, which is most nearly allied to Marmosa, but differs from all other opossums by the short furry ears, thick hairy tail, doubly swollen auditory bulla, short canines and peculiarly formed and situated incisors.
Whatever difference of opinion there may be as to the right of the above-mentioned groups to generic separation from the typical Didelphys, there can be none as to the distinctness of the water-opossum (Chironectes minimus), which differs from all the other members of the family by its fully webbed feet, and the dark-brown transverse bands across the body (see WaterOpossum).
Sec O. Thomas, Catalogue of Marsufnalta and Monotremata (British Museum. 1888); " On Micourcus griseus, with the Description of a New Genus and Species of Didelphyidae," Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. ser. 6, vol. xiv. p. 184, and later papers in the same and other serials. (R. L.") .
OPPEL, CARL ALBERT (1831-1865), German palaeontologist, was born at Hohenheim in \Vurttemberg, on the I9th of December 1831. After studying mineralogy and geology at Stuttgart, he entered the university of Tubingen, where he graduated Ph.D. in 1853. Here he came under the influence of Qucnstedt and devoted his special attention to the fossils of the Jurassic system. With this object he examined in detail during 1854 and the following year the succession of strata in England, France and Germany and determined the various palaeontological stages or zones characterized by special guide-fossils, in most cases ammonites The results of his researches were published in his great work Die Juraformation England's, Frankreiths und dcs sudwestlichcn Dcvtschlands (1856-1858). In 1858 he became an assistant in the Palaeontological Museum at Munich. In 1860 he became professor of palaeontology in the university at Munich, and in 1861 director of the Palaeontological Collection. There he continued his labours on the Jurassic fauna, describing new species of Crustacea, ammonites, &c. To him also we owe the establishment of the Tithonian stage, for strata (mainly equivalent to the English Portland and Purbeck Beds) that occur on the borders of Jurassic and Cretaceous. Of his later works the most important was PaJaonlologiscke AfiUHcilungcn aus dem Museum del Konigl. Bayer. Stoats. (1862-1865). He died at Munich on the 23rd of December 1865.
OPPELN (Polish, Oppolie), a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Silesia, lies on the right bank of the Oder, 51 m. S.E. of Brcslau, on the railway to Kattowitz, and at the junction of lines to Beuthcn, Ncissc and Tarnowitz. Pop. (1905) 30,769. It is the seat of the provincial administration of Upper Silesia, and contains the oldest Christian church in the district, that of St Adalbert, founded at the close of the loth century. It has two other churches and a ducal 15th-century palace on an island in the Oder. The most prominent among the other buildings are the offices of the district authorities, the town hall, the normal seminary and the hospital of St Adalbert. The Roman Catholic gymnasium is established in an old Jesuit college. The industries of Oppeln include the manufacture ot Portland cement, machinery, beer, soap, cigars and lime; trade is carried on by rail and river in cattle, grain and the vast mineral output of the district, of which Oppeln is the chief centre. The upper classes speak German, the lower Polish.
Oppeln was a flourishing place at the beginning of the nth century, and became a town in 1228. It was the capital of the duchy of Oppeln and the residence of the duke from 1163 to 1532, when the ruling family became extinct. Then it passed to Austria, and with the rest of Silesia was ceded to Prussia in 1742.
Sec Idzikowski, GescniMe der Stadt Oppeln (Oppeln, 1863); and Vogt, Oppeln beim Einlrilt in das Jahr lyoo (Oppeln, 1900).
OPPENHEIM, a town of Germany, in the grand duchy of Hesse, picturesquely situated on the slope of vine-clad hills, on the left bank of the Rhine, 20 m. S. of Mainz, on the railway to Worms. Pop. (1005) 3696. The only relic of its former importance is the Evangelical church of St Catherine, one of the most beautiful Gothic edifices of the ijth and I4th centuries in Germany, and recently restored at the public expense. The town has a Roman Catholic church, several schools and a memorial of the War of 1870-7:. Its industries and commerce are principally concerned with the manufacture and export of wine. Above the town are the ruins of the fortress of Landskron, built in the nth century and destroyed in 1689.
Oppcnhcim, which occupies the site of the Roman Bauconica, was formerly much larger than at present. In 1226 it appears as a free town of the Empire and later as one. of the most important members of the Rhenish League. It lost its independence in 1375,'when it was given in pledge to the elector palatine of the Rhine. Duringthe Thirty Years' War it was alternately occupied by the Swedes and the Imperialists, and in 1689 it was entirely destroyed by the French.
Sec W. Franck, Geschichte der ekemaligen Reichsstodl Oppcnheim (Darmstadt, 1859).
OPPERT, JULIUS (1825-1905), German Assyriologist, was born at Hamburg, of Jewish parents, on the 9th of July 1825. After studying at Heidelberg, Bonn and Berlin, he graduated at Kiel in 1847, and in the following year went to France, where he was teacher of German at Laval and at Reims. His leisure was given to Oriental studies, in which he had made great progress in Germany, and in 1852 he joined Frcsncl's archaeological expedilion to Mesopotamia. On his return in 1854 he occupied himself in digesting the results of the expedition in so far as they concerned cuneiform inscriptions, and published an important work upon them (Dcchrijfrcmcnt dcs inscriptions cunfi/ormes, i860. In 1857 he was appointed professor of Sanscrit in the school of languages connected with the National Library in Pans, and in this capacity he produced a Sanscrit grammar; but his attention was chiefly given to Assyrian and cognate subjects, and he was especially prominent in establishing the Turanian character of the language originally spoken in Assyria. In 1869 Opprrt was appointed professor of Assyrian philology and archaeology at the College de France. In 1865 he published
a history of Assyria and Chaldaea in the light of the results of the different exploring expeditions. At a later period he devoted much attention to the language and antiquities of ancient Media, writing Lc Peuple el la langue des Hides (1879). He died in Paris on the 2ist of August 1905. Oppcrt was a voluminous writer upon Assyrian mythology and jurisprudence, and other subjects connected with the ancient civilizations of the East. Among his other works may be mentioned: Elements de la grammaire aisyrienne (1868); L'ImmortaliU de fame cha Its Ckaldtem, (1875); Salomon et sci suaesseurs (1877); and, with J. MOnant, Doctrines juridiqua de I'As-tyric el de la ClialdCe (1877).
OPPIAN (Gr. 'On-torn), the name of the authors of two (or three) didactic poems in Greek hexameters, formerly identified, but now generally regarded as two different persons, (i) Oppian of Corycus (or Anabarzus) in Cilicia, who flourished in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (emperor A.D. 161-180). According to an anonymous biographer, his father, having incurred the displeasure of Lucius Verus, the colleague of Aurelius, by neglecting to pay his respects to him when he visited the town, was banished to Malta. Oppian, who had accompanied his father into exile, returned after the death of Vcrus (169) and went on a visit to Rome. Here he presented his poems to Aurelius, who was so pleased with them that he gave the author a piece of gold (or each line, took him into favour and pardoned his father. Oppian subsequently returned to his native country, but died of the plague shortly afterwards, at the early age of thirty. His contemporaries erected a statue in his honour, with an inscription which is still extant, containing a lament for his premature death and a eulogy of his precocious genius. His poem on fishing (Haliculica), of about 3500 lines, dedicated to Aurelius and his son Commodus, is still extant. (2) Oppian of Apamca (or Fella) in Syria. His extant poem on hunting (Cynegetica) is dedicated to the emperor Caracalla, so that it must have been written after 211. It consists of about 2150 lines, and is divided into four books, the last of which seems incomplete. The author evidently knew, the Halitulica, and perhaps intended his poem as a supplement. Like his namesake, he shows considerable knowledge of his subject and close observation of nature; but in style and poetical merit he is inferior to him. His versification also is less correct. The improbability of there having been two poets of the same name, writing on subjects so closely akin and such near contemporaries, may perhaps be explained by assuming that the real name of the author of the Cyncgftica was not Oppian, but that he has been confounded with his predecessor. In any case, it seems clear that the two were not identical.
A third poem on bird-catching (Ixeulua, from l£Aj, bird-lime), also formerly attributed to an Oppian, is lost; a paraphrase in Greek prose by a certain Eutecnius is extant. The author is probably one Dionysius, who is mentioned by Suldas as the author of a treatise on stones (Lilhiaca).
The chief modern editions arc J. G. Schneider (1776); F. S. Lchrs (1846); U. C. Busscmaker (Scholia, 1849); (Cynegflica) P. Boudrcaux (1908). The anonymous biography referred to above will be found in A. Wcstcrmann's Biographi Graeti (1845). On the subject generally see A. Martin, Eludes sur la vie et les 'fftarrex d'Oppttn de Cihcie (1863); A. Ausfcld, De Oppiano ft scriptis sub fjus nomine tradilis (1876). There arc translations of the liaticvlica, in English by Diaper and Jones (1722), and in French by £. J. Bourquin (1877).
OPPIUS, GAIUS, an intimate friend of Julius Caesar. He managed the dictator's private affairs during his absence from Rome, and, together with L. Cornelius Balbus, exercised considerable influence in the city. According to Suetonius (Caesar, 56), many authorities considered Oppius to have written the histories of the Spanish, African and Alexandrian wars which arc printed among the works of Caesar. It is now generally held that he may possibly be the author of the last (although the claims of Hirtius arc considered stronger), but certainly not of the two first, although Nicbuhr confidently assigned the Bcllura Africanum to him; the writer of these took an actual part in the wars they described, whereas Oppius was in Rome at the time. He also wrote a life of Caesar and the elder Scipio.
Fora discussion of tfw whole question, sec M. Schanz. Gtsckickle &r rimudtcn Liieriitur, pt. i. p. 2IO (2nd cd.. 1898); TeuffclSc&wabe, Hist, of Roman Literature (Eng. trans.), § 197; see also' Gctro, Lf'.'.-.-r:-., ea. Tyrrell and Purser, iv. introd. p. 69.
OPTICS, the science of light, regarded as the medium of sight (Gr. &rtt). Generally the noun is qualified by an adjective so as to delimitate the principal groups of optical phenomena, c.%. geometrical optics, physical optics, meteorological optics, &c. Greek terminology included two adjectival forms—ra ormd, far all optical phenomena, including vision and the nature of light, and 4 otfrurq (sc. Utopia}, for the objective study of light, i.e. the nature of light itself and the theory of vision. See Light tod Vision.
OPTION (LaL vpti<it choice, choosing, optarc, to choose), the action of choosing or thing chosen, choice or power or opportunity of making ft choice. The word had a particular meaning in ecclesiastical law, where it was used of a right claimed by an archbishop to select one benefice from the diocese of a newly appointed bishop, the next presentation to which would fall to his, the archbishop's, patronage. This right was abolished by various statutes in the early part of the i ut h century. As a term in stock-exchange operations, "option " is used to express the privilege given to conclude a bargain at some future time at an agreed-apon price (see Call and Stock Exchange). The phrase " local option " has been specifically used in politics of the power given to the electorate of a particular district to choose whether licences for the sale of intoxicating liquor should be granted or not. This form of "local option" has been also and more rightly termed " local veto " (see Liquor Laws).
OPUS ('Grow), in ancient Greece, the chief city of theOpuntian Locrians; the walls of the town may still be seen on a hill about 6 m. S.E. of the modern Atalante, and about i m. from the channel which separates the mainland from Euboea. It is mentioned in the Homeric catalogue among the towns of the Locrians, who were led by Ajax Oilcus; and there were games called AJantea and an altar at Opus in honour of Ajax. Opus was also the birthplace of Patroclus. Pindar's Ninth Olympian Ode is mainly devoted to the glory and traditions of Opus. Its founder was Opus the son of Zeus and Protogeneia, the daughter of an Elian Opus, or, according to another version, of Deucalion and Pyrrha, and the wife of Locros. The Locrians deserted the Greek side in the Persian Wars; they were among the allies of Sparta in ihe Peloponnesian War. In the struggle between Philip V. of Macedon and the Romans the town went over to the latter in 197 B.c., but the Acropolis held out for Philip until his defeat at Cynoscephalae (Livy xxxii. 32). The town suffered from earthquakes, such as that which destroyed the neighbouring Atalante in 1804.
ORACH,or Mountain Spinach, known botanically as Atriplex korttnsif, a tall-growing hardy annual, whose leaves, though coarsely flavoured, are used as a substitute for spinach, and to correct the acidity of sorrel. The white and the green are the most desirable varieties. The plant should be grown quickly in rich soil. It may be sown in rows 2 ft. apart, and about the same distance in the row, about March, and for succession again in June. If needful, water must be freely given; so as to maintain a rapid growth. A variety, A. hortensis var. rubra, commonly called red mountain spinach, is a hardy annual 3 to 4 ft. high with fine ornamental foliage.
ORACLE (Lat. araculum, from war?, to pray; the corresponding Greek word is natmlov or xpi?<rr4pt°i'), a special place where a deity is supposed to give a response, by the mouth of an inspired priest, to the inquiries of his votaries; or the actual response. The whole question of oracles—whether in the sense of the response or the sacred place—is bound up with that of magic, divination and omens, to the articles on which the reader is referred. They are commonly found in the earlier stages of religious culture among different nations. But it is as an ancient Greek institution that they are most interesting historically.
A characteristic feature of Greek religion which distinguishes it from many other systems of advanced cult was the wide prevalence of a ritual of divination and the prominence of certain
oracular centres which were supposed to give voice to the will of Providence. An account of the oracles of Greece is concerned with the historical question about their growth, influence and career. But it is convenient to consider first the anthropologic question, as to the methods of divination practised in ancient Greece, their significance and the original ideas that inspired them. Only the slightest theoretical construction is possible here; and the true psychologic explanation of the mantic facts is of very recent discovery. In the Greek world these were of great variety, but nearly all the methods of divination found there can be traced among other communities, primitive and advanced, ancient and modern. The most obvious and useful classification of them is that of which Plato1 was the author, who distinguishes between (a) the "sane " form of divination and (b) the ecstatic, enthusiastic or "insane" form. The first method appears to be cool and scientific, the diviner (muth) interpreting certain signs according to fixed principles of Interpretation. The second is worked by the prophet, shaman or Pythoness, who is possessed and overpowered by the deity, and in temporary frenzy utters mystic speech under divine suggestion. To these we may add a third form (r), divination by communion with the spiritual world in dreams or through intercourse with the departed spirit: this resembles class (a) in that it does not necessarily involve ecstasy, and class (b) in that it assumes immediate rapport with some spiritual power.
It will be convenient first to give typical examples of these various processes of discovering the divine will, and then to sketch the history of Delphi, the leading centre of divination. We may subdivide the methods that fall under class (a), those that conform to the "omen "-system, according as they deal with the phenomena of the animate or the inanimate world; although this distinction would not be relevant in the period of primitive animistic thought. The Homeric poems attest that auguries from the flight and actions of birds were commonly observed in the earliest Hellenic period as they occasionally were in the later, but we have little evidence that this method was ever organized as it was at Rome into a regular system of stale-divination, still less of state-craft. We can only quote the passage in the Antigone where Sophocles describes the method of Teiresias, who keeps an aviary where he studies and interprets the flight and the cries of the birds; it is probable that the poet was aware of some such practice actually in vogue. But the usual examples of Greek augury do not suggest deliberate and systematic observation; for instance, the phenomenon in the Iliad of the eagle seizing the snake and dropping it, or, in the A gamcmnon of Aeschylus, of the eagles swooping on the pregnant hare. Other animals besides birds could furnish omens; we have an interesting story of the omen derived from the contest between a wolf and a bull which decided the question of the sovereignty of Argos when Danaus arrived and claimed the kingdom;1 and the private superstitious man might be encouraged or depressed by any ominous sign derived from any part of the animal world. But it is very rare to find such omens habitually consulted in any public system of divination sanctioned by the state. We hear of a shrine of Apollo at Sura in Lycia,* where omens were taken from the movements o( the sacred fish that were kept there in a tank; and again of a grove consecrated to this god in Epirus, where tame serpents were kept and fed by a priestess, who could predict a good or bad harvest according as they ate heartily or came willingly to her or not.4
But the method of animal divination that was most in vogue was the inspection of the inward parts of the victim offered upon the altar, and the interpretation of certain marks found there according to a conventional code. Sophocles in the passage referred to above gives us a glimpse of the prophet's procedure. A conspicuous example of an oracle organized on this principle was that of Zeus at Olympia, where soothsayers of the family of the lamidai prophesied partly by the inspection of entrails,
1 Pkaedrvs, p. 244.
'Serv. Verg. Aen. iv. 377; Paus. ii. 10. 3.
'Steph. Byz. s.v. Zo&pa, Plut. De sollert. anim. p. 976 c. Ael. Net. anim. xii. i. 4 Ael. Nat. anim. xi. 2.
partly by the observation of certain signs in the skin when it was cut or burned.1 Another less familiar procedure that belongs to this subdivision is that which was known as divination 5ia irXvMiw, which might sometimes have been the cries of birds, but in an oracle of Hermes at the Achaean city of Pharae were the casual utterances of men.. Pausanias tells us* how this was worked. The consultant came in the evening to the statue of Hermes in the markcl-place that stood by the side of a hearthaltar to which bronze lamps were attached; having kindled the lamps and put a piece of money on the altar, he whispered into the ear of the statue what he wished to know; he then departed, closing his ears with his hands, and whatever human speech he 6rst heard after withdrawing his hands he took for a sign. The same custom seems to have prevailed at Thebes in a shrine of Apollo, and in the Olympian oracle of Zeus.'
Of omens taken from what we call the inanimate world salient examples are those derived from trees and water, a divination to be explained by an animistic feeling that may be regarded as at one time universal. Both were in vogue at Dodona, where the ecstatic method of prophecy was never used; we hear of divination there from the bubbling stream, and still more often of the " talking oak "; under its branches may once have slept, the Selloi, who interpreted the sounds of the boughs, and who may be regarded as the depositories of the Aryan tradition of Zeus, the oak god who spoke in the tree.4 At Korope in Thessaly we hear vaguely of an Apotline divination by means of a branch of the tamarisk tree,' a method akin no doubt to that of the divining rod which was used in Greece as elsewhere; and there is a late record that at Daphne near Antioch oracles were obtained by dipping a laurel leaf or branch in a sacred stream.' Water divination must have been as familiar at one time to the Greeks as it was to the ancient Germans; for we hear of the fountain at Daphne revealing things to come by the varying murmur of its flow,' and marvellous reflections of a mantic import might be seen in a spring on Taenaron in Laconia;' from another at Patrae omens were drawn concerning the chances of recovery from disease.1 Thunder magic, which was practised in Arcadia, is usually associated with thunder divination; but of this, which was so much in vogue in Etruria and was adopted as a state-craft by Rome, the evidence in Greece is singularly slight. Once a year watchers took their stand on the wall at Athens and waited till they saw the lightning flash from Harma, which was accepted as an auspicious omen for the setting out of the sacred procession to Apollo Pythius at Delphi; and the altar of Zeus ZiHiaXtot, the sender of omens, on Mount Parnes, may have been a religious observatory of meteorological phenomena.10 No doubt such a rare and portentous event as the fall of a meteor-stone would be regarded as ominous, and the state would be inclined to consult Delphi or Dodona as to its divine import.
We may conclude the examples of this main department of narrucfi by mentioning a method'that seems to have been much in vogue in the earlier times, that which was called 4 5m ^ imvTixfi, or divination by the drawing or throwing of lots; these must have been objects, such as small pieces of wood or dice, with certain marks inscribed upon them, drawn casually or thrown down and interpreted according to a certain code. This simple process of immemorial antiquity, for other Aryan peoples such as the Teutonic possessed it, was practised at Delphi and Dodona by the side of the more solemn procedure; we hear of it also in the oracle of Heracles at Bura in Achaca." It is this method of "scraping " or "notching" (xpitt*) signs on wood
1 Schol. Find. 01. 6. 111. • vii. 22. 1.
• Farncll, Cults of Ike Greek Slates, iv., p. 221.
<Hom. //. xvi. 233, Od. xiv. 327; Hesiod, af. Schol. Soph, True*. 1169; Arsch. Prom. Vine. 829.
• Nikandcr, Tlieriaka, 612; Schol. itid.
•See Robertson-Smith, Religion of the Semites, p. 128, quoting Sozomen v. 19.
'Ammian. Marccll. xxii. 12; cf. Plut. Vila Can. c. 19. 1 Paus. iii. 25. 8. • Paus. vii. 21. II. * Paul. I. 32. 2
"Cic. De ait. i. 76. Suid. i.v. »i'Ji. Paus. vii. 25. 10.
hat explains probably the origin of the words xp?|<rp6f, j uratptLv for oracular consultation and deliverance.
The processes described above arc part of a world-wide system of popular divination. And most of them were Ukm up by he oracular shrines in Greece, Apollo himself having no special and characteristic mantic method, but generally adopting thai which was of local currency. But much that is adopted by the lighcr personal religions descends from a more primitive and lower >tage of religious feeling. And all this divination was originally independent of any personal divinity. The primitive diviner appealed directly to that mysterious potency which was supwsed to inhere in the tree and spring, in the bird or beast, or even in a notched piece of wood. At a later stage, it may be, :his power is interpreted in accordance with the animistic, and finally with the thetstic, belief; and now it is the god who sends the sign, and the bird or animal is merely his organ. Hence the omen-seeker comes to prefer the sacrificed animal, as likely to be filled with the divine spirit through contact with the altar. And, again, if we are to understand the most primitive thought, we probably ought to conceive of it as regarding the omen not as a mere sign, but in some confused sense as a cause of that which is to happen. By sympathetic magic the flight of the bird, or the appearance of the entrails, is mysteriously connected, as cause with effect, with the event which is desired or drca/jed. Thus in the Aztec sacrifice of children to procure rain, the victims were encouraged to shed tears copiously; and this was not a mere sign of an abundant rainfall, but was sympathetically connected with it. And in the same way, when of the three beasts over which three kings swore an oath of alliance, one died prematurely and was supposed thereby to portend the death of one of the kings/2 or when in the Lacedaemonian sacrifice the head of the victim mysteriously vanished, and this portended the death of their naval commander," these omens would be merely signs of the future for the comparatively advanced Hellene; but we may discern at the back of this belief one more primitive still, that these things were somehow casually or sympathetically connected with the kindred events that followed. We can observe the logical nexus here, which in most instances escapes us. This form of divination, then, we may regard as a special branch of sympathetic magic, which nature herself performs for early man, and which it concerns him to watch.
The other branch of the mantic art, the ecstatic or inspired, has had the greater career among the peoples of the higher religions; and morphologically we may call it the more advanced, as Shamanism or demoniac or divine possession implies the belief in spirits or divinities. But actually it is no doubt of great antiquity, and it is found still existing at a rather low grade of savagery. Therefore it is unsafe to infer from Homer's silence about it that it only became prevalent in Greece in the post-Homeric period. It did not altogether supersede the simpler method of divination by omens; but being far more impressivfc and awe-inspiring, it was adopted by some of the chief Apolline oracles, though never by Dodona.
The roost salient example of it is afforded by Delphi. In the historic period, and perhaps from the earliest times, a woman known as the Pythoness was the organ of inspiration, and it was generally believed that she delivered her oracles under the direct afflatus of the god. The divine possession worked like an epileptic seizure, and was exhausting and might be dangerous; nor is there any reason to suppose that it was simulated. This communion with the divinity needed careful preparation. Originally, as it seems, virginity was a condition of the tenure of the office; for the virgin has been often supposed to be the purer vehicle for divine communication; but later the rule was established that a married woman over fifty years of age should be chosen, with the proviso that she should be attired^ as a maiden. As a preliminary to the divine possession, she appears to have chewed leaves of the sacred laurel, and then to have drunk water from the prophetic stream called Kassotis which flowed underground. But the culminating point of the afflatus was reached when she seated herself upon the tripod; and here, according to the belief
u Plut. Vita Pyrrh. c. 6. "Diod. Sic. xiii. 97.
(til last the later ages of paganism, she was supposed to be inhered by a mystic vapour that arose from a fissure in the ground Against the ordinary explanation of this as a real nephitic gas producing convulsions, there seem to be geological inj chemical objections;' nor have the recent French excavations revealed any chasm or gap in the floor of the temple. But the strong testimony of the later writers, especially Plutarch,' taowt wholly be set aside; and we can sufficiently reconcile it nth the facts if we suppose a small crack in the floor through •lu'ch a draught of air was felt to ascend. This, combining with ite other mantic stimulants used, would be enough to throw a believing medium into a condition of mental seizure; and the difficulty felt by the older generation of scholars, who had to resort to the hypothesis of charlatanism or diabolic agency, no longer exists in the light of modern anthropology and the modern science of psychic phenomena. The Pythoness was no ambitious pretender, but ordinarily a virtuous woman of the lower class. It is probable that what she uttered were only unintelligible murmurs, and that these were interpreted into relevance and let in metric or prose sentences by the " prophet "and the " Holy Ones " or"0ffux as they were called, members of leading Delphic famil'fT. who sat round the tripod, who received the questions of the consultant beforehand, probably in writing, and usually had considered the answers that should be given.
Examples of the same enthusiastic method can be found in other oracles of Apollo. At Argos, the prophetess of the Apollo Pythius attained to the divine afflatus by drinking the blood of the lamb that was sacrificed in the night to him;a this is obviously a mantic communion, for the sacrificial victim is full of the spirit of the divinity. And we find the same process at the prophetic shrine of Ce at Aegae in Achaea, where the prophetess drank a draught of bull's blood for the same purpose.' In the famous oradc shrines of A polio across the sea, at Klarosand Branchidae* near Miletus, the divination was of the same ecstatic type, but produced by a simple draught of holy water. The Clarian prophet fasted several days and nights in retirement and stimulated his ecstasy by drinking from a subterranean spring which is said by Pliny to have shortened the lives of those who used it.' Then, "on certain fixed nights after many sacrifices had been offered, he delivered his oracles, shrouded from the eyes of the consultants. "T
The divination by "incubation" was allied to this type, because though lacking the ecstatic character, the consultant received direct communion with the god or departed spirit. He attained it by laying himself down to sleep or to await a vision, usually by night, in some holy place, having prepared kimsetf by a course of ritualistic purification. Such consultation was naturally confined to the underworld divinities or to the departed heroes. It appears to have prevailed at Delphi when Ge gave oracles there before the coming of Apollo, and among tie heroes Amphiaraus, Calchas and Trophonius arc recorded to have communicated with their worshippers in this fashion. And it was by incubation that the sick and diseased who repaired to the temple of Epidaurus received their prescriptions from Asdepius, originally a god of the lower world.
After this brief account of the prevalent forms of prophetic consultation, it remains to consider the part played by the Greek oracles in the history of Greek civilization. It will be sufficient to confine our attention to Delphi, about which our information is immeasurably fuller than it is about the other shrines. In the earnest period Dodona may have had the higher prestige, but after the Homeric age it was eclipsed by Delphi, being consulted cliedy by the western Greeks, and occasionally in the 4th century by Athens. Ike gorge of Delphi was a seat of prophecy from the earliest
1 Sec Oapt on " The Chasm at Delphi," Jaunt, o] Btttmic Studies 0?04).
•Dtjcfa*. Orat. c. 43. 'Paus. ii, 24, I.
•Faraell, of. cit. iii. 11.
'The prophetic fountain at Branchidae is attested by Strabo. p. 814. aiMi in a confused mystic passage of lamblichui. Dt Uytt.
• Nat. Hist. ii. 232. 'Iambi, toe. til.
days of Greek tradition. Ge, Themis and perhaps Poseidon had given oracles here before Apollo. But it is clear that he had won it in the days before Homer, who attests the prestige and wealth of his Pythian shrine; and it seems clear that before the Dorian conquest of the Peloponnese a Dryopian migration had already carried the cult of Apollo Pythius to Asine in Argolis. Also the constitution of the Amphictyones, "the dwellers around the temple," reflects the early age when the tribe rather than the city was the political unit, and the Dorians were a small tribe of north Greece. The original function of these Amphictyones was to preserve the sanctity and property of the temple; but this common interest early developed a certain rule of intertribal morality. By the formula of the Amphictyonic oath preserved by Aeschincs, which may be of great antiquity, the members bound themselves " not to destroy any city of the league, not to cut any one of them off from spring-water, either in war or peace, and to war against any who violated these rules." We discern here that Greek religion offered the ideal of a federal national union that Greek politics refused to realize.
The next stage in the history of the oracle is presented by the legend of the Dorian migration. For we have no right to reject the strong tradition of the Delphic encouragement of this movement, which,well accounts for the devotion shown by Spartato the Pythian god from the earliest days; and accounts also for the higher position that Delphi occupied at the time when Greek history is supposed to begin.
We have next to consider a valuable record that belongs to the end of the 8th century or beginning of the yth, the Homeric hymn to Apollo, which describes the coming of the Dolphin-God —AcX^viot—to Pytho, and the organization of the oracle by Cretan ministers. Of this Cretan settlement at Delphi there is no other literary evidence, and the "Offiot who administered the oracle in the historic period claimed to be of aboriginal descent. Yet recent excavation has proved a connexion between Crete and Delphi in the Minoan period; and there is reason to believe that in the 8th century some ritual of purification, momentous for the religious career of the oracle, was brought from Crete to Delphi, and that the adoption of this latter name for the place which had formerly been called )[•'.• synchronized with the coming of Apollo Delphinius.
The influence of Delphi was great in various ways, though no scholar would now maintain the exaggerated dogma of Curtius, who imputed to the oracle a lofty religious enthusiasm and the consciousness of a religious political mission.
We may first consider its political influence upon the other states. The practice of a community consulting an oracle on important occasions undoubtedly puts a powerful weapon into the hands of the priesthood, and might lead to something like a theocracy. And there are one or two ominous hints in the Odyssey that the ruler of the oracle might overthrow the ruler of the land. Yet owing to the healthy temperament of the early Greek, the civic character of the priesthood, the strength of the autonomous feeling, Greece might flock to Delphi without exposing itself to the perils of sacerdotal control The Delphic priesthood, content with their rich revenues, were probably never tempted to enter upon schemes of far-reaching political ambition, nor were they in any way fitted to be the leaders of a national policy. Once only, when the Spartan state applied to Delphi to sanction their attack on Arcadia, did the oracle speak as if, like the older papacy, it claimed to dispose of territory1—"Thou askest of me Arcadia; I will not give it thce." But here the oracle is on the side of righteousness, and it is the Spartan that is the aggressor. In the various oracles that have come down to us, many of which must have been genuine and preserved in the archives of the state that received them, we cannot discover any marked political policy consistently pursued by the " Holy Ones" of Delphi. As conservative aristocrats they would probably dislike tyranny; then* action against the Peisistratidae was interested, but one oracle contains a spirited rebuke to Clcisthenes, while one or two others, perhaps not genuine, express the spirit of temperate constitutionalism. As exponents of an • Herod, i. 66.