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Encyclopedia > Dodona
Localization of the sanctuary of Dodona
Localization of the sanctuary of Dodona

Dodona (Greek: Δωδώνη Dodoni) in Epirus, northwestern Greece, was a prehistoric oracle devoted to the Greek god Zeus and to the Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione. The shrine of Dodona was the oldest Hellenic oracle, according to the fifth-century historian Herodotus and in fact dates to pre-Hellenic times, perhaps as early as the second millennium BCE. Priests and priestesses in the sacred grove interpreted the rustling of the oak (or beech) leaves to determine the correct actions to be taken. Greek oracles are often misconstrued as having predicted the future. Dodona may refer to: Dodona, a location in Greece, known for its oracle. ... Image File history File links Dodona_location. ... Image File history File links Dodona_location. ... Ajax prepares to violate the sanctuary of Athena by abducting Cassandra by force: red-figure vase, c. ... Epirus, spanning Greece and Albania. ... Consulting the Oracle by John William Waterhouse, showing eight priestesses in a temple of prophecy An oracle is a person or persons considered to be the source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority, usually spiritual in nature. ... God, as a male deity, contrasts with female deities, or goddesses. While the term goddess specifically refers to a female deity, words like gods and deities can be applied to all gods collectively, regardless of gender. ... The Statue of Zeus at Olympia Phidias created the 12-m (40-ft) tall statue of Zeus at Olympia about 435 BC. The statue was perhaps the most famous sculpture in Ancient Greece, imagined here in a 16th century engraving Zeus (in Greek: nominative: Zeús, genitive: Diós), is... A Cucuteni culture statuette, 4th millennium BC. A mother goddess is a goddess, often portrayed as the Earth Mother, who serves as a general fertility deity, the bountiful embodiment of the earth. ... Rhea (or Ria meaning she who flows) was the Titaness daughter of Uranus and of Gaia. ... For other uses, see Gaia. ... Dione in Greek mythology is a vague goddess presence who has her most concrete form in Book V of Homers Iliad as the mother of Aphrodite: Aphrodite journeys to Diones side after she has been wounded in battle while protecting her favorite son Aeneas. ... Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: HÄ“rodotos Halikarnāsseus) was a Greek historian from Ionia who lived in the 5th century BC (ca. ... Ancient Greece is the term used to describe the Greek-speaking world in ancient times. ... The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. ...

Location of Dodona
Location of Dodona

At Dodona, Zeus joined a pre-Greek name to his own and was worshipped there as "Zeus Molossos" or as "Zeus Naios." Originally an oracle of the Mother Goddess, the oracle was shared by Zeus and Dione (whose name, like "Zeus," simply means "deity"). Many dedicatory inscriptions recovered from the site mention both "Zeus Naios" and "Dione." Elsewhere in Classical Greece, Dione was relegated by Classical times to a minor role, an aspect of Zeus's more usual consort, Hera. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 284 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (336 × 709 pixel, file size: 454 KB, MIME type: image/png) Map of Dodona valley made in 1878 for C. Carapanos (Dodone et ses ruines, Paris, 1878, pl. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 284 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (336 × 709 pixel, file size: 454 KB, MIME type: image/png) Map of Dodona valley made in 1878 for C. Carapanos (Dodone et ses ruines, Paris, 1878, pl. ... For other uses, see Hera (disambiguation). ...


When Homer wrote the Iliad (circa 750 BCE), no buildings were present, and the priests slept on the ground with ritually unwashed feet. Not until the fourth century BCE, was a small stone temple to Zeus added to the site. By the time Euripides mentioned Dodona (fragmentary play Melanippe), and Herodotus wrote about the oracle, priestesses had been restored. Though it never eclipsed the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, Dodona gained a reputation far beyond Greece. In Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica, a retelling of an older story of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason's ship, the "Argo", had the gift of prophecy, because it contained an oak timber spirited from Dodona. For other uses, see Homer (disambiguation). ... title page of the Rihel edition of ca. ... Centuries: 9th century BC - 8th century BC - 7th century BC Decades: 800s BC 790s BC 780s BC 770s BC 760s BC - 750s BC - 740s BC 730s BC 720s BC 710s BC 700s BC Events and Trends 756 BC - Founding of Cyzicus. ... The 4th century BC started the first day of 400 BC and ended the last day of 301 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, epoch, or historical period. ... A statue of Euripides. ... For other uses, see Apollo (disambiguation). ... Delphi (Greek , [ðe̞lˈfi]) is an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in a valley of Phocis. ... Apollonius of Rhodes, also known as Apollonius Rhodius (Latin; Greek Apollōnios Rhodios), early 3rd century BC - after 246 BC, was an epic poet, scholar, and director of the Library of Alexandria. ... Rhodes (Greek: Ρόδος Rhódhos; Italian Rodi; [[Ladino language| ) is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, situated in eastern Aegean Sea. ... This article is about the hero from Greek mythology. ... The Argo, by Lorenzo Costa In Greek mythology, the Argonauts (Ancient Greek: ) were a band of heroes who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest for the Golden Fleece. ... The Argo, painting by Lorenzo Costa In Greek mythology, the Argo was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcus to retrieve the Golden Fleece. ...

Theatre of Pyrrhus in Dodona
Theatre of Pyrrhus in Dodona

In the third century BCE, King Pyrrhus grandly rebuilt the Temple of Zeus, and added many other buildings and a festival featuring athletic games, musical contests, and drama enacted in a theatre. A wall was built around the oracle itself and the holy tree, as well as temples to Heracles and Dione. Image File history File links Dodona_theater. ... Image File history File links Dodona_theater. ... Serge Sudeikins poster for the Bat Theatre (1922). ... The 3rd century BC started the first day of 300 BC and ended the last day of 201 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, epoch, or historical period. ... Pyrrhus of Epirus Pyrrhus (318-272 BC) (Greek: Πύρρος) was one of the most successful ancient Greek generals of the Hellenistic era. ... Hercules, a Roman bronze (Louvre Museum) “Alcides” redirects here. ...


In 219 BCE, the Aetolians invaded and burned the temple to the ground. Though King Philip V of Macedon rebuilt all the buildings bigger and better than before, and added a stadium for annual games, the oracle at Dodona never fully recovered. In 167 BCE, Dodona was once again destroyed and later rebuilt 31 BCE by Emperor Augustus. By the time the traveller Pausanias visited Dodona in the second century AD, the sacred grove had been reduced to a single oak (Description of Greece, I, xviii). Pilgrims still consulted the oracle until CE 391, when Christians cut down the holy tree. Though the surviving town was insignificant, the long-hallowed pagan site must have retained significance, for a Christian Bishop of Dodona attended the Council of Ephesus in CE 431. Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 260s BC 250s BC 240s BC 230s BC 220s BC - 210s BC - 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC Years: 224 BC 223 BC 222 BC 221 BC 220 BC - 219 BC - 218 BC 217 BC... The ancient Region of Aetolia, Greece Aetolia is a mountainous region of Greece on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, forming the eastern part of the modern prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania. ... Coin of Philip V. The Greek inscription reads ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ ([coin] of King Philip). ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC - 160s BC - 150s BC140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC Years: 172 BC 171 BC 170 BC 169 BC 168 BC - 167 BC - 166 BC 165 BC 164... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC - 30s BC - 20s BC 10s BC 0s 10s 20s Years: 36 BC 35 BC 34 BC 33 BC 32 BC 31 BC 30 BC 29 BC 28 BC 27 BC... For other persons named Octavian, see Octavian (disambiguation). ... Pausanias (Greek: ) was a Greek traveller and geographer of the 2nd century A.D., who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. ... The 2nd century is the period from 101 - 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... Events All non-Christian temples in the Roman Empire are closed Quintus Aurelius Symmachus is urban prefect in Rome, and petitions Theodosius I to re-open the pagan temples. ... The Council of Ephesus was held in Ephesus, Asia Minor in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II, grandson of Theodosius the Great. ... Events June - Council of Ephesus: Nestorianism is rejected, the Nicene creed is declared to be complete. ...


Archaeological excavations over more than a century have recovered artifacts, many now at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, and some in the archaeological museum at nearby Ioannina. Façade of the National Archaeological museum of Athens. ... Ioannina (Greek: Ιωάννινα, often Γιάννενα /yanena/ or Γιάννινα /yanina/; anglicized to Yanina, see also: other names of Ioannina) is a city of Epirus, north-western Greece, with a metropolitan population of approximately 100,000. ...


Herodotus and the origins of Dodona

Herodotus (Histories 2:54-57) was told by priests at Egyptian Thebes in the 5th century BC "that two priestesses had been carried away from Thebes by Phoenicians; one, they said they had heard was taken away and sold in Libya, the other in Hellas; these women, they said, were the first founders of places of divination in the aforesaid countries." The simplest analysis: Egypt, for Greeks and for Egyptians themselves was a spring of human culture of all but immeasurable antiquity. This mythic element says that the oracles of Ammon at the oasis of Siwa in Libya and of Dodona in Thessaly were equally old, but similarly transmitted by Phoenician culture, and that the seeresses — Herodotus does not say "sibyls" — were women. For the ancient capital of Boeotia, see Thebes, Greece. ... The 5th century BC started the first day of 500 BC and ended the last day of 401 BC. // The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. ... Ammon or Ammonites (עַמּוֹן People, Standard Hebrew Ê»Ammon, Tiberian Hebrew Ê»Ammôn), also referred to in the Bible as the children of Ammon, were a people living east of the Jordan river who along with the Moabites traced their origin to Lot, the nephew of the patriarch Abraham, and who were... Siwa may refer to: The Siwa Oasis in Egypt 140 Siwa, an asteroid Siwa is a Slavic goddess of fertility. ... Phoenicia (or Phenicia ,[1] from Biblical Phenice [1]) was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coast of modern day Lebanon and Syria. ... The word sibyl comes (via Latin) from the Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. ...

Plan of the sanctuary
Plan of the sanctuary

Herodotus follows with what he was told by the prophetesses, called peleiades ("doves") at Dodona: Image File history File links Plan_Dodona_sanctuary-en. ... Image File history File links Plan_Dodona_sanctuary-en. ... In ancient Greece, Peleiades (doves) were the sacred women of Zeus and the Mother Goddess, Dione, at the Oracle at Dodona. ...

"that two black doves had come flying from Thebes in Egypt, one to Libya and one to Dodona; the latter settled on an oak tree, and there uttered human speech, declaring that a place of divination from Zeus must be made there; the people of Dodona understood that the message was divine, and therefore established the oracular shrine. The dove which came to Libya told the Libyans (they say) to make an oracle of Ammon; this also is sacred to Zeus. Such was the story told by the Dodonaean priestesses, the eldest of whom was Promeneia and the next Timarete and the youngest Nicandra; and the rest of the servants of the temple at Dodona similarly held it true."

In the simplest analysis, this was a confirmation of the tradition in Egypt. The element of the dove may be an attempt to account for a folk etymology applied to the archaic name of the sacred women that no longer made sense. Was the pel- element in their name actually connected with "black" or "muddy" root elements in names like "Peleus" or "Pelops"? Is that why the doves were black? Herodotus adds:

"But my own belief about it is this. If the Phoenicians did in fact carry away the sacred women and sell one in Libya and one in Hellas, then, in my opinion, the place where this woman was sold in what is now Hellas, but was formerly called Pelasgia, was Thesprotia; and then, being a slave there, she established a shrine of Zeus under an oak that was growing there; for it was reasonable that, as she had been a handmaid of the temple of Zeus at Thebes, she would remember that temple in the land to which she had come. After this, as soon as she understood the Greek language, she taught divination; and she said that her sister had been sold in Libya by the same Phoenicians who sold her.
"I expect that these women were called 'doves' by the people of Dodona because they spoke a strange language, and the people thought it like the cries of birds; then the woman spoke what they could understand, and that is why they say that the dove uttered human speech; as long as she spoke in a foreign tongue, they thought her voice was like the voice of a bird. For how could a dove utter the speech of men? The tale that the dove was black signifies that the woman was Egyptian."

Thesprotia, on the coast west of Dodona, would have been available to the sea-going Phoenicians, whom Herodotus' readers would not have expected to have penetrated as far inland as Dodona. Christians will be particularly arrested by the doves as vehicles of divine spirit. Ancient Greek writers used the name Pelasgian to refer to groups of people who preceded the Greeks and dwelt in several locations in mainland Greece, Crete, and other regions of the Aegean as neighbors of the Hellenes. ... Thesprotia (Greek: Θεσπρωτία) is one of the prefectures of Greece. ...


See also

Façade of the National Archaeological museum of Athens. ...

General references

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Dodona

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...


Coordinates: 39°32′47″N, 20°47′16″E Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Dodona - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (865 words)
The shrine of Dodona was the oldest Hellenic oracle, according to the fifth-century historian Herodotus and in fact dates to pre-Hellenic times, perhaps as early as the second millennium BCE.
Priests and priestesses in the sacred grove interpreted the rustling of the oak (or beech) leaves to determine the correct actions to be taken.
At Dodona, Zeus joined a pre-Greek name to his own and was worshipped there as "Zeus Molossos" or as "Zeus Naios." Originally an oracle of the Mother Goddess, the oracle was shared by Zeus and Dione (whose name, like "Zeus," simply means "deity").
Dodona (436 words)
Dodona is situated in northwestern Greece, in the region of Epirus.
During the 13th and 14th centuries BCE the worship of the Pelasgian god Zeus was beginning to be established in Dodona, and the original earth goddess was renamed "Diona" and subsequently became the wife of Zeus (Dias).
Although Dodona became the religious and political center of northwestern Greece it was never as influential as the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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