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Plutarch’s Moralia

ΠΕΡΙ ΤΩΝ ΕΚΛΕΛΟΙΠΟΤΩΝ ΧΡΗΣΤΗΡΙΩΝ

ΤΑ ΠΡΟΣΩΠΑ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΑΛΟΓΟΥ ΛΑΜΠΡΙΑΣ, ΚΛΕΟΜΒΡΟΤΟΣ, ΔΙΔΥΜΟΣ, ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΣ, ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΣ, ΑΜΜΩΝΙΟΣ, ΗΡΑΚΛΕΩΝ1

E1. Ἀετούς τινας ἢ κύκνους, ὦ Τερέντιε Πρῖσκε, μυθολογοῦσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ἄκρων τῆς γῆς ἐπὶ τὸ μέσον φερομένους εἰς ταὐτὸ συμπεσεῖν Πυθοῖ Fπερὶ τὸν καλούμενον ὀμφαλόν· ὕστερον δὲ χρόνῳ τὸν Φαίστιον Ἐπιμενίδην ἐλέγχοντα τὸν μῦθον ἐπὶ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ λαβόντα χρησμὸν ἀσαφῆ καὶ ἀμφίβολον εἰπεῖν

οὔτε γὰρ ἦν γαίης2 μέσος ὀμφαλὸς οὐδὲ θαλάσσης· εἰ δέ τις ἔστι, θεοῖς δῆλος θνητοῖσι δ᾿ ἄφαντος.

ἐκεῖνον μὲν οὖν εἰκότως ὁ θεὸς ἠμύνατο μύθου 410παλαιοῦ καθάπερ ζῳγραφήματος ἁφῇ διαπειρώμενον. (2.) ὀλίγον δὲ πρὸ Πυθίων τῶν ἐπὶ Καλλιστράτου καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῶν ἐναντίων τῆς οἰκουμένης περάτων ἔτυχον ἄνδρες ἱεροὶ δύο συνδραμόντες

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Obsolescence of Oracles

The Obsolescence of Oracles

(The persons taking part in the conversation are: Lamprias, Demetrius, Cleombrotus, Ammonius, Philip, Didymus, and Heracleon.)

1. The storya is told, my dear Terentius Priscus, that certain eagles or swans, flying from the uttermost parts of the earth towards its centre, met in Delphi at the omphalus, as it is called; and at a later time Epimenidesb of Phaestus put the story to test by referring it to the god and upon receiving a vague and ambiguous oracle said,

Now do we know that there is no mid-centre of earth or of ocean; Yet if there be, it is known to the gods, but is hidden from mortals.

Now very likely the god repulsed him from his attempt to investigate an ancient myth as though it were a painting to be tested by the touch. (2.) Yet a short time before the Pythian games, which were held when Callistratusc was in office in our own day, it happened that two revered men coming from opposite ends of the inhabited earth met together at Delphi,

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-moralia_obsolescence_oracles.1936