Plutarch’s Moralia

Ἵππαρχον καταλογάδην γράφοντες, ἐν μέτροις πρότερον Εὐδόξου καὶ Ἡσιόδου καὶ Θαλοῦ γραφόντων, 403εἴ γε Θαλῆς ἐποίησεν, ὡς ἀληθῶς εἰπεῖν,1 τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν2 ἀναφερομένην Ἀστρολογίαν. Πίνδαρος δὲ καὶ περὶ τρόπου μελῳδίας ἀμελουμένου καθ᾿ αὑτὸν ἀπορεῖν ὁμολογεῖ, καὶ θαυμάζειν3 ὅτι * * *4 οὐδὲν γάρ ἐστι δεινὸν οὐδ᾿ ἄτοπον αἰτίας ζητεῖν τῶν τοιούτων μεταβολῶν· ἀναιρεῖν δὲ τὰς τέχνας καὶ τὰς δυνάμεις, ἄν τι κινηθῇ καὶ παραλλάξῃ τῶν κατὰ ταύτας, οὐ δίκαιον.”

19. Ὑπολαβὼν δ᾿ ὁ Θέων, “ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μέν,” εἶπε, “μεγάλας ἔσχηκε τῷ ὄντι παραλλαγὰς καὶ καινοτομίας· τῶν δ᾿ ἐνταῦθα πολλοὺς χρησμῶν οἶσθα5 καὶ τότε καταλογάδην ἐκφερομένους καὶ Bπερὶ πραγμάτων οὐ τῶν τυχόντων· Λακεδαιμονίοις τε γάρ, ὡς Θουκυδίδης ἱστόρηκε, περὶ τοῦ πρὸς Ἀθηναίους πολέμου χρωμένοις ἀνεῖλε νίκην καὶ κράτος, καὶ βοηθήσειν αὐτὸς καὶ παρακαλούμενος καὶ ἀπαράκλητος6· καὶ Πλειστοάνακτα7 εἰ μὴ καταγάγοιεν ‘ἀργυρέᾳ εὐλάκᾳ8 εὐλάξειν9.’

“Ἀθηναίοις δὲ περὶ τῆς ἐν Σικελίᾳ μαντευομένοις στρατιᾶς προσέταξε τὴν ἐξ Ἐρυθρῶν10 ἱέρειαν ἀνάγειν11 τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς· ἐκαλεῖτο δ᾿ Ἡσυχία τὸ γύναιον.


The Oracles at Delphi

notable by writing in prose, although in earlier days Eudoxus, Hesiod, and Thales wrote in verse, if indeed Thales, in all truth, composed the Astronomy which is attributed to him. Pindar also confesses that he is puzzled by the neglect of a mode of music and is astonished that . . .a The fact is that there is nothing dreadful nor abnormal in seeking the causes of such changes; but to do away with these arts and faculties themselves because something about them has been disturbed or changed is not right.”

19. Theon, taking up the subject, said, “But these matters have actually undergone great changes and innovations, whereas you know that many of the oracles here have been given out in prose, and those that concerned no unimportant matters. For, as Thucydidesb has recorded, when the Spartans con- sulted the god about their war against the Athenians, his answer was a promise of victory and power and that he himself would come to their aid, bidden or unbidden; and in another oracle that if they would not allow Pleistoanax to return from exile, they should plough with a silver ploughshare.c

“When the Athenians sought advice about their campaign in Sicily, he directed them to get the priestess of Athena at Erythrae; the name which the woman bore was ‘Quiet.’d

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-moralia_oracles_delphi_no_longer_given_verse.1936