Within the works of some historical writers is discovered details about an oracle of Dionysos in Thrace, the land of the Thracians – one of many wildest folks in historical Europe and “probably the most quite a few folks of the World, after the Indians” (in accordance with Herodotus). The traditional sources concerning the oracle in query are as follows:
1. A Scholia to Euripides maintains that in accordance with info of the “physicist Heraclides”: “That [oracle?] of Dionysus was in-built Thrace on the so-called Haemus, the place is claimed, that there have been some writings of Orpheus upon tablets”. This may very well be the earliest proof of oracle of Dionysos in Thrace. There’s a clear location – in Mount Haemus.
2. One other scholia to Euripides, once more with unknown and – in any occasion – later creator, summarizes: “Some say, that the Oracle of Dionysus was in Pangaeus, different – in Haemus, the place have been some writings of Orpheus upon tablets, about which he speaks in Alcestis: “Not any drug within the Thracian tablets, the place are written the sayings of Orpheus”. And since Dionysus was and prophet, in “Bacchae” he says: “This god’s a prophet, too, for in his rites the Bacchic celebrations and the insanity an enormous prophetic energy is unleashed”. The nameless creator presents an attention-grabbing localization of the oracle – in Pangaeus or in Haemus. As within the earlier scholia, the oracle’s localization is related to some writings on tablets, whose authorship is attributed to Orpheus.
3. Historically, and never with out purpose, on the subject of the Oracle of Dionysus in Thrace in trendy historiography, most consideration is paid to the assertion of Herodotus (ca. 484 – 424 BC), who wrote: “The Satrians nevertheless by no means but grew to become obedient to any man, as far as we all know, however they continue to be as much as my time nonetheless free, alone of all of the Thracians; for they dwell in lofty mountains, that are coated with forest of every kind and with snow, and likewise they’re very skilful in struggle. These are they who possess the Oracle of Dionysos; which Oracle is on their most lofty mountains. Of the Satrians those that act as prophets of the temple are the Bessians; it’s a priestess who utters the oracles, as at Delphi; and past this there’s nothing additional of a outstanding character.” It has lengthy been state the very common nature of Herodotus’ info.
4. In an attributed to Aristotle textual content we learn: “They are saying, that the rabbits, caught in Crestonia close to the land of the Bisaltians, had two liver [two hearts] and had one spot sizes as one decare, wherein every animal entered, dies. There may be additionally a big and exquisite temple of Dionysus, wherein was held a celebration and a sacrifice. When the god intends to make fruitful 12 months, there appeared an important flame of fireplace, and all of it, that are within the sacred space, see it.When the 12 months shall be barren, that gentle doesn’t appeared and darkness covers the positioning, simply as within the different nights.”
5. One other textual content, additionally attributed to Aristotle, is preserved within the Saturnalia of Macrobius, drawn on the finish of the 4th or starting of the fifth century AD: “What was stated concerning the Apollo will be stated and for Liber. Aristotle, who wrote “Research of the Gods”, claims that Apollo and Liber Pater are one and the identical god, and lots of different proof means that: even, he says, by the Ligyrians in Thrace was a temple, devoted to Liber Pater, the place predictions are issued, however they announcing their prophecies after ingesting pure wine; as these on Claros drink water.”
6. Elsewhere in his textual content, Macrobius wrote: “Equally, we be taught that in Thrace the Solar and Liber are thought of the identical: they name him Sabazius and worship him in a splendid ritual, as Alexander [Polyhistor] writes, and on the hill Zilmissos they dedicate to him a spherical temple, with open to the sky heart. The temple’s spherical form factors to the solar’s form, and lightweight is let in by way of the roof to point out that the solar purifies all issues when it shines down from on excessive, and since the entire world opens up when the solar rises.”
7. The later direct proof about prediction, obtained in a Thracian oracle of Dionysus, is preserved by Suetonius: “Later, when Octavius was main a military by way of distant components of Thrace, and within the grove of Liber Pater consulted the monks about his son with barbarian rites, they made the identical prediction [that the ruler of the world had been born]; since such a pillar of flame sprang forth from the wine that was poured over the altar, that it rose above the temple roof and mounted to the very sky, and such an omen had befallen nobody save Alexander the Nice, when he provided sacrifice on the similar altar.”
8. Cassius Dio mentions the next: “He [M. Licinius Crassus] over ran the remainder of the nation [Thrace] besides the territory of the Odrysae. These he spared as a result of they’re hooked up to the service of Dionysus, and had come to fulfill him on this event with out their arms; and he additionally granted them the land wherein they amplify the god, taking it away from the Bessi who have been occupying it.”
So, that is what we are able to learn within the historical literature concerning the enigmatic oracle of Dionysos in Thrace. However is there was just one oracle? The reply is sought within the second a part of this text.