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Whatever, meantime, were the secret motive to this policy, it did not fail to shock all Greece profoundly. And, in a slighter degree, the same effect upon public feeling followed the act of Agesipolis, who, after obtaining an answer from the Oracle of Delphi, carried forward his suit to the more awfully ancient Oracle of Dodona; by way of trying, as he alleged, "whether the child agreed with its papa." These open expressions of distrust were generally condemned; and the irresistible proof that they were, lies in the fact that they led to no imitations. Even in a case mentioned by Herodotus, when a man had the audacity to found a colony without seeking an oracular sanction, no precedent was established; though the journey to Delphi must often have been peculiarly inconvenient to the founders of colonies moving westwards from Greece; and the expenses of such a journey, with the subsequent offerings, could not but prove unseasonable at the moment when every drachma was most urgently needed. Charity begins at home, was a thought quite as likely to press upon a Pagan conscience, in those circumstances, as upon our modern Christian consciences under heavy taxation; yet, for all that, such was the regard to a pious inauguration of all colonial enterprises, that no one provision or pledge of prosperity was held equally indispensable by all parties to such hazardous speculations. The merest worldly foresight, indeed, to the most irreligious leader, would suggest this sanction as a necessity, under the following reason:-colonies the most enviably prosperous upon the whole, have yet had many hardships to contend with in their noviciate of

the first five years; were it only from the summer failure of water under circumstances of local igno rance, or from the casual failure of crops under im perfect arrangements of culture. Now, the one great qualification for wrestling strenuously with such difficult contingencies in solitary situations, is the spirit of cheerful hope; but, when any room had been left for apprehending a supernatural curse resting upon their efforts equally in the most thoughtfully pious man and the most crazily superstitious all spirit of hope would be blighted at once; and the religious neglect would, even in a common human way, become its own certain executor, through mere depression of spirits and misgiving of expectations. Well, therefore, might Cicero in a tone of defiance demand, "Quam vero Græcia coloniam misit in Etoliam, Ioniam, Asiam, Siciliam, Italiam, sine Pythio (the Delphic), aut Dodonæo, aut Hammonis oraculo?" An oracular sanction must be had, and from a leading oracle- the three mentioned by Cicero were the greatest; * and, if a minor oracle could have satisfied the inaugurating necessities of a regu lar colony, we may be sure that the Dorian states of the Peloponnesus, who had twenty-five decent ora cles at home (that is, within the peninsula), would not so constantly have carried their money to Delphi. Nay, it is certain that even where the colonial counsels of the greater oracles seemed extravagant, though a large discretion was allowed to remonstrance, and even to very homely expostulations,

*To which at one time must be added, as of equal rank, the Oracle of the Branchides, in Asia Minor. But this had been destroyed by the Persians, in retaliation of the Athenian outrages at Sardis.

still, in the last resort, no doubts were felt that the oracle must be right. Brouwer, the Belgic scholar, who has so recently and so temperately treated these subjects (Histoire de la Civilisation Morale et Religieuse chez les Grecs: 6 tomes: Groningue 1840), alleges a case (which, however, we do not remember to have met) where the client ventured to object:-"Mon roi Apollon, je crois que tu es fou." But cases, are obvious which look this way, though not going so far as to charge lunacy upon the lord of prophetic vision. Battus, who was destined to be the eldest father of Cyrene, so memorable as the first ground of Greek intercourse with the African shore of the Mediterranean, never consulted the Delphic Oracle in reference to his eyes, which happened to be diseased, but that he was admonished to prepare for colonizing Libya.- "Grant me patience," would Battus reply; "here am I getting into years, and never do I consult the Oracle about my precious sight, but you, King Phoebus, begin your old yarn about Cyrene. Confound Cyrene! Nobody knows where it is. But, if you are serious, speak to my son-he's a likely young man, and worth a hundred of old rotten hulks, like myself." Battus was provoked in good earnest; and it is well known that the whole scheme went to sleep for several years, until King Phoebus sent in a gentle refresher to Battus and his islanders, in the shape of failing crops, pestilence, and his ordinary chastisements. people were roused - the colony was founded - and, after utter failure, was again re-founded, and the results justified the Oracle. But, in all such cases, and where the remonstrances were least respectful,


or where the resistance of inertia was longest, we differ altogether from M. Brouwer in his belief, that the suitors fancied Apollo to have gone distracted. If they ever said so, this must have been merely by way of putting the Oracle on its mettle, and calling forth some plainer-not any essentially different— answer from the enigmatic god; for there it was that the doubts of the clients settled, and on that it was the practical demurs hinged. Not because even Battus, vexed as he was about his precious eyesight, distrusted the Oracle, but because he felt sure that the Oracle had not spoken out freely; therefore, had he and many others in similar circumstances presumed to delay. A second edition was what they waited for, corrected and enlarged. We have a memorable instance of this policy in the Athenian envoys, who, upon receiving a most ominous doom, but obscurely expressed, from the Delphic Oracle, which politely concluded by saying, "And so get out, you vagabonds, from my temple- don't cumber my decks any longer; were advised to answer sturdily-"No! — we shall not get out

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to sit here forever, until you think proper to give us a more reasonable reply." Upon which spirited rejoinder, the Pythia saw the policy of revising her truly brutal rescript as it had stood originally.

The necessity, indeed, was strong for not acquiescing in the Oracle, until it had become clearer by revision or by casual illustrations, as will be seen even under our next head. This head concerns the case of those who found themselves deceived by the event of any oracular prediction. As usual, there is *partan case of this nature. Cleomenes com

plained bitterly that the Oracle of Delphi had deluded him by holding out as a possibility, and under given conditions as a certainty, that he should possess himself of Argos. But the Oracle was justified: there was an inconsiderable place outside the walls of Argos which bore the same name. Most readers will remember the case of Cambyses, who had been assured by a legion of oracles that he should die at Ecbatana. Suffering, therefore, in Syria from a scratch inflicted upon his thigh by his own sabre, whilst angrily sabring a ridiculous quadruped whom the Egyptian priests had put forward as a god, he felt quite at his ease so long as he remembered his vast distance from the mighty capital of Media, to the eastward of the Tigris. The scratch, however, inflamed, for his intemperance had saturated his system with combustible matter; the inflammation spread; the pulse ran high: and he began to feel twinges of alarm. At length mortification commenced but still he trusted to the old prophecy about Ecbatana, when suddenly a horrid discovery was made that the very Syrian village at his own head-quarters was known by the pompous name of Ecbatana. Josephus tells a similar story of some man contemporary with Herod the Great. And we must all remember that case in Shakspeare, where the first king of the red rose, Henry IV., had long fancied his destiny to be that he should meet his death in Jerusalem; which naturally did not quicken his zeal for becoming a crusader. "All time enough," doubtless he used to say; "no hurry at all, gentlemen!" But at length, finding himself pronounced by the doctor ripe for dying, it became

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