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Greek Popular Religion, by Martin P. Nilsson, [1940], at

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The religious situation in Greece was complicated in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., even in regard to popular religion. It was simple enough in backward districts, where the old faith survived without being disturbed and where the people kept the rustic customs, celebrated the old festivals, and venerated the gods and heroes without doing much thinking about the high gods. The background of this simple faith has survived until our own day. The situation was different elsewhere, especially in the cities, where religion had to encounter political life and the new enlightenment. The people ascribed the greatness and glory of the state, its freedom and independence, to its great gods; they feasted gladly on the sacrifices offered by the state; and they gathered with others at the panegyreis. But the cult of the great gods was too cold. These gods did not offer help in human needs and consolation to a contrite heart. The old bonds of state and family were loosened, the individual became conscious of himself. The state claimed as great authority as ever, but, as a matter of fact, the abuses of democracy turned people away from it and made them try to find the way that pleased them best. Man was no longer born to his gods as in earlier times. He wanted to find his gods for himself. And so he turned to gods who could help him--to Asclepius, the great healer of diseases; to the Cabiri, who brought help in distress at sea; or to gods who were able to stir his religious feelings deeply, as Sabazios could. In this movement the women seem to have played an

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important part. The criticism of religious beliefs by the Sophists and the improper jests at the expense of the gods by men like Aristophanes did their work. Atheists were not unknown, nor were statesmen who treated religion as only a means to their ends. The faith of the masses was shaken, but it was not destroyed.

On occasion it broke out violently, and the people were seized by a kind of religious hysteria when they believed that their welfare and that of their city was threatened by impiety against the gods. The Athenian trials for impiety are famous. 1 The trials of Pericles' mistress, Aspasia, and of his friend, the philosopher Anaxagoras, had a very obvious political background. This is apparent also in the trial of Alcibiades for profanation of the Eleusinian Mysteries and in the famous trial for the smashing of the herms in 415 B.C. On this occasion a real religious hysteria broke out, for these events took place just before the great fleet sailed for Syracuse. The people feared that the wrath of the gods would imperil this great and dangerous undertaking, or at least they found an evil omen in the event. About the same time the Sophist Protagoras and the atheist Diagoras were condemned for impiety. Most famous of all is the trial and death of Socrates. Socrates was accused of seducing youths and of not having the same gods as the state but other new gods. His accusers were good citizens who tried to heal the terrible wounds left by the war and by the terrorism of the Thirty Tyrants, and they sincerely believed that they would attain their goal by removing the adversary of the old faith and old customs. They made a tragic mistake, for they struck at the man who overcame the sophistical criticism. Such trials also took place later. Even Aristotle was threatened with one.

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Except in the case of the simple rustic cults, it was the fate of Greek religion to be closely interconnected with political life. We should remember that the people of whose religion we speak made up the popular assembly and that the assembly made decisions in religious matters, even if in such matters it acknowledged a superior authority and asked the Delphic or some other oracle for advice. This intermingling of religion and politics is especially apparent in another field of religion which was of the greatest importance in practical life. I refer to the foretelling of the future. We can hardly imagine how great its importance was in private as well as in public life. In my opinion it was the part of religion which was of most current interest in that age.

The cities asked the oracles for advice not only in religious but also in other matters, and private persons did so on all occasions of any importance. Furthermore, guidance was sought from sacrifices, birds, dreams, and other omens. We may take Xenophon as an example. He was a brave and well-educated man, a skilled officer, and a good writer, but without philosophical understanding. His religious views were certainly those of the Athenian middle class. He turned to oracles and seers on all occasions. Before Xenophon went to Asia Minor to join the expedition of Cyrus he asked the Delphic oracle to which gods he should sacrifice in order that he might make the voyage and return in safety. 2 When the Army of the Ten Thousand was at discord, he sacrificed and asked the gods if he should go back home. He did likewise when the chief command was offered to him and when he was thinking of settling the soldiers at Kotyora. 3 He firmly believed he was led by presages and omens. A dream in which he saw a thunderbolt strike his father's house was the immediate cause

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of his assembling the officers after the death of Cyrus in order to take counsel in the difficult situation of the army. A dream showed him the means of crossing the river Tigris when the army seemed to be cut off by the river and the mountains. 4 When he was riding from Ephesus in order to meet Cyrus, he heard the cry of a seated eagle to the right, and the seer who accompanied him said that it signified glory but many hardships. 5 And, finally, when someone sneezed during an exhortatory speech to the soldiers after the murder of Clearchus, all the soldiers venerated the gods. 6 Xenophon firmly believed in presages, and when they seemed to fail he took pains to explain that they finally proved to be true. I hardly need to refer to the many oracles and presages related by Herodotus.

The wish to be able to cast a glance into the future is common to all humanity. Even in our day there are plenty of soothsayers and sibyls, and many people still believe in dreams and omens. It is no wonder that the ancients did so, too. But we should keep well in mind that while these arts are now despised by educated people and ranked with superstition they were an acknowledged part of Greek religion. The great popularity of the Delphic oracle was based on its supposed ability to foretell the future. There were numerous oracles in Greece, and, to judge from Herodotus, they seem especially to have flourished before and during the Persian Wars. But they were consulted eagerly in the following age too, although a certain decline in their prestige is perhaps to be found in the fact that at this time the Greeks turned to foreign oracles, especially that of Ammon in the Great Oasis. In the Hellenistic age the old oracles of Greece lost their popularity.

The writers preserve only the more important questions put

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to the oracles. We can be certain that people applied to the oracles on all occasions which were of some importance to them. But these questions pertaining to ordinary life are lost, with one exception. At Dodona there have been found several leaden tablets inscribed with questions which people asked the oracle. 7 It is interesting to see what they were like. One Heraclides asks whether his wife will bear him a child, and Lysanias asks whether the child with which Amyla is pregnant is his. One man asks if it will be profitable for him to buy a house and land in the town, another if he will do well by breeding sheep, a third if he will make a profit by carrying goods around and doing business where he likes. We see what sort of advice people wanted in family life and business, and we can understand the important part which the oracles played in practical life. We should not forget that other omens and dreams were eagerly observed also.

Whoever has read the accounts of Greek historians knows that no battle was waged, no river crossed, before victims had been slaughtered and the signs of the sacrifice were favorable. If the signs were unfavorable a second and even a third victim were slaughtered until favorable signs appeared, and it sometimes happened that a general held his army back and waited for favorable signs even when the enemy had already begun to attack. It sometimes happened also that a plan was given up if the signs were unfavorable. Seers always accompanied the armies; among the Ten Thousand there were several of them.

To us it seems paradoxical to wait for sacrificial omens before a battle when quick action is required or before a march which is demanded by strategical considerations. The Greeks thought otherwise, or they would have abolished these hindrances to military action. We should not overlook the psychological influence of these god-sent signs on the soldiers and

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on their conduct in battle, for the soldiers believed in the signs as Xenophon did. Of course there were cunning seers who interpreted the signs from the victim sacrificed in accordance with military necessity, and there were generals who imposed their will upon the seers and used these sacrifices as a means to their military ends. In the battle at Plataea, Pausanias held his soldiers back, under the pretext that the signs were unfavorable, until the enemy could be attacked by the hoplites at a reasonable distance. But there were also bigoted generals who obeyed the seers rather than military necessity. The most tragic example is Nicias and the defeat of the Athenians before Syracuse. When the retreat was decided on the moon was eclipsed, and the seers interpreted this to mean that the army had to remain on the spot thrice nine days. Nicias obeyed, and the delay sealed their doom. 8 In his biography of Nicias, Plutarch deplores the untimely death of the seer Stilbides because after that no wise seer was at the side of Nicias. 9

There were seers who intrigued on their own account. The seer Silanos, who was asked by Xenophon to consult the gods in regard to his plan to settle the soldiers at Kotyora, frustrated his intention because he wanted to go back to Greece. 10 In a military writer of the same age there is a very instructive prescription to the effect that a general should have a strict eye upon the seers during a siege and not allow them to sacrifice on their own account in the absence of the general. 11 They might have a fatal influence on public opinion.

The part played by the seers in war may seem to be of a special kind, but wars were only too common in Greece. Between the great and historically famous wars some small war

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was almost always going on in some corner of the country. The gods were constantly consulted in time of war for the sake of the psychological effect on the minds of the combatants. From the account in Xenophon of the events in Troas, 12 it seems that seers circulated everywhere and offered their services to those who wanted and paid for them. It is striking that the seers whom he mentions were from backward provinces of Greece--Arcadia and Acarnania. Belief in the art was perhaps firmer in these regions. Some seers acquired a great fame. One of these was Tisamenus, who belonged to a famous family of seers from Olympia, the Iamidae, 13 and served as a seer in the great battles fought with the Persians. He even acquired Spartan citizenship.

If the seers were able to influence the minds of men in war, they, of course, had the same power in peace and in political life. Still more important were, however, the numerous oracle mongers, the chresmologoi, who circulated among the people oracles which were anonymous or which were ascribed to some old prophet, such as Musaeus or Bacis, or to some oracle. These oracles were not signs given by the gods in sacrifices or in other ways, but words--verses which the people learned by heart and which went from mouth to mouth. I hardly need to remark what a powerful means this was for influencing public opinion when an important decision was pending. But the part played by oracles and seers in such matters is not sufficiently appreciated, and so I must dwell upon it at some length. The oracles played a part in political agitation similar to that of newspapers and political pamphlets in our own times. Examples of their fateful influence will be given below.

This role of the oracles began before the Persian Wars.

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[paragraph continues] Herodotus relates that when the Spartan king Cleomenes in 510 B.C. drove out the sons of Pisistratus and took the Acropolis of Athens, he seized in the temple a collection of oracles which had belonged to the Pisistratidae. 14 These oracles foretold many heavy blows that would be dealt by the Athenians to the Spartans. In this connection I may also recall the fact that the political adversaries of the Pisistratidae, the Alcmaeonidae, whom they had exiled, secured the help of the Delphic oracle and through it of the Spartans. What had happened is clear enough. The Pisistratidae knew that the Spartans were their most powerful enemies, and they collected these oracles not for their own pleasure but in order to prepare the minds of the people for the war with the Spartans which they foresaw--to exhort the people and to give them courage in the fight with the formidable foe.

Another story is told by Herodotus about Onomacritus, who is known chiefly because he seems to have promoted Orphism. He was exiled by Hipparchus, the son of Pisistratus, because another poet, Lasus of Hermione, had caught him falsely inserting into a collection of oracles ascribed to Musaeus an oracle prophesying that the islands around Lemnos would be engulfed by the sea. I do not think that the real reason for the exile was that Onomacritus had committed a literary forgery. If we recall that Lemnos was occupied by Miltiades about 512 B.C., certainly not without the consent of the Pisistratidae, and that it afforded support to the commercial and political influence of Athens in the northeastern part of the Aegean for which the Pisistratidae cared much (I recall that they seized Sigeum at the mouth of the Hellespont), the political background becomes clear. Such an oracle was unfavorable to their political plans. After his exile Onomacritus went to the court of the Persian king, where he used his

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oracles in order to persuade the king to undertake the campaign against Greece. He read a mass of oracles, and if something was unfavorable to the Persians, he concealed it, picking out the most favorable oracles. 15 We see what oracles were good for.

There were many such collections of oracles, and their authority was enhanced by ascribing them to some famous old prophet. The most esteemed of these was Bacis. Herodotus quotes oracles at length only from him and from the Pythia. In one passage he makes an interesting remark which proves that criticism had begun to awaken. Speaking of a notorious ex eventu oracle referring to the battle at Artemisium, Herodotus says that he is unable to deny that oracles are true and that, as Bacis speaks so clearly, he is not willing to put forward or to tolerate any contradiction in this regard. 16 The home of the Sibyl was not in Greece but in Asia Minor. Another collection ascribed to her was brought from the Greek colony of Cumae to Rome at about the same time. It is the famous Sibylline Books. A Sibylline oracle ascribed to 125 B.C. is preserved in Phlegon. 17 It is certainly not genuine. We need only remark that it consists chiefly of prescriptions for sacrifices and purifications, though it also contains certain political allusions. In judging the much discussed problem of the Sibylline Books, it is important to realize that it was only one of the many collections of oracles circulating in Greece at the

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end of the sixth century B.C. Of course, such collections circulated also in the Greek colonies.

Thucydides gives an illuminating account of the role of the oracles during the Peloponnesian War. He is a child of the enlightenment of the age of the Sophists and does not believe in them. He mentions them only in order to show their psychological influence and the impression they made on men's minds. It was of course a great advantage for the Spartans that when they asked Apollo at Delphi about the war he declared that they would conquer and that he would help them whether called upon or not. This increased the willingness of Sparta's allies to take part in the war. But this was also an example of the oracle's interference in politics which ended by depriving it of its authority. When the great plague broke out during the first years of the war, there was an animated discussion in regard to the true wording of an old oracle. Should it read: "The Dorian war will come and with it famine (limos)"? Or should the last word be "plague" (loimos)? An oracle of Pythia prohibited people from settling in the Pelargikon on the southern slope of the Acropolis. As this was necessarily done when the country was evacuated and the people crowded into the town, many thought that this infringement of the divine prohibition was the cause of the calamities. Thucydides remarks dryly that, on the contrary, the calamity of the war was the reason why the Pelargikon was inhabited. When the Spartans invaded Attica for the first time and devastated the fields, the Athenians were at discord as to whether they should go and fight the enemy, and the oracle mongers proffered numerous oracles which all were eager to hear. 18

The most outstanding and flagrant example of the role of oracles and seers in political discussions and of their use to influence public opinion occurred in the preparation for the

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expedition to Sicily. The undertaking was hotly disputed. There were two parties, one of which found the risk too great and rejected the proposal, while the other adhered to it ardently. The leader of the party favoring the expedition was Alcibiades, whose motives were selfish. Whatever he thought of it, he promoted the plan in order to win glory and power for himself. It was all important for him to control public opinion. He had a seer who prophesied that the Athenians would earn great glory in Sicily. His adversaries and even priests used the same methods. An embassy sent to the oracle of Ammon in the Great Oasis came back with the answer that the Athenians would take all Syracusans. Unfavorable sayings were concealed. 19 One of these oracles, one which came from Dodona, is preserved, together with the interpretation given after the catastrophe. 20 It said that the Athenians would settle on Sikelia. According to the interpretation, the oracle meant a small hill with this name outside the gates of Athens. Thucydides relates that after the great catastrophe the wrath of the people turned not only against the politicians but also against the oracle mongers and seers who, pretending divine inspiration, had raised false hopes in them. 21

Plutarch relates several terrible omens which foreboded the catastrophe, beginning with the smashing of the herms and ending with the women's lament for Adonis about the time when the fleet sailed for Sicily. A man leaped up on the altar of the twelve gods and castrated himself. Ravens picked off a large part of a votive gift which the Athenians had erected at Delphi in memory of their victory over the Persians, a Palladium standing on a date palm of bronze. When, on the advice of the oracle, the Athenians fetched a priestess of

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[paragraph continues] Athena from Clazomenae, it turned out that her name was Hesychia (quiet). These stories may have been invented after the terrible end of the expedition, but at all events they are characteristic of the mentality of the age, the search for presages and omens everywhere and the great attention paid to them. Of course, the exegetes were asked to interpret them. The importance of seers, oracles, presages, omens, and the like for the popular mind will, I hope, be evident from these examples.

Seers and oracle mongers were omnipresent. Aristophanes is illuminating in this respect. In his comedy The Birds, when the City of the Birds in the Clouds is founded, among the charlatans who present themselves is an oracle monger who reads beautiful oracles from his book. He is chased away by Peisthetairos with another oracle. The intrigue in Aristophanes' comedy The Knights is a regular battle for the favor of old Demos, the personification of the Athenian people, fought by means of oracle collections. Cleon, the leading politician of this time, is represented as a Paphlagonian slave who has ousted the two other slaves of Demos, Nicias and Demosthenes, the two well-known generals. Cleon feeds the old Demos with oracles and wins his favor. The other two steal his book. In it they find an oracle saying that the leather-seller, that is, the tanner Cleon, will be vanquished by a sausage-seller, who is still more impudent than he. The sausage-seller is sought and found, and now the battle begins. The sausage-seller carries the day because his oracles promise much more to Demos. It is a bold joke, but it has a very serious background and throws light on the means by which the opinions of the people and of the popular assembly were influenced. Evidently seers and oracle mongers had the ear of the people and helped to determine the direction of public opinion.

Many of the seers, oracle mongers, and interpreters of

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dreams, presages, and omens were charlatans. But they were not all so contemptible as they are represented by Aristophanes and as moderns are apt to think. Some of them were influential politicians, and among them were the exegetes, the official interpreters of sacred law chosen by the people and the Delphic oracle. The most prominent of these was Lampon, who was a very well-known personage in the latter part of the fifth century B.C. He took a prominent part in the founding of the Athenian colony Thurii, and a decree preserved in an inscription proves that he moved proposals in the popular assembly concerning sacred matters. 22 He was one of the official exegetes. Together with Lampon is mentioned Hierocles. Aristophanes derides Hierocles as an oracle monger, but the people commissioned him to arrange certain sacrifices for Euboea which were prescribed by the oracle and perhaps gave him a plot of land on Euboea. 23 We shall later mention Diopeithes, a friend of Nicias, whom Aristophanes calls avaricious in one passage and a great man in another. 24 He had a namesake at Sparta who must have been a person of consequence, for in the contest over the throne between Agesilaus and Leotychides he produced an oracle of Apollo directing the Spartans to beware of a lame kingship. Agesilaus had a lame leg. But the cunning Lysander outdid the Spartan Diopeithes, saying that the oracle referred to the illegitimate birth of Leotychides, for there was a rumor that he was the son not of King Agis but of Alcibiades. 25

By virtue of their profession these men were the defenders of the old religion when Sophists and unbelievers directed their attacks against it. The trials for atheism were initiated

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by the seer Diopeithes. According to the biographer Satyros, Anaxagoras was accused by Thucydides, the son of Melesias, the chief political adversary of Pericles; but according to Plutarch, Diopeithes was the accuser. 26 Probably the two worked together. Diopeithes carried a law in the popular assembly authorizing trials of persons who did not believe in the divine and who disseminated teachings about the celestial phenomena. Here we find the kernel of the matter, the clash between the old religion and the new philosophy. The heavenly bodies were mythological gods who had hardly any cult. The contention that the sun was a glowing lump and the moon another inhabited world could hardly be counted as atheism. On the other hand such celestial phenomena as eclipses had a very important place as omens in the art of the seers. The seers became aware of the danger to their art, which some people had already begun to doubt, of the physical explanation of such phenomena.

Another story about the seer Lampon which is told by Plutarch is very illuminating in regard to the situation. 27 A ram with one horn only was brought to Pericles. According to the notions of the ancients this was an ominous portent. Lampon interpreted it to mean that of the two rivals in Athenian politics, Pericles and Thucydides, the one to whom this ram had been brought should carry the day. But Anaxagoras had the skull of the ram cut open and showed that the brain had the form of an egg with its small end turned toward the root of the single horn. He gave a physical explanation of the portent. Plutarch adds that the people admired the sagacity of Anaxagoras much but shortly afterward, when Thucydides had been ostracized, that of Lampon much more.

The moderns generally think that the clash took place between

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the old religion and the criticism advanced by the Sophists. This view is at best one-sided. A very severe criticism of the gods and of their cult had been made by Xenophanes and Heraclitus without doing much harm. The Sophists, in fact, were not so aggressive as these philosophers, although their criticism without doubt undermined faith in the gods. Critias advanced the opinion that some wise man had invented the gods in order to deter men from doing wrong in secret. 28 Prodicus took up the metonymical use of the names of the gods which was already common in Homer and concluded that man considered as a god everything that was useful to him and that hence wine was called Dionysus, fire Hephaistos, bread Demeter, and so forth. 29 Protagoras was cautious, stating that he was not able to say of the gods whether they existed or not, nor what shape they had; he said that much prevents knowing this--the obscurity of the matter and the brevity of human life. 30 This is philosophy and must be passed over in an exposition of popular religion. The discussions of the Sophists were beyond the horizon of the common people, who listened to them partly in amusement and partly in irritation. It is characteristic that Euripides, the spokesman of the new wisdom on the stage, won few victories, while many fell to Sophocles. Sophocles won the favor of the people because he was a good Athenian citizen who believed in the gods. But his religion was conventional, if this word is not taken in a bad sense. It is very characteristic that the only part of religion for which he shows genuine zeal is the belief in oracles.

The intellectual arguments of the Sophists were above the understanding of the common people. The arguments of natural philosophy, at least to a certain degree, were not. Aristophanes

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popularized them. In The Clouds he makes Socrates prove that Zeus does not exist by the fact that the thunderbolt hits not the wrongdoers but temples, mountaintops, and tall oaks. This the people understood. In another passage he gives a grotesque explanation of the rain which Zeus pours down. 31

Moderns are astonished that natural philosophy and sophistic are confused, that Aristophanes makes Socrates represent them both. From the point of view of the good Athenian citizen it is not astonishing at all. They were not so educated or lettered as to be able to distinguish between the hairsplitting of the Sophists and the hypotheses of the natural philosophers, of whose doctrines the Sophists were not ignorant. The people confused them, and Aristophanes reflects popular opinion by doing the same, although his exposition of their doctrines in The Clouds was a little too much for the audience. This comedy was not a success.

The real clash took place between that part of religion which interfered most in practical life and with which everyone came in contact every day, namely, the art of foretelling the future, and the attempts of natural philosophy to give physical explanations of celestial and atmospheric phenomena, of portents, and of other events. Such explanations undermined the belief in the art of the seers and made it superfluous. For if these phenomena were to be explained in a natural way, the art of the seers came to naught. Belief in the oracles also was weakened. The prejudices shown by the oracles, as in the case of the favor shown by the Delphic oracle for the Spartans, contributed to the disbelief. The belief in the oracles was the business not only of the priests and seers but also of the politicians. Only one method of foretelling the future--dreams--was not attacked. Everyone believed in dreams, and even

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[paragraph continues] Aristotle treated of the divine nature of dreams. 32 Everyone wanted to look into the future, as people still do. The defense of the oracles and of the art of the seers was a very important matter.

Naturally the seers and interpreters of oracles and omens defended their art, and since their art was implied in the old religion, the defense of the old religion also fell to their lot. For the real point where belief and disbelief clashed was the opposition between the art of foretelling the future and the physical explanations of natural philosophy. The clash occurred not in intellectual discussion but in practical life, and consequently it became the business of the whole people. That it was so is proved by the fact that the seers rose up to defend the old religion when they became aware of the danger. Diopeithes introduced the trials for atheism, and the first man to be accused was Anaxagoras, the Ionian natural philosopher who lived at Athens. The denunciation of Socrates contained the same accusation, that he searched for things beneath the earth and above the sky. But in his case a reference to sophistic was added, for he was also accused of making the weaker case appear the stronger.

The trials for atheism were useless. They were not able to check the increasing disbelief, and they ceased in the course of time. They are no honor to Athens, but we should try to understand the situation from which they arose. This situation was created by the interference of religion in practical life and politics, and it explains why men who were at the same time politicians and seers thought it possible to dispel the danger by means of laws and courts. They were supported by the Athenian people, for the people disliked the attacks on the gods who had given glory and power to their city and in emergencies they feared the wrath of these gods. Disbelief in

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the gods was manifest in the physical explanations of the phenomena of nature, which the seers interpreted as signs of the wrath of the gods. The people understood this, and the trials for atheism were the consequence. The fate of the old religion was sealed, but the belief in the art of foretelling the future did not cease. In late antiquity it was stronger than ever. It was a part of popular religion, and I have wished to put its importance in the right light.

I have tried to expound the popular religion of the ancient Greeks. To many popular religion is religion in folklore, and I have dwelt at length on this part of the religion. The great gods also have their roots in popular religion, although they come to us magnified by art and literature. Certain moral and social ideas formed a part of the life of the people, and these also found religious expression and were placed under the protection of the gods. They are an important part of popular religion.

Religion is dependent on the conditions of life. When these change new needs arise and old forms wane, and popular religion undergoes corresponding changes. Such changes were effected when people crowded into the towns and began to earn their livelihood not by agriculture and stockbreeding but by industry and commerce. Changes in political life and the rise of democracy also caused certain changes in religion. We should bear in mind that in the democratic states the people formed the popular assembly to which all decisions pertained, even in religious matters. The result was that religion was secularized to a certain degree. But it was not dead. Religion tried to find new forms corresponding to the new needs and the new ideas of the people. This movement was only beginning in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. The real turning point is the age of the Sophists. It came to an issue in late antiquity.

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I take the liberty to conclude with a simile. Religion is like a grove with tall and stately trees, which reach the sky and strike the eye from afar, and with an undergrowth of brushwood and grass. It is easy to fell the trees, and, like the pines in the proverb which King Croesus referred to when he threatened to eradicate the Milesians like a pine, they do not put forth new shoots, although new trees can be planted instead of the old ones. But the undergrowth persists. The brushwood and the grass may be cut down or even burned off; it springs up again. Every year the undergrowth brings forth the same simple leaves and blossoms. It changes only if the mother soil is changed. This took place in ancient Greece, as it does today, through the rise of new conditions of life, industry, commerce, democracy, and intercourse between peoples and classes. Popular religion changed accordingly. In backward parts of the country, however, the old mode of life and the old popular religion persisted and have continued to persist down to our own day, but they are giving way again because conditions of life are once more being profoundly changed.


122:1 E. Derenne, Les Procès d’impiété intentés aux philosopher à Athènes au Vme et au IVme siècles avant J.-C. (Liege, 1930).

123:2 Anabasis, III, 1, 5 ff.

123:3 Ibid., V, 6, 16 ff.

124:4 Ibid., III, 1, 11 ff.; see also VI, 1, 22, and IV, 3, 8 ff.

124:5 Ibid., VI, 1, 23.

124:6 Ibid., III, 2, 9.

125:7 C. Carapanos, Dodone et ses ruines (Paris, 1878), pp. 68 ff.

126:8 Thucydides, VII, 50.

126:9 Nicias, 23.

126:10 Xenophon, Anabasis, V, 6, 29.

126:11 Aeneas Tacticus, Poliorcetica, 10, 4.

127:12 Anabasis, VII, 8.

127:13 L. Weniger, "Die Seher von Olympia," Archiv Für Religionswissenschaft, XVIII (1915), 53 ff.

128:14 Herodotus, V, 90.

129:15 Herodotus, VII, 6. See also H. Diels, "Über Epimenides von Kreta," Sitzungsberichte der Königlich preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin), 1891, pp. 396 ff., and H. Bengtson, "Einzelpersönlichkeit and athenischer Staat zur Zeit des Peisistratos and des Miltiades," Sitzungsberichte der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philos.-hist. Abt. (Munich), 1939, No. 1, pp. 26 ff.

129:16 Herodotus, VIII, 77.

129:17 The text is printed in H. Diels, Sibyllinische Blätter (Berlin, 1890), pp. 111 ff.

130:18 Thucydides, II, 54, 17, 21.

131:19 Plutarch, Nicias, 13.

131:20 Pausanias, VIII, 11, 12.

131:21 Thucydides, VIII, 1.

133:22 Aristophanes, Nubes, vs. 332 and scholion; Inscriptiones Graecae, Editio minor, Vol. I, No. 76.

133:23 Aristophanes, Pax, vss. 1046 ff., and scholion.

133:24 Equites, vs. 1085, Vespae, vs. 380, and Aves, vs. 988.

133:25 Plutarch, Agesilaus, 3.

134:26 Diogenes Laertius, II, 12 ff.; Plutarch, Pericles, 32.

134:27 Pericles, 6.

135:28 Sisyphus, in Nauck, Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta, pp. 771 ff.

135:29 Frag. 5, in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, II, 316.

135:30 Frag. 4, in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, II, 265.

136:31 Nubes, vss. 399 ff.

137:32 On Dreams and On Prophecy in Sleep.

Next: Illustrations 1-3