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Seer and the CityReligion, Politics, and Colonial Ideology in Ancient Greece$
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Margaret Foster

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520295001

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520295001.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Beyond Entrails and Omens

Beyond Entrails and Omens

Herodotus’s Teisamenos and the Talismanic Seer at War

(p.23) 1 Beyond Entrails and Omens
Seer and the City

Margaret Foster

University of California Press

Chapter 1 considers Herodotus’s characterization of the seer Teisamenos as a “leader of wars” and uncovers a cultural tendency to regard military seers as conduits of talismanic power. The chapter demonstrates how seers were recruited for warfare not only for their ability to interpret omens but also because they were seen to possess a talismanic power that guaranteed victory. Understanding seers in this new light allows us to identify the ways in which they intersect with other talismanic figures similarly characterized, including oikists.

Keywords:   Teisamenos, Herodotus, Histories, talismanic power, Persian Wars, Greek athlete, oikist

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