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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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Amphiaraos, Alkmaion, and Delphi’s Oracular Monopoly

Amphiaraos, Alkmaion, and Delphi’s Oracular Monopoly

(p.136) 6 Amphiaraos, Alkmaion, and Delphi’s Oracular Monopoly
Seer and the City

Margaret Foster

University of California Press

Chapter 6 demystifies Delphi’s oracular monopoly in colonial discourse. An investigation of the myth of Alkmaion, found in sources such as Thucydides, Diodorus Siculus, and Ps.-Apollodorus, discloses Delphi’s active production of colonial founders and its simultaneous suppression of the individual seer within foundation discourses. In contrast, Pindar’s Pythian 8 promotes the relationship between Amphiaraos and his son and, uniquely among our extant sources, asserts Alkmaion’s own powers of prophecy. What both the dominant mythic tradition of Alkmaion and Pythian 8 share, however, is conceiving of the seer and oikist as mutually exclusive.

Keywords:   Pindar, epinician, Pythian 8, Alkmaion, Amphiaraos, Seven against Thebes, Delphi

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