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Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer) 2 0 Browse Search
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Apollodorus, Library (ed. Sir James George Frazer), book 1 (search)
some philosophers on rationalistic principles: they supposed that the priestess was thrown into the prophetic trance by natural exhalations from the ground, and they explained the decadence of the oracle in their own time by the gradual cessation of the exhalations. The theory is scouted by Cicero. See Plut. De defectu oraculorum 40ff.; Cicero, De divinatione i.19.38, i.36.79, ii.57.117. A similar theory is still held by wizards in Loango, on the west coast of Africa; hence in order to receive the inspiration they descend into an artificial pit or natural hollow and remain there for some time, absorbing the blessed influence, just as the Greek priestesses for a similar purpose descended into the oracular caverns at Aegira and Delphi. See Die Loango Expedition, iii.2, von Dr. E. Pechuel Loesche (Stuttgart, 1907), p. 441. As to the oracular cavern at Delphi