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μοῦνοι Θρηίκων is too strong, even though Darius nominally made the country subject (iv. 93), and the Odrysian princes dominated most of the tribes (Thuc. ii. 95-7). The Odrysae at least were free and powerful; cf. iv. 80.

Διονύσου: cf. v. 7 n.

τό, ‘the well-known’; cf. Eur. Hec. 1267 Θρῃξὶ μάντις εἶπε Διόνυσος τάδε”. The empire of Augustus over the world was foreshown by a portenthere, as had been that of Alexander (Suet. Aug. 94).

Βησσοί, or Βεσσοί, were, according to Strabo (318), a race of mountain robbers, stretching from Mount Rhodope to the Illyrian frontier. Livy (xxxix. 53) and Pliny (H. N. iv. 40) also regard them as a distinct race. They retained the custody of the oracle till it was transferred to the Odrysae by Crassus in 29 B.C. (Dio Cass. li. 25). Possibly (Macan) the name of the religious order (Bessi) superseded the tribal name, Satrae.

οἱ προφητεύοντες: that is the class from whom the προφήτης came. The προφήτης is the interpreter of the meaning of the god; if the oracle be given by dreams or signs, he explains their significance; if by speech, he puts together as an ordered whole the cries which the πρόμαντις lets fall in her state of ecstasy. He stands between the god and the people (cf. Pind. fr. 118 μαντεύεο Μοῖσα προφατεύσω δ᾽ ἐγώ), and is the president and manager of the temple. Cf. viii. 36 ad fin., 37, and for πρόμαντις ad init. vi. 66. 2; vii. 141. 2; i. 47 n. H. seems to use the two words indifferently in viii. 135. 2 and 3.

These priests living in retirement in caves seem to have received almost divine honours in Thrace, and to have had great political influence (Eur. Rhesus 970; Strabo 297; Dio Cassius, liv. 34; cf. iv. 96).

οὐδὲν ποικιλώτερον. The priestess gives answers just as at Delphi; there is nothing more extraordinary about it. Apparently there were exaggerated notions current in Greece about this oracle of Dionysus. H., jealous for the honour of Delphi (cf. i. 48), declares it is just an ordinary oracle, using the same means as Delphi, not dreams, omens or the lot.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Euripides, Hecuba, 1267
    • Euripides, Rhesus, 970
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 94
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.95.-7
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