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[4]

Ephorus says that the Thracians, after making a treaty with the Boeotians, attacked them by night when they, thinking that peace had been made, were encamping rather carelessly; and when the Boeotians frustrated the Thracians, at the same time making the charge that they were breaking the treaty, the Thracians asserted that they had not broken it, for the treaty said "by day," whereas they had made the attack by night; whence arose the proverb, "Thracian pretense"; and the Pelasgians, when the war was still going on, went to consult the oracle, as did also the Boeotians. Now Ephorus is unable, he says, to tell the oracular response that was given to the Pelasgians, but the prophetess replied to the Boeotians that they would prosper if they committed sacrilege; and the messengers who were sent to consult the oracle, suspecting that the prophetess responded thus out of favor to the Pelasgians, because of her kinship with them (indeed, the temple also was from the beginning Pelasgian), seized the woman and threw her upon a burning pile, for they considered that, whether she had acted falsely or had not, they were right in either case, since, if she uttered a false oracle, she had her punishment, whereas, if she did not act falsely, they had only obeyed the order of the oracle. Now those in charge of the temple, he says, did not approve of putting to death without trial—and that too in the temple—the men who did this, and therefore they brought them to trial, and summoned them before the priestesses, who were also the prophetesses, being the two survivors of the three; but when the Boeotians said that it was nowhere lawful for women to act as judges, they chose an equal number of men in addition to the women. Now the men, he says, voted for acquittal, but the women for conviction, and since the votes cast were equal, those for acquittal prevailed; and in consequence of this prophecies are uttered at Dodona by men to Boeotians only; the prophetesses, however, explain the oracle to mean that the god ordered the Boeotians to steal the tripods1 and take one of them to Dodona every year; and they actually do this, for they always2 take down one of the dedicated tripods by night and cover it up with garments, and secretly, as it were, carry it to Dodona.

1 i.e., steal the dedicated tripods, thus committing sacrilege.

2 i.e., every year.

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load focus Greek (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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