Oracles were an important part of life in Greek cities of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Individuals, groups or communities went to locales such as Delphi, Didyma, and Claros to consult a god — in these cases the god Apollo — and to ask for guidance on various dilemnas or problems faced in their lives. The questions asked could range from what we would consider quite important political decisions (should be go to war with this or that power?) or important health concerns (how can we conceive?) to what we would consider more mundane matters. In reading Pierre Bonnechere’s chapter on “Divination” (A Componanion to Greek Religion, p. 157) today I came across this inscriptional gem in which a man consults Zeus and Zeus’ wife, Dione, about some missing bedding:
“Agis asks Zeus Naios and Dione about his blankets and pillows, whether he has lost them or whether someone else has stolen them” (SIG, 3rd edition 1163).
Sounds a bit like me consulting the local oracle on a wintery day: “Alright, who stole my gloves. Cheryl, have you seen my gloves?”