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The Role of the Oracles Conflict has been a part of life since humans first came into existence. It follows, then, that the key to understanding much of human history—as Herodotus explains in his opening to The Histories —is to recognize “why two peoples [fight] each other” (Herodotus 3). One central aspect to the quarrels of ancient history is that the combatants were often told the outcome of their battles. The Oracles at Delphi—priestesses who summoned the power of the great god Apollo—would prognosticate the future of those who came from all over the world to seek their prophecy. It is troublesome to think, then, that anyone would wage war—seeing as how the loser-to-be could already know of his imminent defeat. However, as seen with Croesus, the clairvoyant women at Delphi would tell ambiguous fortunes. Herodotus writes that an oracle “declared that if [Croesus] attacked the Persians he would bring down a mighty empire.
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Unformatted text preview: After an answer like that, the wise thing would have been to send again to inquire which empire was meant, Cyrus or his own (Herodotus 43). Nevertheless, the foolish King of Lydia proceeded to invade great Persia, and the mighty empire that fell was his own. Such an example leads one to consider the absurdity of war and human conflict. Even when both parties know the outcome of their foolish and violent endeavors, they fight. These blunders in judgment are the points history attempts to make; through the mistakes of others are supposed to learn. And yet war is waged even today. I guess the leaders of our world today didnt read The Histories ; for them, apparently, human achievements [and human mistakes have] been forgotten in time (Herodotus 3). Works Cited Herodotus. The Histories . Trans. Aubrey de Slincourt. New York: Penguin Books, 1954....
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course GENS 145 taught by Professor Bormann during the Fall '07 term at Whitman.

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