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Consulting the Oracle by John William Waterhouse, showing eight priestesses in a temple of prophecy

In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination.


  • The oracle-glass was maddeningly literal, capable of answering only the question one asked, rather than that which one wanted answered.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 572.
  • Ibis redibis non morieris in bello.
    • Thou shalt go thou shalt return never in battle shalt thou perish.
    • Utterance of the Oracle which through absence of punctuation and position of word "non" may be interpreted favorably or the reverse.
  • A Delphic sword.
    • Aristotle, Politica, I, 2 (referring to the ambiguous Delphic Oracles).
  • The oracles are dumb,
    No voice or hideous hum
    Runs thro' the arched roof in words deceiving.

See also

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