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Monuments reported by ancient authors (2)

Ancient oracles

Oracle of Apollo

Oracle at Abae, in the N.E. of Phocis. This oracle is first mentioned in the 6th century B.C., when Croesus included it among the seven oracles which he tested as a preliminary to his intended inquiry concerning the expediency of making war on Cyrus. It was therefore an oracle of distinction, though it proved unequal to satisfying the test imposed by Croesus (Herod. i. 46, 47). It pretended to great antiquity. Shortly before the Persian wars it received from the Phocians a great number of shields and other booty won in battle from the Thessalians, an equal number being sent to Delphi. After the battle of Thermopylae, the Thessalians determined to take their revenge; they led a Persian army into Phocis, and destroyed among other places the temple of Abae (Herod. viii. 33). Pausanias (x. 35, § 2) tells us that the Greeks passed a resolution to leave in their ruins all temples that had been destroyed in this invasion, as a memorial of undying hatred. But this cannot have been carried out here: it must be inferred from Sophocles (Oed. Tyr. 899) that the temple of Abae was fully existent in the latter half of the 5th century B.C. Moreover, we find it predicting victory to the Thebans before the battle of Leuctra (Pausan. iv. 32, § 5): in spite of which, those same Thebans burnt it, and 500 Phocians in it, in the Sacred or Phocian War (B.C. 346). And though the town of Abae, at the end of that war, was exempted from the ruin that fell on the rest of Phocis (Pausan. x. 3, § 2), the temple and oracle were irretrievably gone. Centuries afterwards, Hadrian built a smaller temple close by, and the Romans, from a feeling of piety towards Apollo, allowed the people of Abae to govern themselves. (Pausan. x. 35, § 2.)

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Ancient walls

As the Phocians were engaged in building a fortress near the place named Abae, at which is a holy shrine of Apollo, the Boeotians took the field against them.


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