gtp logo

Location information

Listed 3 sub titles with search on: Monuments reported by ancient authors  for wider area of: "BENGHAZI Town LIBYA" .

Monuments reported by ancient authors (3)

Ancient oracles

Oracle of Zeus Ammon, in an oasis of Libya

KYRINI (Ancient city) LIBYA
Oracle of Zeus Ammon, in an oasis of Libya, in the north-west of Egypt. This oracle came immediately after Delphi and Dodona in importance and fame; and there is this point of great, interest about it, that it was in all probability founded by Egyptians, and then refined and humanised through the Greek inhabitants of Cyrene. Two distinct national cults united to produce it.
  Zeus, in this oracle, was represented as having a ram's head (krioprosotos, Herod. iv. 181, ii. 42). Such a representation cannot rationally be supposed to have had any origin but one; namely, in the Egyptian Thebes, where the chief god, Ammon (Amun), was also represented with a ram's head. The derivation of the oracle of Ammon from the Egyptian Thebes has already been spoken of in treating of Dodona; and though the story of captive Egyptian women, given by Herodotus, could not fairly be expected to have left any trace recognisable by modern research, the other parts of the account of Herodotus do receive confirmation from recent discoveries very remarkably. What Herodotus says (ii. 42) is, that the inhabitants of the oasis of Ammon were descended from a joint colony of Egyptians and Ethiopians, and he implies that the Egyptians were from Thebes, and gives a fanciful story why the Thebans and other Egyptians gave their chief god (whom he calls Zeus) a ram's head. Now, R. Lepsius (in the Zeitschrift fur aegyptischen Sprache und Alterthumskunde, 1877, pp. 8-23) has shown from the monuments that it was precisely under the Ethiopian dynasty that the god Ammon of Thebes (Amun) was first represented with a ram's head, he having been previously depicted with a human head surmounted by two large feathers; and that it was under a king of that dynasty, Teharqou (692-664 B.C.), that the oasis of Ammon was colonised and the oracle founded, a short time before the colonisation of Cyrene by the Greeks. This fixes the origin of the Ammonian oracle very precisely, and entirely in accordance with Herodotus.
T  he Cyreneans embraced the worship of Zeus Ammon with eagerness, and extended it among their kindred in Greece, the Spartans and Thebans (Pausan. iii. 18, § 2; ix. 16, § 1). Nevertheless, there was always some little hesitation among the Greeks in identifying this deity absolutely with their own Zeus. The ram's head [p. 286] naturally stood in the way; and hence sometimes only the ram's horns were attributed to him, the head and face being those of a man, and this would appear to have been the case in a statue of him at Megalopolis in Arcadia (agalma Ammonos, kerata epi tes kephales echon kriou, Pausan. viii. 32, § 1). We may hope, and perhaps believe, that it was so also in the statue of Ammon dedicated in a temple of the god at Thebes by the poet Pindar (Pausan. ix. 16, § 1). Pindar completely identifies Ammon with Zeus (Pyth. ix. 89), and, as we learn from the Scholiast on that passage, addressed to him a hymn, hailing him as master of Olympus ; which hymn was engraved on a pillar by Ptolemy the First, king of Egypt, and seen by Pausanias (l. c.). On the other hand, in Plato, Ammon is always Ammon, never Zeus. Few more quaint stories are preserved than the complaint of the Athenians to this oracle as to their own military failure in spite of their splendid sacrifices; while the Lacedaemonians, who troubled themselves little about those things, won their battles ([Plato], Alcib. ii. 148, 149). It is scarcely necessary to say that Alexander the Great identified Ammon with Zeus.
  We know but little of the methods of divination employed at this oracle; but from Diodorus (xvii. 50, 51) we gather that one was, to carry the statue, flashing with emeralds, in solemn procession, and judge by the changing appearances which it presented: 80 priests joined in this ceremonial. The spring of water in the oasis must have furnished another means; for when the oracle had fallen into decay, the priests provided themselves with a supply of water from it, which they carried about and sold as possessing qualities of divination (Juv. vi. 553-555). The oracle had been nearly deserted long before Juvenal's time (cf. Strabo, xvii. p. 814).

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

Perseus Building Catalog

Delphi, Treasury of the Cyreneans (XIII)

Site: Delphi
Type: Treasury
Summary: Temple-like building; on the eastern side of the Sanctuary of Apollo, south of the Prytaneion.
Date: ca. 350 B.C.
Period: Late Classical

Small Doric building with cella opening southeast onto a pronaos, distyle in antis. The antae had engaged columns.

Dinsmoor states that this treasury had an unusual combination of Doric and Ionic moldings.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 2 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Olympia, Treasury of the Cyrenians (6 or 7)

Site: Olympia
Type: Treasury
Summary: Small temple-like building; on the north side of the Sanctuary of Zeus (Altis), the 6th or 7th treasury from the west on the Treasury Terrace.
Date: ca. 550 B.C. - 525 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Cella opening south onto Doric columned pronaos distyle in antis.

The identification of this building, based on the description of Pausanias, is uncertain, and the next building to the east, always referred to as the Unnamed Treasury (7), may have been the Treasury of the Cyrenians.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 2 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

GTP Headlines

Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.

Subscribe now!
Greek Travel Pages: A bible for Tourism professionals. Buy online

Ferry Departures