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oracle  (OHR-a-kul)

The answer given by a god to a question asked by a mortal supplicant. Or the human agent conveying the divine response. Or the place where the answer was given.

Oracles were often hard to understand. King Croesus of Lydia was so wealthy that his name gave rise to the expression, "as rich as Croesus". He consulted the famous Oracle of Delphi before he rebelled against the Persian empire. Croesus was told that if he proceeded, a mighty empire would fall. Croesus took this as an endorsement of his plan, and the oracle came true. Unfortunately the empire that fell was his own.


A suppliant approaches the Oracle of Delphi. (zoom)