DVC 2432

Answer (?) to a Private Consultation concerning an Olive Tree, and Prescribing Rites

Description: Ex lamella 2430-2432: question anterior to 2430 (?) or answer anterior to 2430 (?)
Dialect: Doric
Alphabet: TBD

Date: TBD (early Hellenistic?)

Findspot: Oracular sanctuary of Zeus, 1931
Original location: Dodona
Last recorded location: Museum of Ioannina, M848

Edition: Liapis/DOL

Diplomatic Text



ἐξελεῖν τὰν ἀγριέλαιον, τῶ̣[ι]
δε ἥρωι λινὰς καθρὰς ὡραῖα ῥέ̣[ξαι]


1-2. τῶ̣[ι] | δὲ ἥρωι Liapis/DOL : τῶ[ι]δε ἥρωι DVC.

2. ΛΙΝΑΣ pot. qu. ΜΝΑΣ legendum || λινὰς καθρὰς Liapis/DOL: ἁ̣γ̣νᾶς καθρᾶς DVC || ὡραῖα ῥέ[ξαι] vel ῥε[ζεῖν] Liapis/DOL (vix possis etiam ὧραι ἀργ̣[(?)])


Réservez (ou : déracinez) l’olivier sauvage; et au héros, offrez de la fine farine pure en guise d’offrandes saisonnières.

Set apart (or: uproot) the wild olive-tree; and to the hero offer pure pounded flour by way of seasonal fruit-offerings.


1. According to DVC, ἐξελεῖν τὰν ἀγριέλαιον would mean “to cut” or “to uproot the wild olive-tree”. However, the vox propria would probably have to be, e.g., ἐκτέμνειν, ἐκκόπτειν or ἐξορύττειν (all three verbs used in Lysias’ Περὶ τοῦ σηκοῦ 7, with reference to the cutting or uprooting of olive trees), or even a nondescript ἀφανίζειν or κατάγειν; the verbs used in other lamellae for the “cutting” or “pruning” of trees are precisely ἐπικόπτω (1108A) and ἀνακόπτω (2951A). So we are inclined to think that ἐξελεῖν τὰν ἀγριέλαιον in 2432B means “to put aside”, “to reserve” the wild olive-tree, presumably as a prerogative of the hero mentioned in line 2 (ἐξαιρέω = “remove” seems at first sight to be supported by the lamella 80A). So we could reconstruct a possible scenario: the consultant had accidentally cut down or injured a wild olive-tree that was sacred to a hero, no doubt within his temenos. The offender then consulted the oracle regarding the expiation of this offence, and the oracle responds that the olive-tree in question should be “set aside” (ἐξελεῖν): it is to become untouchable as the exclusive property of the hērōs to whom the tree was presumably sacred. This probably means, in practice, that the wild olive stock is not (or no longer) to be used as a base on which to graft domesticated olives for propagation.

2. The noun ἀλινάς is unattested per se, but cf. ἀλεινόν (Hsch. α 2840 Latte) and ἀλινόν (Hsch. α 3023); cf. Soph. fr. 995 Radt (app. crit. and app. font.; also Pearson [1917] iii.132). The word is evidently related to ἀλέω (for the n-stem extension cf. ἄγω > ἀγινέω). For the plural ἀλιναί, cf. ἄλφιτα, ἀλέατα. || καθράς, cf. 2381A: οὐ καθρός; and 3920B: κοθρός (but the reading is uncertain). For καθαρός as applied to bread, flour, grains and the like see LSJ s.v. I.2 and Suppl. 1996: ‘free from bran’, ‘bolted’, no doubt with a further connotation of ritual purity. || For ῥέζειν in connection with bloodless offerings, cf. Il. 9.534-5; Herodas 4. 15-7. The verb is less common but nonetheless found in inscriptions: IK Sestos 11, l. 25 ῥεζ[έ]με[ν]; IG XII.1 677, l. 29 ἐπιρεζέτω (Rhodes, 3rd c. BC or earlier); IG XII.4 332 B 62 ἐπιρρεζέτω (mid-4th c. BC); IK Knidos I 606, l. 9 ῥέζειν (2nd/1st c. BC); IG IV 1607, l. 5 Ϝρέξαντα (Cleonae, Argolid). Cf. also occurrences of the cognate ἔρδω in, e.g., IG XII.6 577, ll. 7–8 ἔρδοντες (Samos, ca. 580–570 BC); IG XII.8 358, a1 (l. 2) προσέρδεν (Thasos, 490–480 BC); IG IX.1(2).3 706, l. 8 ἔρξαι (Oeanthea, Lokris, ca. 280 BC). || For the well-established practice of offering ὡραῖα to heroized dead cf., e.g., Thuc. 3.58.4 (to the dead of Marathon); also Pl. Criti. 116c, and IG II² 1358, col. II line 30 (to Hyttenios, hero of the Marathonian Tetrapolis, ca. 375-350 BC). For ὡραῖα as offerings to gods : e.g. Xen. An. 5.3.9; LSCG 134, 13-5 (Thera, 4th cent. BC).

For barley meal or pounded flour in the form of cakes (ψαιστά) as an offering to heroes see esp. Antiphanes, fr. 204. For ψαιστά as unmixed barley meal, see Theophr. ap. Porph. Abst. 2.15 (also Ar. Pl. 138, 1115; Com. Adesp. 820 K.–A.; Herod. 4.92; AP 6.190, 191; Syll.3 1038, 18 [Eleusis, ca 300 BC]). For offerings of plain flour (or coarse barley meal) in sacrificial ritual, cf. e.g. h.Ap. 491.

Bibliography: DVC 2432
Liapis V. 2015. “On the Oracular Lamella 2430-2432 from Dodona”, ZPE 195: 85-90
Text constituted from: DVC (facsimile; ***autopsy needed)