The lead tablets of the Dodona Oracle added to UNESCO "Memory of the World" Register

lead tablets of dodona oracle

A list of the 64 new items of documentary heritage has been inscribed on the Memory of the World International Register in 2023, including the lead tablets of the Dodona Oracle.

The lead tablets of Dodona are a unicum in the ancient Greek world dating from the 6th century BC to the mid-2nd century BC.

They are small pieces of lead strips (measuring not more than ca. 13,20 cm long and 6,70 cm wide), on which questions were inscribed, addressed either to Zeus or to him and Dione, his cult partner at Dodona.

More than 4,000 lead tablets have been discovered scattered within the temenos of Dodona. The lead tablets give us direct and unbiased access to the concerns of enquirers: marriage, divorce, birth and survival of children, travel, professional plans, health and healing, military service, purchase of slaves, and manumission.

The tablets attest to different dialects and handwritings, given the multitude of people that visited the oracle over the centuries.

Due to the typological variety of the questions and the very diverse origins of the inquirers, the tablets are a set of finds that not only allows a unique insight into the cult practice of the Oracle but also offers instructive information about socio-historical and political contexts and backgrounds, as well as epigraphy and dialectology.

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