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Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind – Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind: Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth

Yulia Ustinova


In ancient Greece, a common method of search for divine wisdom was to descend into caves or underground chambers. Entering caves persistently appears as a major requirement for prophecy-giving, both in established cults and in the activities of individual seers. Underground sojourns recur in the activities of several early Greek sages and philosophers. Mystery initiations comprise rites located in caves or dark chambers. The sages, seers, and initiates shared a quest for hidden truth, which they attained as revelation or vision. Exploring the reasons for the predilection for caves in the searc ... More

Keywords: caves, altered states of consciousness, sensory deprivation, revelation, prophecy, seer, sage, philosopher, mystery initiations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199548569
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548569.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Yulia Ustinova, author
Senior Lecturer, Department of General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Author Webpage