Scene 1: Welcome
Welcome to the sanctuary of Zeus of Dodona. Here, you are safe: the god will give you guidance.
If you have an offering for the god, take it to the priests’ house there. They will give you a tablet of lead for your question.
It is late now, but tomorrow there will be scribes here to help you. Once you have written your question then join the others along this sacred path. See, it leads to Zeus’s Oak.
If you’ve nothing for the god, or if you need food or shelter, the market is through the trees and there’s an area for camping. You can take your time, pilgrim—Zeus, his tree, and his doves have been here forever; they will outlast us all.
(More quietly) Do not fear any more: wherever you have come from, whatever you are running from. Many of us who now serve Zeus were once enslaved.
Let me help you. I have a tablet with just the question for you already written. I used it once myself. See it says ‘About Freedom’
I will take your tablet up to the priestess. It is late, but I am sure she will help you. I’ll come and find you when she is ready to give her oracle. You go that way to the marketplace and then the campsite.
Scene 2: Murder and Magic
Have you just arrived? You look troubled; I can help you! I can protect you from your enemies and make them fear you! My fees are very reasonable; my services are outstanding; my customers always satisfied. Curse tablets and binding spells; amulets and initiations…
(Dorios’ voice fades out, as the Brothers’ voices get louder and more heated.)
We shouldn’t have come!
What else are we going to do?! If you think she is plotting against your family, then we need the best advice we can get. And we couldn’t go locally—what if someone found out? How would we face our fellow-Spartans: we’d be the laughing-stock of the mess?!
I tell you I know it’s him: it’s Lyson—he made her do it. He paid her to do it! She must have used some kind of poison or potion—or some kind of spell to bind them… I’ve never seen my wife and children so ill!
You can’t be sure—you must check this with the god!
(They see the pilgrim and turn their back on him…)
(Moving towards them): I couldn’t help but notice… You both look very troubled; I can help you! I can protect you from your enemies and make them fear you!... (Voice fades out) My fees are very reasonable; my services are outstanding; my customers always satisfied. Curse tablets and binding spells; amulets and initiations…
Scene 3: Traders in Trouble
Another part of the campsite.
…People do it all the time—first they visit one oracle, then they visit another. I don’t think you should worry about it. The gods don’t mind.
I just need to find out what I should do with the ship. Apollo’s oracle was very clear about building it—but it didn’t say what comes next. I just need to ask Zeus if I’ll be safe and whether the ship is safe, if I pay those debts.
I’ve always received very good advice here: this time it has been the same. I have a very detailed, very helpful response. Really: I think you can bring your questions now to Zeus.
(We hear the sound of the aulos.)
Timodamos and Archephon
(Both mutter) Zeus of Dodona, great in strength, accept this sacrifice.
(Sees the pilgrim) Must be your first time here. Yes—that is the sound of the sacrificial procession on the Acropolis. They make their sacrifices there because it is closer to Zeus.
Are you lost? And what a time to arrive! You must be looking for the campsite—it’s over there…
(Xanthias appears by the pilgrim.)
I came to find you, pilgrim. Your question is delivered to the Doves, and they are ready for you. Let’s go to the tree.
Scene 4: The Ritual
By the Sacred Oak.
Welcome pilgrims. Pilgrim—we know why you are here. You have come to ask about freedom.
We offer a libation.
(The priestess pours a libation from a small vessel on to a phiale (flat dish) and then pours it on the ground.)
Zeus of Dodona, great in strength, accept this sacrifice.
(Silence…. The sound of Tibetan bowls begins to ring out. Priestess 2 comes down from the tree. Sound of Tibetan bowls rises to a crescendo. A moment of silence. Then, the wind rustles tree/doves fly up from tree. We hear the sound of the aulos (as from the sacrifice earlier.)
Zeus of Dodona, great in strength.
(Approaches the pilgrim): Pilgrim, the answer is … Stay.