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The enigma of the oracle

The enigma of the oracle

The implicit faith that the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians deposited in the oracles of their gods can be seen when we warn that from the declaration of a war to the sale of a cow, no transaction was carried out without the advice and approval of the oracles Jupiter's famous painting in Dodona shows two peasants consulting the oracle about some minor matter and they are ordered to look in a mirror.

To illustrate the overwhelming importance and dignity or rather the mystery surrounding the most insignificant things, the drawing shows two poor peasants who want to know if the great Jupiter will be favorable to the purchase of a lamb and a goat.

"They will reproduce," said the oracle, "until the sheep multiplied by the goats give a product that reflected in the sacred mirror shows the number of the whole flock!"

There is a certain ambiguity and a certain mystery in the words of the oracle. Despite this we present the problem to the consideration of our readers.

How many sheep and goats does the flock have?

Solution

It can be said that many peasants, like our readers, experimented for a while in front of a mirror before discovering that The answer to the riddle is 9 sheep and 9 goats. The product, 81, is transformed into the mirror in 18 which is the total number of animals in the herd.