A Travellerspoint blog

Consulting the Oracle of Delphi

sunny 20 °C

Imagine that the sun is just rising on a warm autumnal day 2,604 years ago and come with us to visit the Oracle of Delphi to discover what the future may hold for us and all mankind. First, we must climb the slopes of the rugged mountain of Parnassus until we can survey the Sea of Corinth and the land of Sparta that lies beyond. And then, above us, soaring high into the clear azure, we glimpse the columns of the Temple of Apollo – the home of the Oracle...
large_70851460-e697-11e8-ad8e-53be81efe117.JPG
But first we must stop and pay homage at the centre of the earth. According to mythology, in order to locate the centre of the world, Zeus sent two eagles from the two ends of the world and their paths crossed above Mount Parnassus. He then threw a stone from the sky and it fell here on the slopes of Delphi. where a sacred city was built...
large_719c77d0-e697-11e8-ad8e-53be81efe117.JPG
Temples, sacred buildings, treasuries, shops and a theatre were carved out of the rocky mountainside and the sacred stone, known as the Omphalos, was placed atop an enormous column and held aloft by goddesses dancing on acanthus leaves. Will the intricate carvings on the columns and marble capitals survive the weather for nearly three thousand years?...
711d5cc0-e697-11e8-9463-0f6bede4945f.JPG
The Oracle, also known as the Pythia, the High Priestess of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, is a soothsayer who, for a few drachmas or a small piece of gold, with tell us our fortune and will give us guidance. It seems that the larger the donation the more favourable the prognosis may be. In order to ensure that the donations are properly collected, secured and given to the 'right' people, the Athenians built this treasury in the form of a Doric Temple on the main approach road in 490BC...
large_Treasury.JPG
And then we come to the Temple of Apollo where the Oracle, the High Priestess, is awaiting us...
large_Temple.JPG
Many of the 'right' people have paid extra to ensure good fortune, and to make sure that everyone knows of their generosity to the Oracle they have their likenesses carved in stone and set on plinths leading to the temple...
702f2c30-e697-11e8-9463-0f6bede4945f.JPG
This bronze statue of a charioteer was cast in 475BC and only lost his horse and his left arm in the earthquake in 373..
large_Charioteer.JPG
We decided that the 6 euro entrance fee was sufficient to bring us good fortune - and it worked. We went at eight in the morning and for more than an hour were free to wander the entire site absolutely alone...it was a truly magical and unforgettable time. We stood at the Temple of Apollo in the stillness of the morning watching the golden sun rising over the mountains and teleported ourselves back more than two and half thousand years when these prayers were carved on the temple walls...
Prayers.JPG
Delphi is not just the centre of the world, it is also the place which hosts the Delphic form of Olympic Games – The Pythian Games. Athletes from all over the Greek world have come here to the Gymnasium and Stadium of Delphi to take part in various games and trials of strength since 582BC. However, the Ancient Greeks are very civilized and all manner of artistry is performed to enthralled audiences; musicians, choirs and actors all compete for wreaths of laurel leaves at the theatre which stands above the temple...
large_Theatre.JPG
Note... rumour has it that this Ancient Grecian theatre will actually become a Roman theatre one day to celebrate the visit of Emperor Nero – only the Oracle knows that for certain.
Anyway, back to today, the 5th of Maimakterion in the Attic calendar, and the Oracle has prophesied distant travels in our immediate future, (but Sheila thinks that the old fraud spotted our Alitalia boarding passes for our flight to London on Wednesday or maybe she has read our blog).

Posted by Hawkson 08:26 Archived in Greece

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Wonderful pictures and weren't you lucky with the beautiful sunshine and peace from the tourists. It was lovely for me to see, in particular as my mother's ashes are scattered there. Not sure which tree but she loved mythology so much and wanted her ashes here with the Oracle

by Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas

I hope you got a ride most of the way up. It looks a long ways.
Amused at the 5789 in last picture unless it's put there by your camera. Definitely not Greek.
May the sunny skies follow you to England.

by R and B

How interesting this vanished world is. Such a mix of sophistication and superstition, and even those are masterpieces. Happy travels to the UK.

by Tom

From here, that is from modern Canberra where the past goes back only to the beginning of the 20th C., I can imagine how moving it would be to visit Delphi, and do so in the morning light of a cloudless day and with the place to yourselves. Easier in those conditions to let the imagination run riot than if the spot were overrun with selfie takers!

by Shelley Tillemans

Past and yesterday, all history. Such beautiful photos. A loss of an arm and horse to carry you into the other world....... Thank you for this lovely journey. Don't forget to go to Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurant while in London.

by Sue Fitzwilson

So did anyone or anything whisper the future to you? Have you come back down with insight or an epiphany? Are we currently in a global Roman theatre?

by Janet

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint