Ancient World Now: Delphi and Thebes

Delphi-reconstructed
Listen to my podcast on Delphi: Episode #19: The Oracle at Delphi

CROSSROADS OF THEBES
On the way to Delphi today we stopped at the place where Oedipus and Laius met on the road.  photo(3)It was amazing to stand where such an important event in mythology occurred.

1Here is my Achilles helping me write a section of my book that never made it to print. It was about the oracle at Delphi . To honor my dear old friend today, I took one of his whiskers and left it at the Temple of Apollo. I picked the spot because there were a couple of kitties sunning themselves on the marble and I knew Achilles would have loved to join them there.

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 HELLO ROOM 5! This section is addressed to you!

The mountain in the photo is Mount Helikon and was where Pegasus lived for a long time. He struck his hoof on the ground there and a freshwater spring gushed from the earth!

DELPHI & THE CASTALIAN SPRING
Today I went up into the mountains and visited Delphi. This is where Zeus’s two eagles met and so it was said to be the center of the world. People in ancient times would visit this place to get their fortunes told. The lady sitting on the stool was a priestess of Apollo and would answer a question for a visitor. It was very religious to them and she was greatly respected. Famous leaders and warriors visited her. The photo to the left was where the priestesses and visitors would wash up before going into the sanctuary of Apollo. Fresh spring water comes down from the top of the mountains here and this was also where the Muses lived. The Muses are the goddesses who give people inspiration in music, literature, and all the arts. I drank water from the spring and washed my hands in it, hoping the Muses would help me be a better writer!

photofront1Food I Ate Today: Hand-picked wild mountain greens and Parnassian cheese

I Wonder: I wonder who feeds the kitties at these ancient ruins.

Ancient World Now:The Oracle at Delphi

Click here for direct link to audio Episode #19.

Click here for previous episodes.

The very mention sends classicists into ecstasy! Reverence. Devotion. And lots of fun! Travelling great distances—getting your fortune told—checking out the Pythia on her little stool—maybe enjoying the Delphic games—even taking a plunge in the Delphic swimming pool!

At the time of Pliny the Elder, there were as many as 3,000 statues on the grounds and scores of specially-built treasuries by individual city-states to hold the vast and assorted offerings (read:TREASURE!!!). But plunder over the centuries reduced Delphi to ruins. In fact, it was said that the mad Roman emperor Nero had 500 bronze statues carried off! Those Romans—you can dress them up, but you can’t take them out! The painting to the right is by the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Collier and depicts the Pythia, in her romanticized younger self. In reality, the Pythia was an older woman of wisdom especially chosen for having led a “blameless life”.

Special thanks to my friend Sydney, for letting me know that there is a beer called Pliny the Elder! Northern California’s Russian River Brewing Company brews it yearlong, while once a year, for a very limited time, they make Pliny the Younger available! The elder Pliny died in the fiery aftermath of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. His nephew, the younger Pliny, let us know all the details, as he was a writer. Cool stuff, too! Very readable.

Enjoy today’s episode on the oracle at Delphi!

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