The Oracle of Delphi
Plain of Amphissa (AKA The Sea of Olives), Delphi
© 1999 Dr.
Delos is important
because this is Apollo’s birthplace and it became one of
the most important sanctuaries to him.
But, the oracle stands at Delphi because this is where he defeated the
Served as a place for men to come for 2000+ years to have their questions
answered by Apollo’s priestess Pythia 1600BCE until 385CE.
Pythia believed she was receiving the knowledge she was giving from Apollo.
The Oracle was actually a rock chamber where Pythia was guarded by snakes,
which protected her from any false ideas that may have been brought into
How to Access the Oracle
Questions were written on lead tablets and were given to Pythia.
After priestess had her ritual purification in the
followed by drinking waters of Kassotis and chewing the laurel leaf, she
would take her seat on the tripod and start to answer the question.
Question would be answered by Pythia,
but the response
would be incoherent.
Responses would be translated into hexameter (6 verse) poetry by poet, but
the ambiguity of the response often left the questioner feeling more
confused than when he first came
What the Oracle told
gave answers to everything from war to smaller matters, such as personal
illness. This is part of the nature of the Oracle
2 popular stories
Very rarely were answers given in direct form, many times they were given
Change from a personal institution to a political institution.
Oracle was founded.
But people were still investing as individuals.
Cities, while starting to develop were not making large scale
investments in community life yet.
Oracle stayed as personal institution.
cities were starting to belong to the communities.
more investments in building the cities and creating city centers.
community starts to become more important.
personal investments start to become institutionalized, leading to
change in control over the monuments.
question of who is competing for the common good, who really wants the
Fumes may have been created by earthquakes which could have led the
priestesses to have some of these supposed visions.
These fumes could put people into a dream-like state without them actually
This could explain how she made the prophecies (and possibly why her
language was so garbled when she explained things).