Delphi Greece Oracle




Oracle at Delphi Greece

Delphi Greece Oracle

Delphi Greece and the Oracle

People came from all over  Classical Greece to consult the Oracle at Delphi before any major decision or event. People still come to Delphi to see what is still there and stir some of those same feelings.

The Temple of Apollo was impressive in itself, having six columns across the front and fifteen columns down its long side. But the main attraction was the Oracle within the sanctuary of the temple. A local woman of good character was chosen to serve as the priestess, and was given the title of Pythia. She would then sit in a tripod chair over a crack in the earth and -- perhaps influenced by gases coming out of that fissure -- would go into a trance and make pronouncements that were said to be directly from Apollo. The things she said were unintelligible to most people, so her male priests would translate what she said into coherent answers and prophecies.

This painting of the Delphi Oracle on her tripod chair was made in 440-430 BC and was found on a drinking cup.

The city of Athens was well represented in the Delphi sanctuary. When the monumental Temple of Apollo burned down it was completely rebuilt about 510 BC by the Alcmonidae family of Athens. This is the same family into which Pericles was born fifteen years later.

The Athenian Treasury building was donated by that city in thanks for their famous victory at Marathon in. It was called a treasury because one tenth of the treasure won at Marathon was said to have been used to build and fill the beautiful structure with gifts for Apollo.

Delphi Athens Treasury

Athens Treasury at Delphi

Then the Athenian Stoa was built by that city in thanks for their great naval victory over the Persians in 479 BC.

For additional reading:

Andronicos, Manolis  Delphi: Archaeological Guides  (trans. Brian de Jongh)  Athens: Ekdotike Athenon, 1995.

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This page updated on August 26, 2020.

Delphi Greece Oracle

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Delphi Greece Oracle

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