Delphi | Wikipedia audio article


Delphi (; Greek: Δελφοί [ðelˈfi]),
formerly also called Pytho (Πυθώ), is the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the
seat of Pythia, the oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient
classical world. The ancient Greeks considered the centre of
the world to be in Delphi, marked by the stone monument known as the omphalos (navel). It occupies an impressive site on the south-western
slope of Mount Parnassus, overlooking the coastal plain to the south and the valley
of Phocis. It is now an extensive archaeological site
with a small modern town of the same name nearby. It is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage
Site in having had a phenomenal influence in the ancient world, as evidenced by the
rich monuments built there by most of the important ancient Greek city-states, demonstrating
their fundamental Hellenic unity.==Origins and location==Delphi is located in upper central Greece,
on multiple plateaux along the slope of Mount Parnassus, and includes the Sanctuary of Apollo
(the god of light, knowledge and harmony), the site of the ancient Oracle. This semicircular spur is known as Phaedriades,
and overlooks the Pleistos Valley. In myths dating to the classical period of
Ancient Greece (510–323 BC), Zeus determined the site of Delphi when he sought to find
the centre of his “Grandmother Earth” (Gaia). He sent two eagles flying from the eastern
and western extremities, and the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the omphalos,
or navel of Gaia was found.Earlier myths include traditions that Pythia, or the Delphic oracle,
already was the site of an important oracle in the pre-classical Greek world (as early
as 1400 BC) and, rededicated from about 800 BC, when it served as the major site during
classical times for the worship of the god Apollo. Apollo was said to have slain Python, a “drako”
a serpent or a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth. “Python” (derived from the verb πύθω (pythō),
“to rot”) is claimed by some to be the original name of the site in recognition of Python
which Apollo defeated. The Homeric Hymn to Delphic Apollo recalled
that the ancient name of this site had been Krisa. Others relate that it was named Pytho (Πυθώ)
and that Pythia, the priestess serving as the oracle, was chosen from their ranks by
a group of priestesses who officiated at the temple. Excavation at Delphi, which was a post-Mycenaean
settlement of the late 9th century, has uncovered artifacts increasing steadily in volume beginning
with the last quarter of the 8th century BC. Pottery and bronze as well as tripod dedications
continue in a steady stream, in contrast to Olympia. Neither the range of objects nor the presence
of prestigious dedications proves that Delphi was a focus of attention for a wide range
of worshippers, but the large quantity of valuable goods, found in no other mainland
sanctuary, encourages that view. Apollo’s sacred precinct in Delphi was a panhellenic
sanctuary, where every four years, starting in 586 BC athletes from all over the Greek
world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the four Panhellenic Games, precursors of
the Modern Olympics. The victors at Delphi were presented with
a laurel crown (stephanos) which was ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy who re-enacted the
slaying of the Python. (These competitions are also called stephantic
games, after the crown.) Delphi was set apart from the other games
sites because it hosted the mousikos agon, musical competitions.These Pythian Games rank
second among the four stephanitic games chronologically and in importance. These games, though, were different from the
games at Olympia in that they were not of such vast importance to the city of Delphi
as the games at Olympia were to the area surrounding Olympia. Delphi would have been a renowned city whether
or not it hosted these games; it had other attractions that led to it being labeled the
“omphalos” (navel) of the earth, in other words, the centre of the world.In the inner
hestia (hearth) of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea, the Greek cities
extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth of Greece, at Delphi; in the
foundation stories of several Greek colonies, the founding colonists were first dedicated
at Delphi.==Religious significance==The name Delphi comes from the same root as
δελφύς delphys, “womb” and may indicate archaic veneration of Gaia at the site. Apollo is connected with the site by his epithet
Δελφίνιος Delphinios, “the Delphinian”. The epithet is connected with dolphins (Greek
δελφίς,-ῖνος) in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (line 400), recounting the legend
of how Apollo first came to Delphi in the shape of a dolphin, carrying Cretan priests
on his back. The Homeric name of the oracle is Pytho (Πυθώ). Another legend held that Apollo walked to
Delphi from the north and stopped at Tempe, a city in Thessaly, to pick laurel (also known
as bay tree) which he considered to be a sacred plant. In commemoration of this legend, the winners
at the Pythian Games received a wreath of laurel picked in the temple. Delphi became the site of a major temple to
Phoebus Apollo, as well as the Pythian Games and the prehistoric oracle. Even in Roman times, hundreds of votive statues
remained, described by Pliny the Younger and seen by Pausanias. Carved into the temple were three phrases:
γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón=”know thyself”) and μηδὲν ἄγαν
(mēdén ágan=”nothing in excess”), and Ἑγγύα πάρα δ’ἄτη (engýa pára
d’atē=”make a pledge and mischief is nigh”), In antiquity, the origin of these phrases
was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece by authors such as Plato and
Pausanias. Additionally, according to Plutarch’s essay
on the meaning of the “E at Delphi”—the only literary source for the inscription—there
was also inscribed at the temple a large letter E. Among other things epsilon signifies the
number 5. However, ancient as well as modern scholars
have doubted the legitimacy of such inscriptions. According to one pair of scholars, “The actual
authorship of the three maxims set up on the Delphian temple may be left uncertain. Most likely they were popular proverbs, which
tended later to be attributed to particular sages.”According to the Homeric hymn to the
Pythian Apollo, Apollo shot his first arrow as an infant which effectively slew the serpent
Pytho, the son of Gaia, who guarded the spot. To atone the murder of Gaia’s son, Apollo
was forced to fly and spend eight years in menial service before he could return forgiven. A festival, the Septeria, was held every year,
at which the whole story was represented: the slaying of the serpent, and the flight,
atonement, and return of the god.The Pythian Games took place every four years to commemorate
Apollo’s victory. Another regular Delphi festival was the “Theophania”
(Θεοφάνεια), an annual festival in spring celebrating the return of Apollo from
his winter quarters in Hyperborea. The culmination of the festival was a display
of an image of the gods, usually hidden in the sanctuary, to worshippers.The theoxenia
was held each summer, centred on a feast for “gods and ambassadors from other states.” Myths indicate that Apollo killed the chthonic
serpent Python, Pythia in older myths, but according to some later accounts his wife,
Pythia, who lived beside the Castalian Spring. Some sources say it is because Python had
attempted to rape Leto while she was pregnant with Apollo and Artemis. This spring flowed toward the temple but disappeared
beneath, creating a cleft which emitted chemical vapors that purportedly caused the oracle
at Delphi to reveal her prophecies. Apollo killed Python but had to be punished
for it, since he was a child of Gaia. The shrine dedicated to Apollo was originally
dedicated to Gaia and shared with Poseidon. The name Pythia remained as the title of the
Delphic oracle. Erwin Rohde wrote that the Python was an earth
spirit, who was conquered by Apollo, and buried under the omphalos, and that it is a case
of one deity setting up a temple on the grave of another. Another view holds that Apollo was a fairly
recent addition to the Greek pantheon coming originally from Lydia. The Etruscans coming from northern Anatolia
also worshipped Apollo, and it may be that he was originally identical with Mesopotamian
Aplu, an Akkadian title meaning “son”, originally given to the plague God Nergal, son of Enlil. Apollo Smintheus (Greek Απόλλων Σμινθεύς),
the mouse killer eliminates mice, a primary cause of disease, hence he promotes preventive
medicine.==Oracle of Delphi==Delphi is perhaps best known for its oracle,
the Pythia, the sibyl or priestess at the sanctuary dedicated to Apollo. According to Aeschylus in the prologue of
the Eumenides, the oracle had origins in prehistoric times and the worship of Gaea, a view echoed
by H.W. Parke.One tale of the sanctuary’s discovery
states that a goatherd, who grazed his flocks on Parnassus, one day observed his goats playing
with great agility upon nearing a chasm in the rock; the goatherd noticing this held
his head over the chasm causing the fumes to go to his brain; throwing him into a strange
trance.Apollo spoke through his oracle. She had to be an older woman of blameless
life chosen from among the peasants of the area. Alone in an enclosed inner sanctum (Ancient
Greek adyton – “do not enter”) she sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth
(the “chasm”). According to legend, when Apollo slew Python
its body fell into this fissure and fumes arose from its decomposing body. Intoxicated by the vapours, the sibyl would
fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. In this state she prophesied. The oracle could not be consulted during the
winter months, for this was traditionally the time when Apollo would live among the
Hyperboreans. Dionysus would inhabit the temple during his
absence.The time to consult pythia for an oracle during the year is determined from
astronomical and geological grounds related to the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus but
the hydrocarbon vapours emitted from the chasm. Similar practice was followed in other Apollo
oracles too.While in a trance the Pythia “raved” – probably a form of ecstatic speech – and
her ravings were “translated” by the priests of the temple into elegant hexameters. It has been speculated that the ancient writers,
including Plutarch who had worked as a priest at Delphi, were correct in attributing the
oracular effects to the sweet-smelling pneuma (Ancient Greek for breath, wind or vapour)
escaping from the chasm in the rock. That exhalation could have been high in the
known anaesthetic and sweet-smelling ethylene or other hydrocarbons such as ethane known
to produce violent trances. Though this theory remains debatable the authors
put up a detailed answer to their critics.Ancient sources describe the priestess using “laurel”
to inspire her prophecies. Several alternative plant candidates have
been suggested including Cannabis, Hyoscyamus, Rhododendron and Oleander. Harissis claims that a review of contemporary
toxicological literature indicates that oleander causes symptoms similar to those shown by
the Pythia, and his study of ancient texts shows that oleander was often included under
the term “laurel”. The Pythia may have chewed oleander leaves
and inhaled their smoke prior to her oracular pronouncements and sometimes dying from the
toxicity. The toxic substances of oleander resulted
in symptoms similar to those of epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” which may have been
seen as the possession of the Pythia by the spirit of Apollo. The Delphic oracle exerted considerable influence
throughout the Greek world, and she was consulted before all major undertakings including wars
and the founding of colonies. She also was respected by the Greek-influenced
countries around the periphery of the Greek world, such as Lydia, Caria, and even Egypt. The oracle was also known to the early Romans. Rome’s seventh and last king, Lucius Tarquinius
Superbus, after witnessing a snake near his palace, sent a delegation including two of
his sons to consult the oracle.In 83 BCE a Thracian tribe raided Delphi, burned the temple,
plundered the sanctuary and stole the “unquenchable fire” from the altar. During the raid, part of the temple roof collapsed. The same year, the temple was severely damaged
by an earthquake, thus it fell into decay and the surrounding area became impoverished. The sparse local population led to difficulties
in filling the posts required. The oracle’s credibility waned due to doubtful
predictions.The oracle flourished again in the second century CE during the rule of emperor
Hadrian, who is believed to have visited the oracle twice and offered complete autonomy
to the city. By the 4th century, Delphi had acquired the
status of a city. Constantine the Great looted several monuments,
most notably the Tripod of Plataea, which he used to decorate his new capital, Constantinople.Despite
the rise of Christianity across the Roman Empire, the oracle remained a religious centre
throughout the 4th century, and the Pythian Games continued to be held at least until
424 CE; however, the decline continued. The attempt of Emperor Julian to revive polytheism
did not survive his reign. Excavations have revealed a large three-aisled
basilica in the city, as well as traces of a church building in the sanctuary’s gymnasium. The site was abandoned in the 6th or 7th centuries,
although a single bishop of Delphi is attested in an episcopal list of the late 8th and early
9th centuries.==History=====
Ancient Delphi===Delphi was since ancient times a place of
worship for Gaia, the mother goddess connected with fertility. The town started to gain pan-Hellenic relevance
as both a shrine and an oracle in the 7th century BC. Initially under the control of Phocaean settlers
based in nearby Kirra (currently Itea), Delphi was reclaimed by the Athenians during the
First Sacred War (597–585 BC). The conflict resulted in the consolidation
of the Amphictyonic League, which had both a military and a religious function revolving
around the protection of the Temple of Apollo. This shrine was destroyed by fire in 548 BC
and then fell under the control of the Alcmaeonids banned from Athens. In 449–448 BC, the Second Sacred War (fought
in the wider context of the First Peloponnesian War between the Peloponnesian League led by
Sparta and the Delian-Attic League led by Athens) resulted in the Phocians gaining control
of Delphi and the management of the Pythian Games. In 356 BC the Phocians under Philomelos captured
and sacked Delphi, leading to the Third Sacred War (356–346 BC), which ended with the defeat
of the former and the rise of Macedon under the reign of Philip II. This led to the Fourth Sacred War (339 BC),
which culminated in the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC) and the establishment of Macedonian
rule over Greece. In Delphi, Macedonian rule was superseded
by the Aetolians in 279 BC, when a Gallic invasion was repelled, and by the Romans in
191 BC. The site was sacked by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
in 86 BC, during the Mithridatic Wars, and by Nero in 66 AD. Although subsequent Roman emperors of the
Flavian dynasty contributed towards to the restoration of the site, it gradually lost
importance. In the course of the 3rd century mystery cults
became more popular than the traditional Greek pantheon. Christianity, which started as yet one more
mystery cult, soon gained ground, and this eventually resulted in the persecution of
pagans in the late Roman Empire. The anti-pagan legislation of the Flavian
dynasty deprived ancient sanctuaries of their assets. The emperor Julian attempted to reverse this
religious climate, yet his “pagan revival” was particularly short-lived. When the doctor Oreibasius visited the oracle
of Delphi, in order to question the fate of paganism,he received a pessimistic answer: [Tell the king that the flute has fallen to
the ground. Phoebus does not have a home any more, neither
an oracular laurel, nor a speaking fountain, because the talking water has dried out.] It was shut down during the persecution of
pagans in the late Roman Empire by Theodosius I in 381 AD.===Abandonment and rediscovery===The Ottomans finalized their domination over
Phocis and Delphi in about 1410CE. Delphi itself remained almost uninhabited
for centuries. It seems that one of the first buildings of
the early modern era was the monastery of the Dormition of Mary or of Panagia (the Mother
of God) built above the ancient gymnasium at Delphi. It must have been towards the end of the 15th
or in the 16th century that a settlement started forming there, which eventually ended up forming
the village of Kastri. Ottoman Delphi gradually began to be investigated. The first Westerner to describe the remains
in Delphi was Ciriaco de’ Pizzicolli (Cyriacus of Ancona), a 15th-century merchant turned
diplomat and antiquarian. He visited Delphi in March 1436 and remained
there for six days. He recorded all the visible archaeological
remains based on Pausanias for identification. He described the stadium and the theatre at
that date as well as some free standing pieces of sculpture. He also recorded several inscriptions, most
of which are now lost. His identifications however were not always
correct: for example he described a round building he saw as the temple of Apollo while
this was simply the base of the Argives’ ex-voto. A severe earthquake in 1500 caused much damage. In 1766 an English expedition funded by the
Society of Dilettanti included the Oxford epigraphist Richard Chandler, the architect
Nicholas Revett, and the painter William Pars. Their studies were published in 1769 under
the title Ionian Antiquities, followed by a collection of inscriptions, and two travel
books, one about Asia Minor (1775), and one about Greece (1776). Apart from the antiquities, they also related
some vivid descriptions of daily life in Kastri, such as the crude behaviour of the Turco-Albanians
who guarded the mountain passes. In 1805 Edward Dodwell visited Delphi, accompanied
by the painter Simone Pomardi. Lord Byron visited in 1809, accompanied by
his friend John Cam Hobhouse: Yet there I’ve wandered by the vaulted rill;
Yes! Sighed o’er Delphi’s long deserted shrine,
where, save that feeble fountain, all is still. He carved his name on the same column in the
gymnasium as Lord Aberdeen, later Prime Minister, who had visited a few years before. Proper excavation did not start until the
late 19th century (see “Excavations” section) after the village had moved.==Buildings and structures==Occupation of the site at Delphi can be traced
back to the Neolithic period with extensive occupation and use beginning in the Mycenaean
period (1600–1100 BC). Most of the ruins that survive today date
from the most intense period of activity at the site in the 6th century BC.===Temple of Apollo===The ruins of the Temple of Delphi visible
today date from the 4th century BC, and are of a peripteral Doric building. It was erected by Spintharus, Xenodoros, and
Agathon on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century BC which itself was
erected on the site of a 7th-century BC construction attributed to the architects Trophonios and
Agamedes.===Amphictyonic Council===
The Amphictyonic Council was a council of representatives from six Greek tribes that
controlled Delphi and also the quadrennial Pythian Games. They met biannually and came from Thessaly
and central Greece. Over time, the town of Delphi gained more
control of itself and the council lost much of its influence.===Treasuries===From the entrance of the site, continuing
up the slope almost to the temple itself, are a large number of votive statues, and
numerous so-called treasuries. These were built by many of the Greek city
states to commemorate victories and to thank the oracle for her advice which was thought
to have contributed to those victories. These buildings held the rich offerings made
to Apollo; these were frequently a “tithe” or tenth of the spoils of a battle. The most impressive is the now-restored Athenian
Treasury, built to commemorate their victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The Siphnian Treasury was dedicated by the
city of Siphnos whose citizens gave a tithe of the yield from their silver mines until
the mines came to an abrupt end when the sea flooded the workings. One of the largest of the treasuries was that
of Argos. Built in the late Doric period, the Argives
took great pride in establishing their place amongst the other city states. Completed in 380 BC, the treasury draws inspiration
mostly from the Temple of Hera located in the Argolis, the acropolis of the city. However, recent analysis of the Archaic elements
of the treasury suggest that its founding preceded this. Other identifiable treasuries are those of
the Sikyonians, the Boeotians and the Thebans.===Altar of the Chians===
Located in front of the Temple of Apollo, the main altar of the sanctuary was paid for
and built by the people of Chios. It is dated to the 5th century BC by the inscription
on its cornice. Made entirely of black marble, except for
the base and cornice, the altar would have made a striking impression. It was restored in 1920.===Stoa of the Athenians===The stoa leads off north-east from the main
sanctuary. It was built in the Ionic order and consists
of seven fluted columns, unusually carved from single pieces of stone (most columns
were constructed from a series of discs joined together). The inscription on the stylobate indicates
that it was built by the Athenians after their naval victory over the Persians in 478 BC,
to house their war trophies. The stoa was attached to the existing Polygonal
Wall.===Sibyl rock===
The Sibyl rock is a pulpit-like outcrop of rock between the Athenian Treasury and the
Stoa of the Athenians upon the sacred way which leads up to the temple of Apollo in
the archaeological area of Delphi. It is claimed to be where an ancient Sibyl
pre-dating the Pythia of Apollo sat to deliver her prophecies.===Theatre===The ancient theatre at Delphi was built further
up the hill from the Temple of Apollo giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary
and the valley below. It was originally built in the 4th century
BC but was remodeled on several occasions, particularly in 160/159 B.C. at the expenses
of king Eumenes II of Pergamon and in 67 A.D. on the occasion of emperor Nero’s visit. The koilon (cavea) leans against the natural
slope of the mountain whereas its eastern part overrides a little torrent which led
the water of the fountain Cassotis right underneath the temple of Apollo. The orchestra was initially a full circle
with a diameter measuring 7 meters. The rectangular scene building ended up in
two arched openings, of which the foundations are preserved today. Access to the theatre was possible through
the parodoi, i.e. the side corridors. On the support walls of the parodoi are engraved
large numbers of manumission inscriptions recording fictitious sales of the slaves to
the god. The koilon was divided horizontally in two
zones via a corridor called diazoma. The lower zone had 27 rows of seats and the
upper one only 8. Six radially arranged stairs divided the lower
part of the koilon in seven tiers. The theatre could accommodate about 4,500
spectators.On the occasion of Nero’s visit to Greece in 67 A.D. various alterations took
place. The orchestra was paved and delimited by a
parapet made of stone. The proscenium was replaced by a low pedestal,
the pulpitum; its façade was decorated with scenes from Hercules’ myth in relief. Further repairs and transformations took place
in the 2nd century A.D. Pausanias mentions that these were carried
out under the auspices of Herod Atticus. In antiquity, the theatre was used for the
vocal and musical contests which formed part of the programme of the Pythian Games in the
late Hellenistic and Roman period. The theatre was abandoned when the sanctuary
declined in Late Antiquity. After its excavation and initial restoration
it hosted theatrical performances during the Delphic Festivals organized by A. Sikelianos
and his wife, Eva Palmer, in 1927 and in 1930. It has recently been restored again as the
serious landslides posed a grave threat for its stability for decades.===Tholos===The Tholos at the sanctuary of Athena Pronoia
(Ἀθηνᾶ Πρόνοια, “Athena of forethought”) is a circular building that was constructed
between 380 and 360 BC. It consisted of 20 Doric columns arranged
with an exterior diameter of 14.76 meters, with 10 Corinthian columns in the interior. The Tholos is located approximately a half
a mile (800 m) from the main ruins at Delphi (at 38°28′49″N 22°30′28″E). Three of the Doric columns have been restored,
making it the most popular site at Delphi for tourists to take photographs. The architect of the “vaulted temple at Delphi”
is named by Vitruvius, in De architectura Book VII, as Theodorus Phoceus (not Theodorus
of Samos, whom Vitruvius names separately).===Gymnasium===The gymnasium, which is half a mile away from
the main sanctuary, was a series of buildings used by the youth of Delphi. The building consisted of two levels: a stoa
on the upper level providing open space, and a palaestra, pool and baths on lower floor. These pools and baths were said to have magical
powers, and imparted the ability to communicate to Apollo himself.===Stadium===The stadium is located further up the hill,
beyond the via sacra and the theatre. It was originally built in the 5th century
BC but was altered in later centuries. The last major remodelling took place in the
2nd century AD under the patronage of Herodes Atticus when the stone seating was built and
(arched) entrance. It could seat 6500 spectators and the track
was 177 metres long and 25.5 metres wide.===Hippodrome===
It was at the Pythian games that prominent political leaders, such as Cleisthenes, tyrant
of Sikyon, and Hieron, tyrant of Syracuse, competed with their chariots. The hippodrome where these events took place
was referred to by Pindar, and this monument was sought by archaeologists for over two
centuries. Its traces have recently been found at Gonia
in the plain of Krisa in the place where the original stadium was sited.===Polygonal wall===The retaining wall was built to support the
terrace housing the construction of the second temple of Apollo in 548 BC. Its name is taken from the polygonal masonry
of which it is constructed. At a later date, from 200 BC onwards, the
stones were inscribed with the manumission contracts of slaves who were consecrated to
Apollo. Approximately a thousand manumissions are
recorded on the wall.===Castalian spring===The sacred spring of Delphi lies in the ravine
of the Phaedriades. The preserved remains of two monumental fountains
that received the water from the spring date to the Archaic period and the Roman, with
the latter cut into the rock.===Athletic statues===
Delphi is famous for its many preserved athletic statues. It is known that Olympia originally housed
far more of these statues, but time brought ruin to many of them, leaving Delphi as the
main site of athletic statues. Kleobis and Biton, two brothers renowned for
their strength, are modeled in two of the earliest known athletic statues at Delphi. The statues commemorate their feat of pulling
their mother’s cart several miles to the Sanctuary of Hera in the absence of oxen. The neighbors were most impressed and their
mother asked Hera to grant them the greatest gift. When they entered Hera’s temple, they fell
into a slumber and never woke, dying at the height of their admiration, the perfect gift.The
Charioteer of Delphi is another ancient relic that has withstood the centuries. It is one of the best known statues from antiquity. The charioteer has lost many features, including
his chariot and his left arm, but he stands as a tribute to athletic art of antiquity.==Architectural traditions==
Ancient tradition accounted for four temples that successively occupied the site before
the 548/7 BC fire, following which the Alcmaeonids built a fifth. The poet Pindar celebrated the Alcmaeonid’s
temple in Pythian 7.8-9 and he also provided details of the third building (Paean 8. 65-75). Other details are given by Pausanias (10.5.9-13)
and the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (294 ff.). The first temple was said to have been constructed
out of olive branches from Tempe. The second was made by bees out of wax and
wings but was miraculously carried off by a powerful wind and deposited among the Hyperboreans. The third, as described by Pindar, was created
by the gods Hephaestus and Athena, but its architectural details included Siren-like
figures or ‘Enchantresses’, whose baneful songs eventually provoked the Olympian gods
to bury the temple in the earth (according to Pausanias, it was destroyed by earthquake
and fire). In Pindar’s words, addressed to the Muses: Muses, what was its fashion, shown
By the skill in all arts Of the hands of Hephaestus and Athena? Of bronze the walls, and of bronze
Stood the pillars beneath, But of gold were six Enchantresses
Who sang above the eagle. But the sons of Cronus
Opened the earth with a thunderbolt And hid the holiest of all things made. Away from their children
And wives, when they hung Their lives on the honey-hearted words. The fourth temple was said to have been constructed
from stone by Trophonius and Agamedes.==Delphi Archaeological Museum==The Delphi Archaeological Museum is at the
foot of the main archaeological complex, on the east side of the village, and on the north
side of the main road. The museum houses an impressive collection
associated with ancient Delphi, including the earliest known notation of a melody, the
famous Charioteer, golden treasures discovered beneath the Sacred Way, and fragments of reliefs
from the Siphnian Treasury. Immediately adjacent to the exit (and overlooked
by most tour guides) is the inscription that mentions the Roman proconsul Gallio. Entries to the museum and to the main complex
are separate and chargeable, and a reduced rate ticket gets entry to both. There is a small cafe, and a post office by
the museum.==Excavations==The site had been occupied by the village
of Kastri since medieval times. Before a systematic excavation of the site
could be undertaken, the village had to be relocated but the residents resisted. The opportunity to relocate the village occurred
when it was substantially damaged by an earthquake, with villagers offered a completely new village
in exchange for the old site. In 1893 the French Archaeological School removed
vast quantities of soil from numerous landslides to reveal both the major buildings and structures
of the sanctuary of Apollo and of Athena Pronoia along with thousands of objects, inscriptions
and sculptures.The site is now an archaeological one, and a very popular tourist destination. It is easily accessible from Athens as a day
trip, and is often combined with the winter sports facilities available on Mount Parnassus,
as well as the beaches and summer sports facilities of the nearby coast of Phocis. The site is also protected as a site of extraordinary
natural beauty, and the views from it are also protected: no industrial artefacts are
to be seen from Delphi other than roads and traditional architecture residences (for example
high voltage power lines and the like are routed so as to be invisible from the area
of the sanctuary).===5th-century Delphi===
During the Great Excavation were discovered architectural members from a 5th-century Christian
basilica, when Delphi was a bishopric. Other important Late Roman buildings are the
Eastern Baths, the house with the peristyle, the Roman Agora, the large cistern usw. At the outskirts of the city there were located
late Roman cemeteries. To the southeast of the precinct of Apollo
lay the so-called Southeastern Mansion, a building with a 65-meter-long façade, spread
over four levels, with four triclinia and private baths. Large storage jars kept the provisions, whereas
other pottery vessels and luxury items were discovered in the rooms. Among the finds stands out a tiny leopard
made of mother of pearl, possibly of Sassanian origin, on display in the ground floor gallery
of the Delphi Archaeological Museum. The mansion dates to the beginning of the
5th century and functioned as a private house until 580, later however it was transformed
into a potters’ workshop. It is only then, in the beginning of the 6th
century, that the city seems to decline: its size is reduced and its trade contacts seem
to be drastically diminished. Local pottery production is produced in large
quantities: it is coarser and made of reddish clay, aiming at satisfying the needs of the
inhabitants. The Sacred Way remained the main street of
the settlement, transformed, however, into a street with commercial and industrial use. Around the agora were built workshops as well
as the only intra muros early Christian basilica. The domestic area spread mainly in the western
part of the settlement. The houses were rather spacious and two large
cisterns provided running water to them.==Depiction in art==From the 16th century onward, West Europe
developed an interest in Delphi. In the mid-15th century Strabo was first translated
in Latin. The earliest depictions of Delphi were totally
imaginary, created by the German N. Gerbel, who published in 1545 a text based on the
map of Greece by N. Sofianos. The ancient sanctuary was depicted as a fortified
city. The first travelers with archaeological interests,
apart from the precursor Cyriacus of Ancona, were the British George Wheler and the French
Jacob Spon, who visited Greece in a joint expedition in 1675-76. They published their impressions separately. In Wheler’s “Journey into Greece”, published
in 1682, a sketch of the region of Dephi appeared, where the settlement of Kastri and some ruins
were depicted. The illustrations in Spon’s publication “Voyage
d’Italie, de Dalmatie, de Grèce et du Levant, 1678” are considered original and groundbreaking. Travelers continued to visit Delphi throughout
the 19th century and published their books which contained diaries, sketches, views of
the site as well as pictures of coins. The illustrations often reflected the spirit
of romanticism, as evident by the works of Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, where, apart
from the landscapes (La Grèce. Vues pittoresques et topographiques, Paris
1834) are depicted also human types (Costumes et usages des peuples de la Grèce moderne
dessinés sur les lieux, Paris 1828). The philhellene painter W. Williams has comprised
the landscape of Delphi in his themes (1829). important personalities such as F.Ch.-H.-L.
Pouqueville, W.M. Leake, Chr. Wordsworth and Lord Byron are amongst the
most important visitors of Delphi. After the foundation of the modern Greek state,
the press became also interested in these travelers. Thus “Ephemeris” writes (17 March 1889):
“In the “Revues des Deux Mondes” Paul Lefaivre published his memoirs from an excursion to
Delphi. The French author relates in a charming style
his adventures on the road, praising particularly the ability of an old woman to put back in
its place the dismantled arm of one of his foreign traveling companions, who had fallen
off the horse. In Arachova the Greek type is preserved intact. The men are rather athletes than farmers,
built for running and wrestling, particularly elegant and slender under their mountain gear. Only briefly does he refer to the antiquities
of Delphi, but he refers to a pelasgian wall 80 meters long, on which innumerable inscriptions
are carved, decrees, conventions, manumissions”. Gradually the first travelling guides appeared. The revolutionary “pocket” books invented
by Karl Baedeker, accompanied by maps useful for visiting archaeological sites such as
Delphi (1894) and the informed plans, the guides became practical and popular. The photographic lens revolutionized the way
of depicting the landscape and the antiquities, particularly from 1893 onwards, when the systematic
excavations of the French Archaeological School started. However, artists such as Vera Willoughby,
continued to be inspired by the landscape. Delphic themes inspired several graphic artists. Besides the landscape, Pythia/Sibylla become
an illustration subject even on Tarot cards. A famous example constitutes Michelangelo’s
Delphic Sibyl (1509), the 19th-century German engraving Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, as well
as the most recent The Oracle of Delphi, inc on paper, by the Swedish Malin Lind. Modern artists are inspired also by the Delphic
Maxims. Examples of such works are displayed in the
“Sculpture park of the European Cultural Center of Delphi” and in exhibitions taking place
at the Archaeological Museum of Delphi.==In literature==
Delphi inspired literature as well. In 1814 W. Haygarth, friend of Lord Byron,
refers to Delphi in his work “Greece, a Poem”. In 1888 Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle
published his lyric drama L’Apollonide, accompanied by music by Franz Servais. More recent French authors used Delphi as
a source of inspiration such as Yves Bonnefoy (Delphes du second jour) or Jean Sullivan
(nickname of Joseph Lemarchand) in L’Obsession de Delphes (1967), but also Rob MacGregor’s
Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi (1991). The presence of Delphi in Greek literature
is very intense. Poets such as Kostis Palamas (The Delphic
Hymn, 1894), Kostas Karyotakis (Delphic festival, 1927), Nikephoros Vrettakos (return from Delphi,
1957), Yannis Ritsos (Delphi, 1961–62) and Kiki Dimoula (Gas omphalos and Appropriate
terrain 1988), to mention only the most renowned ones. Angelos Sikelianos wrote The Dedication (of
the Delphic speech) (1927), the Delphic Hymn (1927) and the tragedy Sibylla (1940), whereas
in the context of the Delphic idea and the Delphic festivals he published an essay titled
“The Delphic union” (1930). The nobelist George Seferis wrote an essay
under the title “Delphi”, comprised in the book “Dokimes”. The importance of Delphi for the Greeks is
significant. The site has been recorded on the collective
memory and have been expressed through tradition. Nikolaos Politis, the famous Greek ethnographer,
in his Studies on the life and language of the Greek people – part A, offers two examples
from Delphi: a) the priest of Apollo (176)
When Christ was born a priest of Apollo was sacrificing below the monastery of Panayia,
on the road of Livadeia, on a site called Logari. Suddenly he abandoned the sacrifice and says
to the people: “in this moment was born the son of God, who will be very powerful, like
Apollo, but then Apollo will beat him”. He didn’t have time to finish his speech and
a thunder came down and burnt him, opening the rock nearby into two. [p. 99]
b)The Mylords (108) The Mylords are not Christians, because nobody
ever saw them cross themselves. They originate from the old pagan inhabitants
of Delphi who kept their property in castle called Adelphi, named after the two brother
princes who built it. When Christ and his mother came to the site,
and all people around converted to Christianity they thought that they should better leave;
thus the Mylords left for the West and took all their belongings with them. The Mylords come here now and worship these
stones. [p. 59]==See also==
Ex voto of the Attalids (Delphi) Franz Weber (activist) – made an honorary
citizen of Delphi in 1997 Delphi Archaeological Museum
Aristoclea, Delphic priestess of the 6th century BC, said to have been tutor to Pythagoras
Greek art List of traditional Greek place names==
Gallery====Notes

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