Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

Delphi

Delphi, is a village with 2.500 inhabitants, 167km from Athens and 10 km from Arachova, can be reached by road through Viotia via Livadia and Arachova. This is the site of the famous Oracle, where rulers of Greece came for many centuries for political and moral guidance. The center of the complex of temples is the Doric Temple of Apollo dating from the 4th century BC. The Delphi Museum contains the superb statue of the Charioteer, circa 475 BC.


The Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi had been one of the most glorious oracles in antiquity, along with these of Zeus in Olympia and of Apollo in Delos. It is situated on the slope of Mount Parnassus, above the valley of Plisto. It was built during the archaic period to host the cult of the snake Python, son of Mother Earth. The place took its contemporary name from the cult of Apollo Delphinios, i.e. the god worshipped in the shape of a dolphin. Only very few elements of this cult survived.

Even the priestess who delivered the oracles preserved the ancient name Pythia, whereas later she was also referred to as Sibyl. The sanctuary soon gained political importance, as it became the seat of one of the mightiest amphictyoniae, or holy alliances, and an essential reference point for all the Greek cities wishing to establish colonies on Western Europe. It was honoured even by Kroisos, the extremely rich king of Lydia, as well as by the Pharaoh of Egypt, Amasis. The sanctuary has been the cause of many sacred wars for its control, but its prestige remained intact. When in 373 BC it suffered serious damages by an earthquake, many city-states collaborated in order to restore it. During the Roman period emperors such as Augustus, Nero and Hadrian honoured it by the first Roman leaders and later. Gradually, however, it fell in decline. In 385 AD Theodosius outlawed paganism and forbade the existence of oracles. Since then, "the voice of the water faded away", as its last priests allegedly have said. In contemporary times, the excavations at the archaeological site began in 1892 by a group of French archaeologists and are still under way.

Modern Delphi is an area of outstanding natural beauty with many places of interest to visit in addition to the ancient sanctuary of Apollo and museum. Delphi also has a modern conference center and is maintaining its ancient tradition as a meeting place with numerous conferences and cultural symposiums from around the world.

next page

previus page