Make your own free website on Tripod.com

KORIKIO ANDRO (ÊORYCIAN CAVE) OF PARNASSUS (PARNASSOS)

 OR SARANTAVLI

 

The road to the cave

 

Pausanias in his "Phokika" informs us that:

Travelling to Delphi towards the peak of Parnassus, at a distance of around sixty stadia, more than eleven kilometres from the city of Phoebus, one comes across a copper statue.

The ascend to Korikio Andro is easier for a pedestrian - Pausanias goes on to say - than for those using mules and houses. Today however, the road is accessible to cars and so stretches up to the cave. When the visitor - and there are many, mostly foreigners - gets there, a few metres below the cave, he does not realise that only four or five metres up, lies the entrance.

That's how invisible it is.

 

The entrance – interior

 

The Korikio Andro is famous, not just in myth, but in the world of antiquity and its writers, ‘it is the most remarkable of all the caves I have seen’, Pausanias notes, having visited it in the lst century AD. From the same writer I am informed that there was a running water spring insids the cave at the time.

The entrance, after traversing a few steps inside, seems without interest at first sight, as you walk from light to darkness. But before your eyes adjust to darkness you hear the monotonous sound of thick water droplets - in the spring time you think it is the friction of centuries on the stalagmites – falling on the ground.

This is the first welcome.

Gradually your vision adjusts and your glance loiters with respect around the place, 90 metres long and 60 metres wide.

Your glance continues to receive what the meagre light boring through the entrance, allows.

Thick stalactites hang from its roof, resembling "korikes" (leather pouch).

Ahead of you, in the distance, a crowd of stalactites and stalagmites create a forest of «abstract art» designs. Truly,very impressive and divine.

As we enter through the right, on the rock the following inscription is carved, probably dating from the 4th century BC or the beginning of the 3rd century.

‘Eustratos/Alkidamou/ambryssios/symperipoloi/Pani, numphaes' Anathetis originated from Ambryssos, modern day Distomo of Boeotia.

In another inscription, slightly older, the nymphs are mentioned again and also Pan with the thyads. That inscription was reconstructed by the old commissioner Nikos Papadakis thus: ‘nymphs and Pan weeping Amaranda (orAmianda) possessed’.

This is translated thus: a woman whose name has not been wholly preserved, on hearing Pan and his crowd of nymphs was "possessed". She became possessed by the nymphs and Pan, entering a state of trance.

In that area, there must have once been an oracle in prehistoric times, concluded from the fact that many astragals were discovered in archaeological excavations.

The Korikio Andro, due to its location - as we mentioned earlier is invisible up to a few metres from its entrance - has its share in almost all of human prehistory and history, up to the modern Greek one, because it was inhabited

by the family of the tragic general of Roumeli, Odysseas Androutsos, during 1821-1823 after they (the family) had erected defences in it.

Among the gods and semi-gods, the Apollos, the Parnassus's and the Pans who had inhabited it, the wedding of Odysseas' sister with Edward Ioannis Trelonis, British seaman and Greek supporter, fighter at the side of Odysseas and friend of the great contemporary poets Shelley and Lord Byron, also took place.

next page