“I count the grains of sand on the beach and measure the sea …” – The Oracle of Delphi

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***

Approach thoughtfully. 

Get closer but not too close. Wait in patient silence.

What question has compelled you to travel to the center of the world, to this sacred site in Delphi, and tremble as you plead to hear the will of the gods? 

Marcello; Pythian Sibyl, after 1869-1870; Bronze; Philadelphia Museum of Art

For over one thousand years, individuals and emissaries from cities, states, and kingdoms along the Mediterranean Sea landed in the Gulf of Corinth, crossed a valley of olive and cypress trees, and climbed the winding paths on the southern slope of Mount Parnassus to a place that has been sacred since at least the 1400s BCE.

There are many, and often conflicting and vague, stories about how it all began.

The sanctuary was built on a sloping mountainside that overlooked the ancient city of Delphi; Temple of Apollo, Delphi

Legends reveal that Zeus, the king of the gods of Mount Olympus, in order to find the center of the world, commanded two eagles to fly in opposite directions. After they converged at Delphi,Zeus marked the spot with an egg-shaped sacred stone, the Omphalos (means “navel”). 

Left: Berlin Painter; Attic Red-Figure Amphora (detail), Zeus wields a thunderbolt in one hand and holds an eagle in the other, c. 480-470 BCE; Earthenware; Musée du Louvre, Paris and Right: One of several copies of the Omphalos in Delphi.

Beneath the stone lay Gaea (Gaia), the Mother Earth goddess. Born at the dawn of creation, all of the heavenly gods of the sky, mountains, plains, seas, and rivers descended from her. She bore the Titans, who ruled long before Zeus and the other Olympian deities seized power. Mortal creatures were born directly from her flesh. Gaea was not just the goddess of the earth; she was the Earth.

Gaia, detail from Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), 9 BCE; Ara Pacis Museum, Rome

Gaea’s priestesses became rooted in the service of the Earth and all of her creatures. An old prophetess named Sibyl was the first to give a voice to the Earth and her Oracle. In time, all prophetesses became identified as individuals with the surname or title of sibyl. 

Michelangelo; Delphic Sibyl, 1509; Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The Homeric Hymn to Apollo (700-500 BCE) explains that Zeus’s son, Apollo – the god of the sun, light, music and poetry, healing and plagues, prophecy and knowledge, order and beauty, archery, agriculture, and the personification of harmony, reason, and moderation – rejected several locations throughout Greece before choosing this one:

“In this place, I am minded to build a glorious temple to be an oracle for men, and here they will always bring perfect offerings, both they who dwell in Peloponnesus and the men of Europe and from all the wave-washed isles, coming to question me. And I will deliver to them all counsel that cannot fail, answering in my rich temple.“

Jacob Matham, after Cornelus Cornelisz. van Haarlem; Apollo as Sol, c 1591; Engraving; Philadelphia Museum of Art

The hymn (tribute) continues to explain that Apollo killed Gaea’s son, Python, the gruesome serpent/dragon who guarded the nearby bubbling Castalian Spring, with a torrent of silver arrows. After much writhing in pain and oozing of blood, the monstrous body slowly rotted under the intense heat of the sun. The site became known as Pytho (from the Greek verb puthein, “to rot”). 

After Hendrick Goltzius; Apollo Killing Python, 1589; Engraving; Philadelphia Museum of Art. Snakes, which burrow in and out of the earth, were seen as mediators between Gaea and mankind.

J.M.W. Turner; Apollo and Python, exhibited 1811; Oil on canvas; Tate Britain. Turner interprets Apollo’s killing of Python as a triumph of good over evil, as light overcoming darkness. However, a smaller snake emerges from the dragon’s wound as a reminder that the battle is ongoing. (Tate)

Now that the Olympian god had assumed control over the sanctuary and claimed authority over wisdom and the Earth, the “primitive female” scheme of the divine universe (Gaea) and mankind’s relationship with the Earth was replaced sociologically by a new “rational male“ order, the Hellenic Apollo. 

Eugène Delacroix; Apollo Killing the Serpent Python, 1850-1851; Ceiling Painting; Galerie d’Apollon, Musée du Louvre, Paris

In search of mortals to oversee his temple, Apollo spotted a beautiful ship from Crete passing by. The god disguised himself as a dolphin (in Greek, delphis) and steered the boat off course to the port near Pytho. Once on shore, he revealed himself in full splendor as Apollo and ceremonially invested them into service as priests of his oracle. The area was renamed Delphi (DELL-fee).

Attributed to Francesco Bartolozzi; Apollo on a Dolphin, late 1700s; Etching and engraving; Philadelphia Museum of Art. Apollo and his awesome lyre-playing skills represented the joy of communion with the gods through music, poetry, and dance.

However the sacred site was founded, the worship of Apollo was firmly established at Delphi between 1000-800 BCE. 

The belief that Apollo and the other gods controlled the fate of mankind led to the practice of oracular consultation – people wanted to find out what the gods had in mind for them.  The word oracle, from the Latin verb ōrāre (“to speak”), can refer to either the priestess delivering the god’s prophecy, the prophecies themselves, or to the place where the prophecies were made.

Jack Sonenberg; Oracle No. 3, 1965; Embossed cast paper woodcut; Philadelphia Museum of Art

For at least a thousand years, certainly by the 700s BCE and until the 300s CE, the oracular power of the Pythia (plural Pythiai) – the priestess of Apollo that communicated his knowledge of the future and the will of his father, Zeus, to humans – was so renowned that no great leader made an important decision without first sending a delegation for a consultation. In legend, it was the Pythia who told Oedipus that he would kill his father and marry his mother. 

There were other ways to ascertain the will of the gods. One could pay a fee to your local oracle-seller and seer who foretold the will of the gods by reading entrails, observing the flight of birds or ripples in the water, or consulting books of prophecy.

Howard Pyle; Truth before the Seer; illustration from Harper’s Monthly Magazine (December 1900); Philadelphia Museum of Art

And there were other oracular locations. Zeus’s oracle in northern Greece was a sacred oak tree surrounded by bronze tripod cauldrons. Visitors submitted their concerns on lead sheets to the priests (seers) who then consulted the god and conveyed his will by interpreting the sounds of falling acorns hitting the cauldrons, the rustling of leaves, or the cooing of doves. 

A modern planting of Zeus’s sacred oak tree at Dodona, Greece. The tree is mentioned throughout Greek mythology. In Homer’s two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Achilles and Odysseus, respectively, consult the oracle in matters of strategy. In the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes, Jason places a protective branch from the sacred tree on the prow of his ship before searching for the Golden Fleece.

However, no other oracle had the cachet of Delphi, for it was here that a god articulated prophecies directly to his human supplicants. 

The operation and finances of the sanctuary, including the selection of its pythiai, priests, and other officials, were run by an amphictyony, a politically independent panel of several Greek communities and cities. The priests who officiated at the ceremonies and oversaw the sacrifices were among the leading citizens of the nearby city of Delphi. 

Claude Lorrain, View of Delphi with a Procession, 1673; Oil on canvas; Art Institute of Chicago

The Pythiai, the sibyls who spoke the words of the Oracle, were also from Delphi. In a society where women were expected to be silent and obedient, it’s striking that women had the role of speaking directly to male questioners on behalf of a male god. The first Pythia’s name was Phemonoe (Prophetic Mind). 

At first, the chosen women (they did not volunteer) were all young virgins who had a sensitivity to feel the presence of the divine, even in ordinary life. After an inquirer fell in love and seduced one of them, the women chosen for this honor were past child-bearing age and, since chastity was a requirement, were probably widowed or unmarried.

Three women usually held the position at the same time and served for life. They were required to abandon their family obligations and live together in the temple precincts, sheltered from the news of the male-dominated world. 

When on duty, the Pythia dressed like a maiden to symbolically appear as a virgin. 

Orazio Gentileschi; Portrait of a Young Woman as a Sibyl, c. 1620; Oil on canvas; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The philosopher, historian, and essayist Plutarch (46-119 CE) was a priest at the Temple of Apollo. His writings explain that when the demand for the Oracle was high, two Pythiai alternated the role of prophetess (although only one delivered the prophecy at a time) and one waited in reserve.  

Bust of Plutarch, 100-200 BCE; Marble; Unearthed near the Temple of Apollo; Delphi Archaeological Museum

Timing was important. Apollo was only available in Delphi nine months of the year, from February through October. During the dark months of November through January, the god of the sun headed beyond the home of Boreas, the North Wind.

When Apollo was present, consultations were only available one day a month, on the 7th (in deference to his birthday, February 7th). 

The Sacred Site at Delphi, reimagined

The trek from the shores of the Gulf of Corinth to the Delphi sanctuary was about 9.3 miles (15 km). Along the way, all visitors stopped at the Castalian Spring, where mountain water collected in a basin. They quenched their thirst and completed various purifying rituals (like washing their hair) before entering the sacred site. Fortunately, the rotting corpse of Python is long gone.

Left: Ernst Reissinger; The Castalian Spring in Delphi with Niches for Votive Offerings, 1923; Photograph; Hellenic Library, Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and Right: Edward D. Clarke; Castalian Spring at Delphi, 1813; Etching

Once visitors arrived at the entrance to the sanctuary, they followed a pathway, the Sacred Way, through the vast grounds to the Temple of Apollo. 

Over the centuries, the walkway became lined with brightly painted monuments that were embellished with metals, treasuries (storehouses) filled with offerings of silver and gold, and thousands of bronze statues. These memorials from various Greek city-states were built and rebuilt, not only to placate Apollo but to publicize their privileged relationship with him (for example, if a victory in battle was attributed to his help). Tourists mingled and admired the sumptuous display of wealth and power.

Bull of the Corcyreans, 500s BCE; Delphi Archaeological Museum. After receiving advice from the Delphic oracle to sacrifice a bull to Poseidon in order to catch more fish, the Corcyreans erected a commemorative bull from a portion of the resulting revenues. The hollow wooden bull was filled with clay, wax, or plaster. Thin sheets of silver were applied on top of the wood and secured with nails. The bull’s horns, ears, and hooves were gold-plated. It’s believed to be the first large-scale statue made from forged metal.

The Spartan’s tribute (2), from 403 BCE, celebrated their naval defeat over the Athenians in the Battle of Aegospotami. The dozens of statues are gone but their bases remain. Erenow.net

In the 1890s, archeologists discovered these two kouroi (statues of idealized young males that served as grave markers or offerings to the gods) near the Temple of Apollo. Their rigid pose, flexed muscular arms, and strong torso indicate their identity. According to legend, a priestess wanted to attend an important religious festival but was unable to find oxen for her cart. Out of love, her two sons, Kleobis and Biton, harnessed themselves to her cart and with sheer brute strength, pulled her to the festival. The priestess prayed to Hera (Zeus’s wife) to grant the best possible gift that a mortal could receive to her sons. That night, both sons died peacefully in their sleep, surrounded by the admiration and love of their family and fellow citizens, who would honor their memory forever. 

Kouroi of Kleobis and Biton, early 500s BCE; Delphi Archaeological Museum

The once-lavishly decorated Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi (510 to 480 BCE) housed dedications and votive offerings in homage to Apollo as well as the booty plundered after they defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon against great odds.

Reconstructed Treasury of the Siphnians (Anasynthesis.co.uk) The wealth of the small island of Siphnos was due to their gold and silver mines. Their treasury (525 BCE) was the first religious structure made entirely out of marble. 

The Three-Headed Serpent Column (left, drawing from 1574) was built by an alliance of Greek-city states to honor Apollo in remembrance of their victory over the Persians during a battle in 479 BCE. The bronze body of the column and the tripod that topped it were made from the melted-down Persian weapons. The column was moved from Delphi to Constantinople (Istanbul) by Constantine the Great in 324 CE (right).

Visitors offered sacrifices at the Temple of Athena Pronaia before making their way to the Temple of Apollo.

At the end of the Sacred Way, petitioners queued outside of their final destination, the Temple of Apollo. 

A reconstruction of the sacred site at Delphi; Archaeological Museum of Delphi

Temple of Apollo, Delphi in the 6th century BCE; A maxim carved above the long sequence of columns of Apollo’s temple read, γνῶθι σεαυτόν, Know Thyself.

Access to the Oracle followed a set of rules. All inquirers who were not citizens of Delphi had to be accompanied by a local sponsor. Delphians had the first right of approach and stood at the front of the line, followed by Greeks from cities that were members of the Amphictyony, other Greeks, and then non-Greeks. 

Promanteia (the right to skip ahead in the line just behind the citizens of Delphi) was granted to those who had a special relationship with the city. For example, citizens from the island of Chios were awarded promanteia after they erected an enormous altar near Apollo’s temple. The privilege was so valuable that it was inscribed into a cornerstone: ΔΕΛΦΟΙ ΕΔΩΚΑΝ ΧΙΟΙΣ ΠΡΟΜΑΝΤΕΙΗΝ (“The Delphians gave to the Chians the right of first consul to the oracle.”)

Left: The Altar of the Chians (400 BCE) and behind it, the Temple of Apollo; Right: The right of Promanteia set in stone

The area around Apollo’s temple would have been busy with activity. 

From Delphi, A History of the Center of the Ancient World by Michael Scott

Petitioners were expected to offer pelanos, a small sacrificial cake (which had to be purchased from the Delphians) as a gift. While it grilled on the altar, the price for the consultation was negotiated. The fee varied for state vs. individual inquiries. 

Outside the temple on a large altar, the priests sprinkled cold water on a goat. If it shivered (an auspicious sign), the goat’s head was nodded (to indicate the animal’s consent to be sacrificed). The sacrifice expressed gratitude for Apollo’s willingness to communicate with mortals on that day. 

Apulian Red Figure Krater, detail depicting goat sacrifice, 300s BCE; Philadelphia Museum of Art; on loan to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Inside the temple, the Pythia burned offerings of laurel leaves and barley meal on a sacred hearth to honor Apollo. Laurel was associated with Apollo’s love for Daphne (a story for another post, perhaps) and for victory (winners at the Olympic games were presented with laurel wreathes). 

Antonio Canova; Apollo Crowning Himself (with a laurel wreath), 1781–82; Marble; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

When it was the petitioner’s turn, another goat was sacrificed, roasted, and divvied up to offer to the gods, the Pythia, the Delphians, and (as a tip) to the man who actually conducted the sacrifice.

Attic red-figure krater; Sacrifice scene, c. 430–420 BCE; Musée de Louvre, Paris

Questioners (men only, the Pythiai were the only women allowed to be within the most sacred areas of the temple) entered the Temple of Apollo from the east and were met by several priests. From here, the ancient sources disagree about what happened next and how customs changed over the thousand-year span of operations.

Stories frequently mention “moving down”, suggesting that the inquirer was escorted down several steps. Nearby, the Pythia sat alone in the adyton (“not to be entered”, the holy of holies), a small restricted area that may have been shielded from view by a curtain.

Location of the adyton within a temple

Petitioners who were looking for a fairly straight-forward answer wrote out two alternatives responses, sealed them in separate jars, and asked the Pythia to choose one. Most questioners, however, sought guidance rather than an A or B solution, for example, when a community had trouble reaching a consensus, in catastrophic matters (war, peace, plague, famine, drought), in family matters (“What will a child’s future hold?”), or, “Which god should we pray to so that …?”. It’s unknown how long a consultation might take or how many there were in a day. City-states formulated their questions in advance; their ambassadors were not permitted to change even a word when presenting the query to the Oracle.  

The entire matter roused the imaginations of many artists.

Camillo Miola; The Oracle, 1880; Oil on canvas. The Pythia sits atop the sacred tripod as the Delphic Oracle. To the left is the Omphalos, the most sacred object at Delphi. A plinth on the right bears an inscription that describes Apollo’s conquest of Delphi with the Cretans, who became his first priests. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Stories detail that after the Pythia shook a laurel branch, she fell into a state of self-induced hypnosis. Occasionally, she is described as peering into a bowl filled with water from the consecrated spring that ran underneath the temple to envision the prophecy. Plutarch, who witnessed the workings of the Oracle firsthand, wrote three dialogues about Delphi. He explains that the pneuma (breath or inspiration) of Apollo filled the area with a “delightful fragrance”, that the Pythia remained calm and peaceful, that the supplicant asked the question directly to her, and then wrote down her response word for word and left. 

Kodros Painter; The Pythia of Delphi with King Aegeus (Aigeus), 440 – 430 BCE; Attic red-figure Kylie from Vulci, Italy; Berlin Museum. This is the only known representation of the Pythia that was made while the Oracle of Delphi was active. 

Having produced no heir after two marriages, Aegeus, the king of Athens, sought advice from the Oracle at Delphi. She replied, “Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athens, lest you die of grief.” Aegeus’s lack of understanding of the Pythia’s council had tragic consequences. He loosened the bulging mouth of the wineskin (fathered a son while intoxicated on wine) before he’d reached the height of Athens (while Athens was still subservient to Crete). Many adventures and years later, due to a peace treaty with Crete, Aegeus’s son, Theseus, was sent to the labyrinth to be fed to the minotaur. Theseus killed the minotaur but forgot to send the correct message to his father. Mistakenly thinking that his son had died, Aegeus jumped from a precipice into the (Aegean) Sea and died of grief.

Other accounts propose that the pneuma that rose from beneath the Oracle entered her genitalia and the god “rode” her. As she breathed in his power (the ancient Greeks thought that a tube connected a woman’s vagina to her mouth), the pneuma rose and was exhaled through her mouth in the form of Apollo’s words. Overwhelmed and frenzied, she ranted incoherently while male priests interpreted her utterances and conveyed the answer.

A spacious cave, within its farmost part, 
Was hew’d and fashion’d by laborious art 
Thro’ the hill’s hollow sides: before the place, 
A hundred doors a hundred entries grace; 
As many voices issue, and the sound 
Of Sybil’s words as many times rebound. 
Now to the mouth they come. Aloud she cries: 
“This is the time; enquire your destinies. 
He comes; behold the god!” Thus while she said, 
(And shiv’ring at the sacred entry stay’d,) 
Her color chang’d; her face was not the same, 
And hollow groans from her deep spirit came. 
Her hair stood up; convulsive rage possess’d 
Her trembling limbs, and heav’d her lab’ring breast. 
Greater than humankind she seem’d to look, 
And with an accent more than mortal spoke. 
Her staring eyes with sparkling fury roll; 
When all the god came rushing on her soul. 
Swiftly she turn’d, and, foaming as she spoke: …

From Virgil’s The Aeneid, Book 6; 19 BCE; translated by John Dryden 

Others wondered if she got high from chewing laurel leaves or from inhaling vapors from a burning hemp plant.

 Left: J. André Castaigne; Alexander Coercing the Delphian Oracle, 1898; Library of Congress and Right: Heinrich Leutemann; The Oracle of Delphi Entranced, 1885; Engraving.

Artists often portray the Pythia seated on Apollo’s sacred tripod (from the Greek “three-footed”), a circular bowl that was mounted on three legs, engulfed and entranced by the rising pneuma. 

There was a theory that the pneuma was actually an intoxicating gas that rose from a geological fault line and produced hallucinations. Geologists disproved that idea.

John Collier; Priestess of Delphi, 1891; oil on canvas; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Countering the image of madness, some say the Oracle relayed Apollo’s answer calmly in perfect dactylic hexameter (the verse form of epics).

The ancient poets write of the “fear and trembling” when before the Oracle. Imagine that it’s possible to communicate with one of the gods who decides your destiny. What circumstances would compel you to submit a question to a god? How far would you travel? How much would you be willing to pay? How do you weigh the numerous consequences?

Imagine watching the Oracle transform into a vessel for the god, react to your question, and then pronounce, not an answer, THE answer. While you’re trembling, listen very carefully for tone and inference. There’s no closed captioning; it won’t be repeated. 

Jacek Malczewski; Pythia, 1917; Oil on canvas; National Museum, Kraków

However it happened, the Oracle retained her reputation for over one thousand years. People spent a lot of money to travel to Delphi from great distances. Some waited for an audience for months, perhaps until the following year, and wondered if they would get the opportunity. And so, it continued for generation after generation. With each passing year Delphi grew as a unique hub of information, banking, and commerce. Word got around. People talked. They heard things. What if your enemy sent spies? How many factors might have informed or influenced the interpretations of the Oracle’s responses?

Hundreds of predictions from the Oracle at Delphi have survived from various sources. Their cryptic form added mystery and depth Apollo’s power. The gods prophesy but it’s left to mankind to understand. The outcomes tangle and unravel in the deeds and misdeeds of the powerful and heroic figures of ancient literature, many of whom eventually acquire tragic understanding. 

I count the grains of sand on the beach and measure the sea; I understand the speech of the dumb and hear the voiceless … – The Oracle of Delphi to Croesus; The Histories (Book One, Chapter 47), written in 430 BCE by Herodotus

Taleides Painter; Dispute of Herakles and Apollo for the Delphic Tripod, c. 520 BCE; Attic black-figure oinochoe; Musée du Louvre, Paris. After the oracle at Delphi chose not to answer Herakles’s question, the enraged hero tried to steal the tripod. In the midst of the tug-of-war contest between Apollo and Herakles (Hercules) over its possession, their father, Zeus, separated the half-brothers by hurling a thunderbolt between them. The tripod remained at Delphi. A branch of laurel was placed on the chair when the Oracle was not present.

The image depicts Orestes kneeling beside the Omphalos and the tripod at Delphi as he seeks sanctuary from the avenging Furies. Athena and Apollo intervene on his behalf and he is purified of the sin of killing of his mother. British Museum

Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée; Alexander Consulting the Oracle of Apollo, 1789; Wikimedia. When Alexander the Great consulted the Delphic Oracle, he assumed the Pythia would prophesy that he was destined to conquer the entire ancient world. To his surprise, the Oracle asked him to return later. Furious, Alexander dragged her out of the chamber by her hair until she screamed, “Let go of me; you’re unbeatable.” He then dropped her and said, “Now I have my answer.”

Eugène Delacroix; Lycurgus Consulting the Pythia, 1835-1845. Delacroix was commissioned to decorate the library ceiling of the Palais Bourbon, the seat of the French Parliament, with images of different aspects of knowledge. Here, Lycurgus, the ancient ruler of Sparta, consults the Oracle regarding law. The Oracle’s role in the story suggests the presence of the divine in the just rule of man.

In the 500s BCE, King Croesus (KREE sus) of Lydia (modern western Turkey) asked the Oracle of Delphi whether or not he should attack King Cyrus of Persia. “If you attack,” replied the Pythia, “you will destroy a great kingdom.” Croesus attacked the Persians, suffered total defeat, and saw his kingdom absorbed into the Persian Empire. Croesus destroyed a great kingdom – his own.

Forced to accept his defeat, he mounted a pyre to serve his punishment, but rain sent by Apollo extinguished the flames. Croesus was pardoned and became chief adviser to Cyrus.

Myson (painter and potter); Red-figure Amphora, Croesus on His Pyre; 500-490 BCE; Musée de Louvre, Paris

Isaia da Pisa; Nero and Poppaea on Horseback, 1458-1460, Marble; Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 67 CE, thirty-year-old Emperor Nero, who had killed his mother in 59 CE, visited the Oracle of Delphi. Repulsed, she told him, “Your presence here outrages the god you seek. Go back, matricide! The number 73 marks the hour of your downfall!” Nero thought he would die at age 73. Instead, he committed suicide in 68 CE following a rebellion led by Galba, who was 73 years old at the time. This image depicts the Roman emperor with his second wife, Poppaea Sabina. The two were infamous for their tyrannical, murderous, and amoral behavior.

***

For over one-thousand years, the Oracle of Delphi helped determine the course of empires. In 191 BCE, the Romans seized Delphi and held it for hundreds of years. 

Then, in 392 CE, Roman Emperor Theodosius banned all pagan worship across the empire and the sanctuary was destroyed. In her final words as the Delphic Oracle, the Pythia uttered, “All is ended.”

 

Fifteen-hundred years later, a duchess disguised as a man ousted Orpheus to simultaneously become the Pythian Sibyl in a world-famous opera house and in a museum in Philadelphia. How did that happen? It’s been foretold that the answer will be revealed in the next post.

   

– Meighan Maley

The warmest possible thank you is due to Pam Fetters, a Guide at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a scholar of the classical world. Pam is a patient teacher and kind friend who generously answered my numerous questions with a clarity and patience that discredits any oracle. Thank you.

References

Bowden Hugh. Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Delphi; History.com

Dodona; Ancient-Greece.org

Dodona; Ancient History Encyclopedia

Hollinshead, Mary B. “”Adyton,” “Opisthodomos,” and the Inner Room of the Greek Temple.” Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 68, no. 2 (1999): 189-218. http://www.jstor.org/stable/148373

Plakous, pelanos and other ‘cakes’ of the Hellenic Tradition; WordPress.com

Scott, Michael. “Oracle.” In Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World, 9-30. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014. doi:10.2307/j.ctt5vjv8t.6.

The Delphic Oracle; BBC Podcast

The Kouroi of Kleobis and Biton; Khanacademy.org

The Oracle of Delphi; Invicta

The Oracle of Delphi; Encyclopedia Mythica

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