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The Oracle at Delphi

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Michael Kemp

on 10 February 2011

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Transcript of The Oracle at Delphi

The Oracle at Delphi Kevin Castro-Moino
Miranda Ives
Michael Kemp
Angelica Magett
Danya Velazquez Oracle Overview An Oracle was a woman with the task of answering questions of pilgrims by communicating with the Gods
Delphi was the site of the most famous and influential Oracle
The Oracle was the “star” of Greek civilization Origins of the Oracle Literature on the Oracle begins as early as 8th Century and lasts for 1200 years
According to legend, Apollo founded the site of Delphi himself
Site of temple is beautiful with twin limestone cliffs directly behind it Oracle in Detail Detail Continued Oracle advised rulers, citizens, and philosophers alike on everything from sex life to political actions
In contrast to other soothsayers, Delphi’s questions were serious, esp. in older times
Delphi was one of the richest places in the world, viewed as center of the universe Notable admired by several great Greek thinkers
Oracle was greatest authority, ironic for the time
Priests were viewed as intermediaries, Oracle was direct marriage with Apollo
Apollo = most popular God Traditions of the Oracle Notable admired by several great Greek thinkers
Oracle was greatest authority, ironic for the time
Priests were viewed as intermediaries, Oracle was direct marriage with Apollo
Apollo = most popular God Traditions Continued In the months that the Oracle did not work, temple devoted to Dionysus
Mystic pneuma said to rise from the floor, new findings indicate Oracle got high
Long ritual in preparation for receiving questions
Pilgrims could only ask one question, system for absent Oracle Oracle and Sparta Oracle helped shape Spartan government and give militaristic edge
480 BCE Xerxes and massive Persian army set out for revenge and conquest
Athens’ dillema
Themistocles’ interpretation
Sparta's prophecy Sparta Continued People of Delphi
Stand of the 300 at Thermopylae
Attempted robbery of Delphi
Destruction of Athens/Themistocles’ plan
Victory/erection of War Memorial Location It was in the steepe slopes of Mount Parnassus above the Corinthian Gulf Origins Others oracles have existed in Egypt, Thebes, Tegyra, and even the birthplace of Apollo at Delos
The most famous oracle, the oracle at Delphi, was said to have first belonged to Mother Earth or Gaea
For a while Gaea possessed the oracle but later it was some how given to or stolen by Apollo in order to communicate with him The Oracle: Divine Communication People tried to communicate with this most popular god, Apollo
Communication coud be accomplished by simply questioning the gods and waiting for an answer
Forms of communication could be made by rustling leaves or actually speaking words
Incubation was the most popular method in which people slept in the location and hoped to recieve an answer in a dream Divine Communication (continued) The communication through incubation was believed to have come from the powers of underworld
Examples: People sleeping in the hall of Asclepius, the god of medicine, were said to have recieved cures in their dreams
People at the oracle of the hero, Amphiaraus, hoped to recieve strength from him
The oracle beside the river Acerin in Central Greece existed for consulting the dead The Pythia The medium between humans and the gods was known as the Pythia
She was a woman over 50, who lived apart from her husband and dressed in maiden's clothes
The Phythia's words were written down by priests who could interpret her words which others could not Significance The Oracle did not become truly popular until the 7th and 6th centuries B.C.
During this time lawmakers, cult founders and colonists sought Apollo's advice in their ventures
The Phythia was mostly used to perdict the outcome of wars and political actions Delphi Locality in Phocis, Greece
Near the foot of the south slope of Mt. Parnassós
6 mi (10 km) northeast of the port of Cirrha
It was the meeting place of the Amphictyonic league Delphi Continued The most important league of Greek city-states
The site of the Pythian games
Delphi was frequently pillaged from early Roman times
Sanctuary fell into decay
One of the art works excavated there is the beautiful 5th-century bronze statue called the Delphic Charioteer (now at the Archaeological Mus., Delphi, Greece) Temple of Apollo Oracle was housed in the great temple to Apollo
Built in the 6th cent. B.C.
It was destroyed and rebuilt at least twice
Persons seeking the help of the oracle brought rich gifts, and the shrine grew very wealthy The Oracle and Geology Extensive geochemical investigation, coupled with geo-structural analysis, provides new insights into local fault fluid interaction and allows us to pinpoint basic elements in the geological origin of the Delphic Oracle.
supposed to prophesy under the effects of intoxicating gas exhaling from a chasm in the ground.
CO2H2S-rich, ethylene-rich or CH4-rich gases have been invoked to explain the mantic vapours.
The mythological gas-exhaling chasm can plausibly be related to episodic seismic ruptures in the ancient past Extensive geochemical investigation, coupled with geo-structural analysis, provides new insights into local fault fluid interaction and allows us to pinpoint basic elements in the geological origin of the Delphic Oracle.
supposed to prophesy under the effects of intoxicating gas exhaling from a chasm in the ground.
CO2H2S-rich, ethylene-rich or CH4-rich gases have been invoked to explain the mantic vapours.
The mythological gas-exhaling chasm can plausibly be related to episodic seismic ruptures in the ancient past Oracle May Have Inhaled Fumes Ancient texts say that the oracle would inhale sweet- smelling vapors before going into the trance
These vapors came from a fissure in the mountain
Other texts mention that the vapors were also at the temple Inhaling Fumes Continued… One portrayal was painted on pottery which could be interpreted to support the texts
Researchers now believe that the gases the oracle was smelling was actually Ethylene gas
Measuring the ethylene levels present at the temple 2000 years ago is impossible, so the explanation is likely to remain speculative Inhaling Even More Fumes… Recent critics have pointed out further issues to the ethylene theory
One reason is scientific and says that inhaling the fumes would be insufficient to cause a trance like state
Second reason is historical and philosophical and says that the evidence presented to link the behavior of the oracle to the intoxication of the ethylene gas is dubious The Oracle of Delphi It is the most sacred place in ancient world.
In the oracle was foretold the future of kings and common men.
At first, the oracle of Delphi could be consulted once a year, but as its reputation grew more pilgrims came, and more days were added top the agenda.
During the three months that Apollo was believed to be away the oracle was silent. History of Delphi Delphi had been liberated from the Krisan state, and thus became autonomous. The games and the sanctuary was from then on organized and controlled by the 12 city-states that had formed the Amphictyonic League.
Delphi was dedicated to many deities, like Gaea, Themis and Phoebe, but Apollo is the god most connected to the place. Pythia Pythia was a women from the village of Delphi, and in most cases she was a young virgin.
It is mentioned that she was probably under the influence of some sort of narcotic substance.
Traditions hold that fumes were coming out of a crack in the ground, but no such crack has been found.
The answers were always vague, and in this way the oracle was almost always right.
This gave the priests great political power, and their credibility was discussed even in ancient times. Archeological Museum of Delphi It contains a rare collection of archaic sculptures and consist of 13 rooms of exhibits. THE END
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