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Old February 8th, 2005, 12:04 AM   #1
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The Temple of Delphi in Greece



Located in a dramatic setting on S slopes of Mt. Parnassos, Delphi was regarded in antiquity as the center of the world. The recognition of Delphi and the fame of its oracle extended beyond the borders of the Greek world and gave the sanctuary an international standing, whereas the rival sanctuary of Olympia had a more national Greek character. The main temenos of Apollo contained numerous treasuries and monuments. The Sacred Way led through the precinct to the altar and temple of Apollo. Other buildings include a theater, stadium, and bouleuterion. E of Apollo's precinct is the Kastalian Spring and fountainhouse where visitors purified themselves. SE of the spring is the smaller temenos of Athena Pronaia (the so-called Marmaria). The Pythian Games, one of the four great athletic and drama festivals of ancient Greece, was held every 4 years. The Pythia, an elderly priestess of Apollo, was the most famous and respected oracle in the ancient world.

Archaeological excavation has shown that a Mycenaean cult center existed at Delphi under the later temenos of Athena Pronaia, but there is no clear evidence for continuity into the 8th century B.C. nor for the identity of the original deity. Tradition and myth, however, report that the site at Delphi, originally called Pytho, was first sacred to Poseidon and Ge (Mother Earth) and that an oracle presided near a cave inhabited by Python, the serpent son of Ge.
In the 8th century B.C. the cult of Pythian Apollo developed and shortly thereafter, according to tradition, priests arrived from Knossos and introduced the cult of Apollo Delphinios (dolphin) which effected the sanctuary's change in name.

In the 8th and 7th centuries the sanctuary prospered, in large part, because the oracle played an important role in advising the Greek cities on colonization ventures. Numerous buildings, including the first ashlar temple of Apollo, were added to the sanctuary and dedications and wealth accumulated. The fame of the Delphic oracle spread throughout the civilized world.

In 600-586 B.C. the 1st Sacred War resulted in the control of the sanctuary being passed to the Amphictyonic League (a federation of 12 city states, including Athens and Sparta). The Amphictyony reorganized and presided over the Pythian Games (previously instituted in honor of Apollo, Artemis, and Leto, and 1 of the 4 major games-festivals of the Greeks). The games were now held every 4 years instead of every 8, and the chariot race was added.

The 8th century temple of Apollo which had been destroyed by fire was rebuilt in 548 B.C. and the sanctuary area was enlarged to its present size with funds collected throughout the Mediterranean world. During the 6th century the fame and prosperity of the sanctuary continued to grow.

In 480 B.C. a miraculous landslide halted a Persian raid on the sanctuary. In 373 the temple of Apollo was destroyed by earthquake and again rebuilt with international donations. The 4th century became a 2nd period of architectural enhancement and prosperity for the sanctuary. In 279 B.C. the sanctuary was again miraculously saved from a barbarian (Gauls) pillage. The 3rd century brought additional architectural development at the sanctuary through the contributions of the Pergamon kings.

After the war of 595-586, 3 more Sacred Wars (448, 356, 340 B.C.) were fought among various Greek city-states over the control of the sanctuary and its sacred lands in the Krisaean plain below. Finally in 189 B.C. the Romans replaced the Aetolians as protectors of Delphi and the fortunes of the sanctuary then fluctuated according to the attitudes of the succeeding Roman rulers. The general Sulla plundered the site in 86 B.C. and Nero carried off over 500 bronze statues in 51 A.D., while Hadrian and the Antonines attempted to restore the past glory of the sanctuary. In general, however, the wealth of the sanctuary and the power of the oracle continued to decline under Roman rule and the site suffered its final blow with the edict of Theodosius, ca. 390 A.D.

The Temple of Apollo. The visible ruins belong to the last temple, dated to the 4th century B.C., which was peripteral, in Doric order. It was erected exactly on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century B.C. Inside was the "adyton", the centre of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia. The monument was partly restored during 1938-1941.



The Treasury of the Athenians. Small building in Doric order, with two columns in antis, and rich relief decoration. It was built by the Athenians at the end of the 6th century B.C. in order to house their offerings to Apollo. After its restoration, in 1903-1906, it is the best preserved building on the site.


The Altar of the Chians. The large altar of the sanctuary, in front of the temple of Apollo, was paid for and erected by the people of Chios, in the 5th century B.C., according to an inscription cut on the cornice. The monument was made of black marble, except for the base and cornice which were of white marble, resulting in an impressive color contrast. The altar was restored in 1920.


The Stoa of the Athenians. The stoa, built in the Ionic order, has seven fluted columns, each made from a single stone. According to an inscription cut on the stylobate, it was erected by the Athenians, after 478 B.C., to house the trophies taken in their naval victories over the Persians.



The Theatre of the sanctuary. It was originally built in the 4th century B.C. but the ruins we see today date from the Roman Imperial period. The cavea had 35 rows of stone benches; the foundations of the skene are preserved on the paved orchestra. The theatre was used mostly for the theatrical performances during the great festivals of the sanctuary

T
The Stadium was constructed in the 5th century B.C. and was remodelled in the 2nd century A.D. at the expense of Herodes Atticus. Then were added the stone seats and the arched monumental entrance. It was in this Stadium that the panhellenic Pythian Games took place.


The Castalia 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 era. The later one is cut in the rock and has niches cut high in the cliff, which probably held the offerings to the Nymph Castalia


The Tholos. Circular building in Doric order, built in ca. 380 B.C. Its function remains unknown but It must have been an important building, judging from the multi-coloured stone, the fine workmanship and the high-standard relief decoration. The monument was partly reconstructed in 1938.



The Polygonal wall. Retaining wall, built after the destruction of the old temple of Apollo in 548 B.C., to support the terrace on which the new temple was to be erected. The masonry is polygonal and the curved joints of the stones fit perfectly in place. A large number of inscriptions, mostly manumissions, are carved on the stones of the wall.


The Gymnasium was a complex of buildings used by the youths of Delphi for their education and practice. It was constructed in two levels: on the upper was a stoa and a free open space used for running practice, and on the lower was the palaestra, the pool and the baths (thermae).
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Old February 8th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #2
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And additional a little bit about the Tholos (see pics below)

The Tholos Temple, Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, Delphi

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Women, who were considered more sensitive than men to the oracular powers of the site, would first bathe in the waters of the nearby sacred Castalian spring (said to have been created when the winged-horse Pegasus struck the ground with his hoof, and to be favored by the Muses). Next they would drink from the sacred Kassotis spring, inhale the fumes of burning laurel leaves and finally, sitting in meditation near the omphalos stone, would enter into a visionary trance state. Many archaic accounts of Delphi relate that the oracular priestesses, known as Pythia, sat upon a chair situated over a fissure in the earth from which emanated trance-inducing vapors. Plutarch, a Greek philosopher who served as a priest at Delphi, and Strabo, an ancient geographer had each told of geologic fumes, known as pneuma, that inspired divine frenzies, with Plutarch noting that the gases had a sweet smell.

Until recently this matter was considered to be a fabrication from post-Delphic times. French archaeologists began excavating the ruins in 1892, digging down to the temple's foundations, but no evidence of a fissure or fumes was found. By 1904, a visiting English scholar, A. P. Oppé, declared that ancient beliefs in temple fumes were the result of myth, mistake or fraud. The Oxford Classical Dictionary in 1948 voiced the prevailing view: "Excavation has rendered improbable the postclassical theory of a chasm with mephitic vapours."

During the late 1990's however, a geologist, an archaeologist, a chemist and a toxicologist teamed up to produce a wealth of evidence suggesting that the ancient legends had in fact been accurate. The region's underlying rocks turn out to be composed of oily limestone fractured by two hidden faults that cross exactly under the ruined temple, creating a path by which petrochemical fumes (methane, ethane and ethylene) could rise to the surface to help induce visions. In particular, the scientists found that the women communing with the oracle probably came under the influence of ethylene - a sweet-smelling but psychoactively potent gas once used as an anesthetic. In light doses, ethylene produces feelings of disembodied euphoria and visionary insight.

Questions regarding the future would be asked of the oracular priestesses. The answers, interpreted by male priests and then spoken in verse, proved so accurate that the Delphic oracle came to exercise enormous political and social influence in the Greek empire for nearly a thousand years. Historical sources indicate that the Delphic oracle was open only one day per month during the nine months of the year when Apollo was considered to be resident at the site. For a variety of reasons the Delphic oracle was in decline by the 1st century AD and the last recorded oracle was in 362 AD. The Christian emperor Theodosius officially closed the vast temple in 393 AD, thereby signaling the end of the ancient tradition of Greek oracles and the ascendancy of the new god of Christianity. Delphi was abandoned to the elements and gradually fell into ruins.

Peering through the veils of legend and myth we may discern at Delphi the story of an ancient goddess site being later taken over by a culture whose primary deity was a male god. The 'spearing' of the serpent may be interpreted as the marking of the energy beam point (a small area of concentrated energy at a power place) with a spear of stone and also the symbol of the masculine usurpation of a feminine deity shrine. The omphalos stone, and the earlier marker stone it replaced, were used to gather, concentrate and emanate the energies of the power place for the benefit of the local people. From earliest times the particular energy of the site, as well as the chemical vapors rising from deep within the earth, had been recognized to induce prophetic visions in people and as a consequence a quasi-religious cult had developed over time.
Athena continued the ancient veneration of the feminine principle and brought devotion to the Earth Mother into the Classical Age of Greece. The Tholos temple, built in the early 4th century BC, has an unusual circular shape. This shape, and the leaf-adorned capitals of its Corinthian columns are a representation of the sacred forest groves of the old Earth Goddess religion. Writing in The Earth, The Temple, and The Gods, Vincent Skully comments that "The omphalos, or navel, which was supposed to mark the center of the world, was kept in the sanctuary of Apollo's temple itself (in the center of nearby Delphi), but the Tholos of Athena's sanctuary more clearly seems to evoke the navel of the earth than does any other building there."

Mt. Parnassus, in addition to its other mythological associations, holds a similar position in Greek legends as Mt. Ararat holds in the Old Testament. After the waters of a great flood receded, an ark-like boat carrying Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha landed on Mt. Parnassus. High upon the mountain, Deucalion sought advice from Themis, the resident earth goddess, regarding how to repopulate the earth with humans. Themis instructed Deucalion and Pyrrha to throw rocks over their shoulder, these being the "bones" of the Earth Mother, and that the stones would be transformed into the first human beings. Themis (who was another daughter of Gaia, by Uranus) also figures in an alternate legend of the Delphic oracle. In this account, Themis succeeded Gaia as the guardian of sacred Mt. Parnassus and later instructed Apollo in the arts of prophecy. In these myths, Apollo does not kill the serpent Python, but rather an evil dragoness known as Delphyne. Python then becomes the guardian of Apollo's oracular temple, while Themis continues to reside upon Mt. Parnassus. Mt. Parnassus is also the legendary home of the Muses (three or nine in number according to different legends), these being divine singers and musicians whose music enchanted the gods. The association of the Muses with the mountain has made it a source of poetic inspiration and the favored pilgrimage destination of poets.
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Old February 8th, 2005, 12:16 AM   #3
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Exairetiko thread gia enan pragmatika BREATHTAKING WORLD CLASS arxaiologiko xoro !
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Old February 8th, 2005, 12:26 AM   #4
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Ontos edo mporis na dis poso echi prosferi architektonika alla kai san kultura o ellinismos
kalla polio ides i alli ti egrapsan
Ανατολή η πηγή της ανθρωπότητας καλά αυτί τελικά στον κόσμο τους ζούνε
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Old February 8th, 2005, 12:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by george_ts
Ontos edo mporis na dis poso echi prosferi architektonika alla kai san kultura o ellinismos
kalla polio ides i alli ti egrapsan
Ανατολή η πηγή της ανθρωπότητας καλά αυτί τελικά στον κόσμο τους ζούνε
Giorgo...oute ego to pistevo! Milisa me ton Poliochni kai prepi kati n kanoume. Den boro allo na diavaso tis propagandes tous! Ti protinis na kanoume?

Ego leo na arxiso ena mega thread pou legete: Hellas:H pigi tis anthropotitas. thelo na tous alakso ta fota! Oli tous einai pseftes! Eidika i dio malakes pou lene oti einai "adelfia" mas kai meta grafoun tis malakies pou grafoun.

Oli i elines edo prepi na enothoume mia kai kala. Den einai sosto na afinoume aftes tis psefties apo tous tourkous na ta daivasoun i ksenoi!

Last edited by LEAFS FANATIC; February 8th, 2005 at 12:49 AM.
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Old February 8th, 2005, 12:40 AM   #6
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Please Leaf kane edit ta onomata pou exeis grapsei , gia na min ypopsiastoun tipota !
H kalyteri apantisi einai i pantelis eleipsi opoiasdipote antidrasis.

As asxolithoume me dika mas themata, edo.

Please sbise ta onomata tous. Thanx !
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Old February 8th, 2005, 01:30 AM   #7
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George..About Greek gods or goddess.What do people think about them in Greece?Do you accept them as kings?Who were these people for you?Can you please give some information?Were they just legendary people or real people?
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Old February 8th, 2005, 02:39 AM   #8
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Trully a stunning place!! Thanks george_ts!
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Old February 8th, 2005, 03:03 AM   #9
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George these are really nice pics and I really appreciate your effort...
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Old February 8th, 2005, 03:03 PM   #10
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Delphi is a place of worship, as far as I am concerned. My one and only visit to Delphi was more like a cleansing of my soul... Just like my visits to Olympia. These are sacred areas that deserve respect and admiration.

Thanks for all the great information, George... Keep up the great work!!!
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Old February 8th, 2005, 03:39 PM   #11
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When I was there I felt something but don't know how to describe it

Delphi's nickname is "the navel of the earth"..
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Old February 9th, 2005, 06:46 AM   #12
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Heaps of peopl;e say that when they visit olympia or Delphi (inparticular Greeks,) they feel as though they have been there before even though they have never physically been in there current lifetime. Greece has to be the most powerful country in the world Spiritually
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Old February 9th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #13
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Old February 9th, 2005, 10:25 AM   #14
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ena o Oraculo de Delphos, magnifico!!
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Old March 9th, 2006, 02:03 PM   #15
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Some nice delphi images

















Nice town!
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Old March 9th, 2006, 03:25 PM   #16
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How is it possible that I didnt see this thread till today?!
Here are my pics, taken in July 2005...taking pics in Delphi is like getting inside one of these books of History where I saw these places so many times...
(sorry for the quality, I didnt edit them and flash was not allowed )
Temple

Theater

Tholos

from the museum...Auriga (dont know in english! )

Beautifull Antinoo...sad love story

Athenians treasure

Sybila's rock

and some others...but would be repeating the same so enough no?

filakia
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Old March 9th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #17
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Great photos, arTmisa Many thanks for posting them here!!! Delphi is a must-see for all people - Greeks are no exception.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 06:37 AM   #18
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You must have missed it because its a year old thread! I had images of Delphi to post so I looked it up under the archive and here it is! Thank me for reviving it!
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Old March 10th, 2006, 08:12 AM   #19
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Wow great pictures guys. I especially liked seeing the new town of Delphi.

Delphi was probably inhabited by a Goddess worship cult before Mycenaen culture too so it was already a very ancient place by classical times.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #20
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This is not actually the town of Delphi, its Arahova, the ski destination which is very close to Delphi
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