Shaping the Future of the Past

Delphi - a small town built into the hillside under Mt Parnassus...

...overlooking the Gulf of Corinth.

Just a small town, three hours drive from Athens.


Γνώθι σεαυτόν

But in antiquity, it was the home of the Pythian Oracle, the most famous prophet in Greece.

People came from all over Greece, from all over the known world to consult the Oracle in the sanctuary of Apollo before taking important decisions.

Cities and individuals, bringing rich offerings...

...seeking advice.

And the Oracle gave them famously ambiguous replies.

The most famous of these was Croesus, the legendary king of Lydia. The richest man in the world. Even today, all over Europe in various languages, we say: 'Rich as Croesus.'

Contemplating war with Persia, Croesus sent for advice to Delphi. "If you go to war, a great empire will fall," came the cryptic reply. Croesus thought he understood. He went to war... and a great empire fell.


In 480 BC, the Persian army, having forced the pass of Thermopylae, turned towards Delphi. Xerxes wanted the treasures of Apollo, the rich offerings left by Croesus...

."Shall we bury the treasure?" the locals asked the Oracle. "The God can take care of His own," came the haughty reply.

The people of Delphi fled. Only sixty men stayed with the Oracle.

And they saw the Persian army arrive... at the temple of Athena.

This is the view they had. This is where they stood under the columns of the temple of Apollo: watching the Persians approach.

Nothing but divine intervention was going to save Delphi now.

Did it? The Arms of Apollo on Waterblogged Dry Thoughts on Damp Books #greece #books #blog