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May 28: Delphi August 3, 2010

Posted by msmith78 in Uncategorized.

Athena Pronaia

“before the Temple”  This was a welcoming spot for visitors before entry into the holy assent. The terminus section is the section of Dionysus in Athens.


This is the circular temple and considered one of the best of brick construction; constructed in 380-370 BC.  Theodrous was the architect.  It is unknown who it was dedicated to but it was said to have protected Delphi from the invasion of the Persians.  There is a monument to Phylakes here.  It contains 20 Doric columns with Corinthian columns outside.  It was the first time that Doric and Corinthian were combined in a structure.  It used Eleusinian marble as a black marble base.  The use of two colors and circular columns was notable. The Temple of Apollo Bassa was first built on this site.

Treasury de Marseille

These treasuries were like museums where gifts from the respective cities would put their gifts and people could visit and aw over the different offerings. They were also a means of competition between the cities.


These were formal places to teach and train which were basic complexes in city planning. They held space for physical training, reading, baths, teaching, and storing books. The paradromis was an outdoor track for running next to the xystos or enclosed running track.


This is where the two mountains meet and the sacred spring runs. The oracle or priestess(Kastalia) would cleanse herself in this spring as part of the ritual.

Siphnus Treasury

It is Ionic architecture. The silver and gold mines in the Cyclades funded the little treasury. It has a distyle pronaos. It is famous for its sculptures in the frieze work which is now in the museum.

Athenian Treasury

This was rebuilt in the early 1900s. It is made of Parian marble with metopes depicting the labors of Hercules. The treasure inside was booty from the battle of Marathon in 490 BC. It is Doric distyle.

Rock of Sibyl

This is where the first oracle was said to have sat and the subsequent oracles followed the tradition. It sat over the naval of the earth where the Python was slain by Apollo; the Python’s roting corpse fumes were what the oracle would inhale when channeling Apollo (Apollo Pythious; “to rot”). The spot of the slaying is marked by the column of Naxiots.


This government center was unique in that it represented the all of the Greeks who venerated Apollo at this location; it was a anphictyony or league. It was especially important during the 8th century BC when colonization was expanding. The oracle was always consulted during the founding of a colony. Delphi means “brotherhood”; therefore the religious center acted equally as a political construct to connect the whole greek world. First the league only involved those around Delphi in the area known as Phocea, but then as the influence of the oracle spread the ruling body grew to include areas like Alexandria and Macedonia.

Temple of Apollo

The remains left today are the foundations of the sixth temple. It is of the Doric order, peripteral with six by fifteen columns, and it has a distyle opisthodomus and pronaos in antis. The design of this temple suggests that it was following an archaic past or established design. The oracle was approached in this space, but in a secret underground chamber to which she had her own entrance. The chasma where she inhaled the fumes was also located here. The orientation of the long structure is in line with the plateau surface of the hill.  The process that the oracle had to go through to prepare herself was very dangerous and many oracles died during the process and from the process.


This was the sacred area of the oracle complete with the mantio where the oracle gives her message. It was located within the segregated area of the aois proper.


There was a celebration every four years complete with plays and athletic events held here.


This area was excavated first by the Germans. When the French took over the project they joined with the Greek government to reclaim the area for exploration from the village that was on top of the ruins. Although I see the importance of discovery and clearing a space to create truer surroundings to exhibit your finding, I have not been able to accept the concept of forcing the tenants to leave their homes and family histories associated with the town that was evacuated. I still haven’t been able to justify the tearing own and tracking middle. In reference to the lessening of the dominance of Delphi, the belief in the gods, and maybe even the actual natural vapors being emitted from the mountain, this quote is so perfect.  “The fumes are not as strong as they used to be.” The Greek religion truly did loose its strength as each city-state grew in power; it went from a true belief system to a tradition that was carried on much like I feel my own religion is today. The Catholic faith is faced with becoming just a cultural tradition and at times I feel myself allowing that to happen in my own life. I think this is a good spark to have in my belly for the rest of the trip as we move into the different churches; what role does my faith have in my life?



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