Ancient Delphi w. Dr Michael Scott

In the ancient period, Delphi offered highly sought-after oracular services, hosted quadrennial sporting games, and was a nexus for culture and information sharing. Dr Michael Scott, Professor of Classics and Ancient History, Warwick University, joins the show to discuss Delphi in the ancient period.

Some topics explored

  • Delphi coming into the records as a religious sanctuary in the 8th BCE
  • Popular originating traditions about Delphi, including Apollo’s relationship to it and a tradition by the Greek travel writer Strabo
  • The Homeric Hymn to Apollo
  • Tradition that Apollo being in residence in Delphi for nine months of the year
  • A woman who provided oracular services at Delphi: Known as the Oracle, Pythia, or Priestess of Delphi
  • The multitude of ways that ancient Greeks consulted the deities
  • Delphi’s oracular services
  • Delphi as a Greek polis
  • How the oracular services worked including services being available for one day per year for nine months of the year
  • The queuing system that determined who could see the oracle and in what order
  • A known fee charged to consult the oracle
  • Examples of oracular predictions
  • How the oracular predictions were structured to insulate the Pythia from being categorically wrong in her predictions
  • Support personnel for the oracle
  • The Delphi sporting games which occurred quadrennial (i.e., once every four years)
  • Delphi as a cultural & information sharing hub
  • When the oracular consultation services ended (4th century CE) and tradition that providing final oracular services to the Roman Emperor Julien
  • Delphi embracing Christianity when it became popular in Rome
  • When the sporting games ended (5th century CE) and why

Listen to the episode

The episode can be streamed below and is also available on major podcast apps: Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Amazon Music.

Show Notes

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