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Delphi Delphi

This nOde last updated April 30th, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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Delphi (dèl´fì´)
An ancient town of central Greece near Mount Parnassus. Dating to at least the seventh century B.C.E., it was the seat of a famous internal linkoracle of Apollo.


Delphi, town of ancient Greece, site of the oracle of the god Apollo, situated on the slope of Mount Parnassus. Considered by the ancient Greeks to be the center of the earth, Delphi was originally the site of an oracle of the earth goddess internal linkGaea. According to mythology, Apollo expelled her from the sanctuary, which he then shared with the god internal linkDionysus. The Delphic priests developed a ritual that centered on a priestess called Pythia, whose utterances were considered the words of Apollo. In 356 BC the Phocians seized Delphi, but they were defeated in 346 BC by King Philip II of Macedonia. By the end of the century the Aetolian League controlled Delphi. After the Roman conquest of Greece, and especially after the spread of Christianity, Delphi declined. The oracle continued until CE 390.


Pythian (pîth´ê-en) also Pythic (pîth´îk)  adjective
1.Greek Mythology. Of or relating to Delphi, the temple of Apollo at Delphi, or its oracle.
2.Of or relating to the Pythian games.

[From Latin Pýthius, from Greek Puthios, from Putho, ancient name of Delphi.]


Know thyself.
Inscription on the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, Greece (6th century B.C.).

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internal linkBay (Laurus nobilis)
Also called "laurel," bay leaves were once placed on the heads of headache sufferers and Greek scholars. Today, we still confer a baccalaureate degree, which means "noble berry tree" in French. Crush a leaf and the smell is so internal linkintense it can produce a headache as easily as cure one. Apparently bay has even more interesting properties: the ancient Greek priestesses at Delphi sat over the burning fumes to increase their prophetic visions.

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"...the Great Mother was known as the Queen Bee and her priestesses were internal linkMelissae, the internal linkBees. Pindar says that the Pythian priestess at Delphi was known as the Delphic Bee, and her emblematic bee appeared on Delphic coins. "    - _Dictionary of Symbolic & Mythological Animals_, Cooper
Bee UV

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1994 - i first logged on-line in 1994 using the text based Delphi ISP at 2400 baud.  eventually upgrading to 9600 :)  this signified a new beginning of my on-line experience after being away for internal linkeight years.  during that time i was convinced by people who knew what was best for me that i should stay away from internal linkvirtual communities and toys known as computers.  fortunately, the web hit shortly after and it became less stigmatized to want to stay connected.  - @Om* 10/12/00

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aphex twin selected ambient works vol. 1

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National Post 23 July 2000

The oracle of Delphi - high on ethylene?
[Dallas Morning News]

The ancient oracle of Delphi, in Greece, worked like a internal linktelephone psychic: Someone in need of advice could call on the priestess and get a rambling prophecy. And now the oracle has some science on its side.

The priestess reportedly had visions after inhaling fumes that rose from a chasm beneath the temple at Delphi. But until now scholars rejected the testimony of the ancient writers because no one had ever  found the cleft or the gases. Scientists have recently discovered two  geological faults, intersecting directly under the temple at Delphi,
which could have created a chasm during an earthquake.

Moreover, geologists have measured internal linkhallucinogenic fumes rising from a nearby spring, and narcotic gases preserved within the temple rock.

"Everything fits with the ancient writers being correct," said Jelle de Boer, a geophysicist at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.   "It shows again that many legends have some truth in them."

An Italian geologist has also suggested that the chasm may have been a relic of an ancient earthquake. Luigi Piccardi, of the National  Research Agency in Florence, published his conclusions in this month's issue of Geology.

The Delphic oracle held sway over the Greek religious world for nearly two millennia, from at least 1400 BC to AD 381. Traditionally, she sat  on a tripod over the cleft, waving laurel branches while gripped by  the spirit of prophecy. Different women held the position of oracle,  but all were believed to be the divine mouthpiece for Ge, the Earth mother, and later for Apollo.

The ruins of Apollo's temple, which has been destroyed and rebuilt  several times, still stand outside the modern village of Delphi, at the foot of Mount Parnassus.

A herdsman reportedly discovered the vapours millennia ago. His goats  acted strangely as they grazed near a fissure; coming closer, he breathed in the fumes and entered a prophetic state. A good place for a temple, the locals decided.

Geologists aren't surprised by Delphi's unusual qualities. It lies on the north side of the Gulf of Corinth, an area riddled with faults and often wracked by powerful earthquakes. Two giant plates of Earth's crust converge on the Mediterranean, cracking and straining the ground around Corinth.

Several years ago, de Boer established the behaviour of a fault running east to west beneath the temple. More recently, his group discovered that a second fault runs from north to south.

And where the faults cross, a chasm could have formed. French archeologists excavated the temple earlier this century and found no sign of a chasm, but they didn't dig all the way down to bedrock, de Boer said.

If they had, they might have discovered evidence of recurring earthquakes, each of which could release a new
burst of gases from the depths. For instance, the earthquake that destroyed the Delphi temple in 373 BC may have caused one of the most powerful breaks along the east-west fault, Piccardi proposes in his paper.

Meanwhile, de Boer's team has chiselled samples of travertine, a  calcium-rich rock deposited by springs, from a
temple wall. The travertine held tiny internal linkbubbles of ancient methane and ethane gas -- both of which would have come from the depths and can have slight narcotic effects.

Even more compelling, de Boer said, a nearby spring still releases small amounts of ethylene, a sweet-smelling gas
once used as an anesthetic. Higher doses can act as a mild narcotic, inducing a internal linkdream-like state without causing fainting -- just what the oracle may  have experienced, he said.

De Boer now hopes to identify the carved stones used to channel fumes directly to the oracle.

Science can never determine exactly how the oracle made her prophecies, de Boer acknowledged. But it can show
the ingredients to back up the legend really exist.

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