The Oracle of Delphi

The oracle of Delphi, located in the temple dedicated to Apollo of the sanctuary of the same name at the foot of Mount Parnassus, in Greece, was one of the most important religious centers of the Hellenic world.

To consult it was necessary to move to the sacred precinct, to offer to Apollo a cake made with honey and to sacrifice a goat, that was burned in a bonfire sprinkling it with water. If the body of the poor animal trembled during the offering, it meant that Apollo would agree to speak.

The oracle was in charge of an old woman, the Pitia, and a man, the Prophet. After the question asked by the petitioner, the priestess, installed in the crypt of the temple and leaning on her tripod, was in communication with the god. Meanwhile, she chewed laurel leaves, sprinkled flour and drank long swallows of the water that flowed from the sacred fountain. If her words, as often happened, were absurd or unintelligible, the Prophet was there to help interpret them.

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