By Michael Scott
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Extra resources for Delphi and Olympia
Sometimes that ambiguity seems to have been taken a step further in the form of a more complex answer, which in turn demanded a process of further interpretation from the consultant. ” The response doesn’t make clear whether it will be Croesus’s empire or that of his enemies. In Herodotus’s narrative, Croesus took it to mean his enemies’, but it turned out to be his own (Croesus lost his kingdom as a result of losing the battle). ” Moreover, and crucially, an ambiguous response demanded further debate and deliberation from the consultant and his city.
22 The initial excavations of the temple found no obvious architectural evidence for such a sunken space, although the latest plan of the (fourth century BC) temple now shows a square room walled off within the cella, which may or may not have been the adyton (see fig. 23 Where did the consultant stand? The issue becomes even more difficult. The famous vase painting of the Pythia on her tripod facing a consultant has traditionally been interpreted as demonstrating that the consultant was in the room, facing the Pythia, delivering his question directly to her and thus hearing her response directly as well (fig.
Apollo’s rejection of the many sites he examines prior to Delphi cites three requirements for his oracular site: tranquillity, accessibility, and poverty of natural resources. 23 It has further been suggested that the foundation of Delphi by Apollo as laid out in the Homeric Hymn also mirrors one of the activities Delphi was (seen to be) heavily involved in during the late eighth–sixth centuries BC: colonization. 25 In so doing, at a time when Delphi’s position in Greek society has come, as we shall see in later chapters, to be associated with the establishment of law, order, and good relations between human and divine, the myths surrounding its origins come to mold that role as one for which Delphi was predestined and has been performing since its inception; indeed the very act of its inception enabled Apollo to establish order over chaos.