About Delphi city
Welcome to Delphi, Greece
Delphi or Delfoi is situated in Sterea Hellas, specifically in the prefecture of Phokida . It is a mountainous area covered by the Parnassus range and the western branches of mount Helicon. There are many hotels and and guest houses in the town, many taverns and bars. The main streets are narrow, and often one-way.
The town of Delphi and the sanctuary were built on the southern slopes of Parnassos. Delphi with a population of 1,500, is one of the most beautiful and impressing landscapes of Greece, and the centre -”o m p h a l o s “- of the world. The sanctuary is not visible from the sea. That way it was better protected from the pirates who raided the Mediterranean since the 2nd Millenium B.C.
The history of Delphi.
1600 – 1100 B.C. Evidence of an organized settlement was found from the post Helladic era, the one called Mycenaen. They are traces of houses and tombs with important findings such as earthen statuettes, bronze items and jewellery, which were located both at the sanctuary of Apollo and at the sanctuary of Athena Pronoia.
1100- 4th c. B.C. The very few findings of this era, the so called dark years, prove the fact that Delphi did not escape the fate of the rest of Greece which is disturbed by movements and raids of new populations and new races. Towards the end of the 9th c. B.C. however findings become more frequent and it seems that it is then when the worship of Apollo was introduced.
8 th – 4 th c. B.C. From the 8th c. B.C. and then the sanctuary evolves rapidly into an important religious and intellectual centre for the Greeks. It increased in size and was adorned with a host of monuments, statues and other offerings. One could count more statues than people in this area. Nero Alone seized five hundred statues from there in 67 A.D. But this sanctuary knew how to give such weight to its oracles that it influenced not only the activities of the individuals who sought advice but also the most important areas of the public life of the Greek town – states: commerce, legislature , war undertakings and colonization. The fame of the oracle travelled beyond the boundaries of the Greek world very fast. Kings from faraway countries, such as King Midas, offered precious treasures to god. In 6th c. B.C. the temple was destroyed and The Pharaoh of Egypt Ammasis dispatched enormous amounts of money to reconstruct it. The rapid development of Delphi caused their neighbour’s envy and greed. As a result Delphi had to participate in 4 big sacred wars in order to maintain its independency. At first Delphi disengaged from the guardianship of neighbouring Chrissa and proceeded to an Amphictyony of the towns of the central Greece and Thassaly.
3 rd c.B.C. – 4 th c. A.D. The sanctuary lost some of its authority but not its glory. It kept being adorned with monuments, only now most of them were offerings and statues of powerful leaders who aspire to demonstrate their power this way and propagandise for themselves. In 279 B.C Galatian hordes under the leadership of Vrennos attacked Delphi to loot the sanctuary, but once again, god intervened and sending storms and rocks drove the enemy away. Later in time, Roman emperors, such as August, Hardian and Antonios , despite the fact that he transferred a lot of offerings to Rome, favored the sanctuary in many ways. Nether less closure was approaching as skepticism was dominating. Lucian openly scoffed at the gods and oracles while, in parallel , a new religion was rising, Christianity. Constantine the Great transferred a lot of offerings to Constantinople to adorn the new capital city. And when the Emperor Julian (360 – 363 A.D) in his despite attempt to revive the old religion sent Horebasius to the oracle, Pythia gave him the last “prophesy” sealing the end of the antiquity:
“Tell the King the adorned yards were down, lost,
Phoebus has no hut any longer, neither foretelling has laurel,
Nor a speaking spring, and the talkative water fell silent”