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Musings on the Delphic Muteness

The Fathers had little good to say about the town of Delphi and its famously oracular pythoness. Delphi went mute, they said, because Christ had conquered the demons.

Well, Delphi’s back in the news as a tourist draw. Says the Miami Herald’s reporter:

I stood on the ancient ground where Agamemnon, Socrates and Cicero, among others, had humbly stood, hoping to get answers to their big questions.

I was alone outside the ruined Temple of Apollo, where for more than 1,000 years the Oracle of Delphi enigmatically answered the questions of curious pilgrims — including kings, generals and philosophers. Now, she was silent. But Zeus wasn’t. Thunder shook the ground.

Above me loomed the rain-darkened Phaedriades — or ”Bright Ones” — twin, broad-shouldered limestone cliffs that frame the sacred hollow where the temples, stadiums and shrines of Delphi were built. Once the hub of the religious life of the Greek classical world, Delphi, on a late afternoon in April, played host to one wet tourist and several bored security guards.

I’ll still side with the Fathers and recommend that you save the airfare and kneel down in the nearest parish church.

One thought on “Musings on the Delphic Muteness

  1. Really, this is just part of the neo-pagan revival going on all over the place. Britain is seeing more people heading over to Stonehenge and such sites around summer solstace. Ancient Greeks sites are getting more neo-pagan types. There has been few revival of the cults and none that I know of on the actual sites. This sounds to me as romantic antiquarianism. Mind you, it isn’t going to get the Pythia to talk either.


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