Delphi is famous as the ancient sanctuary of the oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The Greeks considered Delphi the center of the world. Delphi had a phenomenal influence in the ancient world. This influence is evident from the rich monuments built there by most of the important ancient Greek city-states, demonstrating their fundamental Hellenic unity. Today it is an archaeological site near a small modern town of the same name.
- Delphi Archaeological Museum houses the discoveries made at the sanctuary of Delphi, which dates from the Mycenean period to the early Byzantine era. The museum displays statues, architectural elements, and votive offering.
- The Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia is a group of buildings comprising of temples and treasuries as well as the famous Tholos of Delphi and the Temple of Athena Pronaia. The sanctuary of Athena Pronaia was the first sanctuary that visitors coming to Delphi on foot from the eastern road would encounter. Excavations have proved that at the sanctuary was built on an older cult site, possibly dedicated to ‘Gaia’ meaning the Earth.
- Delphi is renowned as the ancient sanctuary, which was the home of the Oracle of Delphi, which was consulted about vital decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The Greeks considered Delphi the navel of the world. The Oracle had a lasting influence in the ancient world.
Temple of Apollo (Delphi)
- The Temple of Apollo housed the innermost sanctuary which was the center of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia. The temple had the statement “Know thyself,” carved on the entrance. The temple ruins visible today, date from the 4th century BC, and are of a Doric temple of 6 by 15 columns. It was erected on the remains of numerous earlier temples, the earliest having been constructed before 7th-century BC.
- The Athenian Treasury at Delphi was constructed by the Athenians to house dedications and votive offerings made by their city to the Sanctuary of Apollo, at Delphi. It is located below the Temple of Apollo along the Sacred Way. This location allowed all visitors to see the Athenian treasury on their procession up to the sanctuary. Several other city-states also built treasuries in the Panhellenic site of Delphi.
Stoa of the Athenians
- The Stoa of the Athenians is an ancient portico in the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. It was constructed during the early Classical period as a one-sided stoa with an Ionic colonnade. The Stoa was built against the polygonal wall supporting the terrace of the Temple of Apollo. The portico was constructed after the naval victories against the Persians and was used for storing the war spoils, mainly from maritime victories.
Theatre at Delphi
- The ancient theatre at Delphi was built up the hill from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the valley below. It was initially built in the 4th century BC but was remodeled on several occasions, particularly in 160 B.C. and again in 67 A.D. on the occasion of Emperor Nero’s visit.
Tholos of Delphi
- The Tholos of Delphi is among the most recognized ancient structures of the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia in Delphi. A tholos is an architectural feature that was widely used in the classical world. It is a round structure, built upon a podium, with a ring of columns supporting a roof. This circular temple shares the Sanctuary of Athena with other ancient foundations belonging to the Temple of Athena Pronaia, located less than a mile east of the leading Archaeological Site of Delphi.
Manumission Inscriptions at Delphi
- This 2,000-year-old inscription represents the act of liberating a slave in antiquity. Most of the inscriptions discovered at Delphi are manumission inscriptions, of which there are over one thousand. Most of the dedications date from 200 B.C. to 100 A.D. Manumission was an act of liberating a slave in antiquity.
- The Delphic Maxims are a set of aphorisms inscribed at Delphi. A maxim is a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or a rule of conduct. The original authorship of the Delphic Maxims is uncertain, and most likely they were popular wisdom, which later was attributed to particular gods or sages. Perhaps the most famous of these maxims is ‘know thyself,’ which was carved into the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The Temple of Apollo housed the innermost sanctuary which was the center of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia.
Greek Proverbs and Quotes
“The Oracle is at Delphi neither reveals nor conceals, but gives a sign.”
Photo Credit: JOM