Earlier myths include traditions that Pythia, or the Delphic oracle, already was the site of an important oracle in the pre-classical Greek world (as early as 1400 BC) and, rededicated from about 800 BCE, when it served as the major site during classical times for the worship of the god Apollo. Apollo was said to have slain Python, "a dragon" who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth. "Python" (derived from the verb πύθω, "to rot") is claimed by some to be the original name of the site in recognition of Python which Apollo defeated.
Others relate that it was named Pytho and that Pythia, the priestess serving as the oracle, was chosen from their ranks by a group of priestesses who officiated at the temple. Apollo's sacred precinct in Delphi was a panhellenic sanctuary, where every four years, starting in 586 BC athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the four panhellenic (or stephanitic) games, precursors of the Modern Olympics. The victors at Delphi were presented with a laurel crown (stephanos) which was ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy who re-enacted the slaying of the Python. Delphi was set apart from the other games sites because it hosted the "mousikos agon", musical competition.
This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
|Model of a reconstruction of the Delphi site|
|Temple of Apollo|
|The tholos of Athena Pronaia|
|The bronze charioteer|
|Statue of Socrates|
|Archaic ivory and gold statue fragments|
|Statue of Antinoos|
|North Frieze of the Siphnian Treasury|