Building the World

The Oracle at Delphi


Temple of Apollo, Delphi, from Sweet Briar College, at

The Oracle at Delphi is credited as having told the Greeks to settle at Cyrene, among many other prophesies, but who was the Oracle? She has most traditionally been associated with Apollo, but her beginnings were more humble than that. Her powers were actually discovered by a shepherd and his sheep. The shepherd noticed his sheep near a chasm and acting rather strangely; when he went to investigate, he was overcome with a fit. The vapors coming from the cavern that caused the strange behavior in the shepherd and his sheep were the source of the Oracle’s powers.

The Oracle fell from favor with the introduction of Christianity to the area, but she did not fall from interest. More recently a group of scientists studied the prophetic vapors, and discovered that they have a narcotic effect on people, and in large concentrations could send one into a trance similar to that of the Oracle.

To read more please visit National Geographic

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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