THE DELPHIC ORACLE 

         Pythia, also referred to as the Oracle of Delphi, was the most famous prophetess in the ancient Greek world.  She was said to receive her prophecies directly from
Apollo, the God of Truth.  Near Delphi, a city-state built into the slopes of Mount Parnassus, stood her temple.  Written in letters of gold over the threshold were many wise sayings, including the two most famous:  "Nothing in Excess" and "Know Thyself." 
         Deep within the temple was the Oracle's sanctuary where she perched on a high,
gilded, three-legged stool over a crack in the ground.  Strange fumes came up from this crack, and as the Oracle breathed these fumes, she uttered her prophecies.  Some visitors to the Oracle claimed that she spoke in Greek, while others said she babbled incoherently and another priestess translated.               
         The Delphic Oracle was one of the most influential forces in the ancient Greek world.  Kings consulted her before they began a war, and young men consulted her before they sought their fortunes.  The last prophecy uttered by the Delphic Oracle was in 393 A.D. when the newly Christianized Roman Empire declared all activity in pagan temples to cease.


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ABOVE:  Alexander the Great Waits To Speak with the Oracle

BELOW:  A Messenger Delivers the Message of the Oracle to His King