Everything in Moderation


The Day of the Oracle

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Monday was dedicated to the god Apollo and his sacred shrine perched on the side of Mt. Parnassus. It’s quite an amazing place geographically and historically. To get here is extremely difficult. One can only imagine the 3000 ft. ascent by foot or cart from Sparta, Athens or even the Middle East and Rome. And yet, people came from the four corners of the world, purified themselves with fasting and waited until the 7th day of the month. On that day, Pythia, the priestess of Apollo (it was a title) would sit in his temple at the top of the shrine, chew laurel tree leaves, breathe in the vapors from a crack in the center of the temple and fall into a trance or fit of convulsions. She would then utter a prophecy answering the pilgrims questions. She told the famous Croesus, kind of Lydia, not to fight the Persians. He didn’t listen. He lost. She told friends of Socrates that Socrates was the wisest man. He didn’t believe it. He died. She told the Athenians to run away from Xerxes and the Medes as the invaded Greece. They did listen. They survived. This was the site we visited, with it’s treasuries, temples and theaters. Unfortunately, no oracle was pronounced today.

After our visit to the site and museum, we settled in for the long trip back to Athens. We will have a quick overnight there and early the next day, we will be in Santorini for the next leg of the trip.