TRAVEL | Delphi | Summer 2017
"So privily without their leave I went / To Delphi, and Apollo sent me back / Baulked of the knowledge that I came to seek. / But other grievous things he prophesied, / Woes, lamentations, mourning, portents dire; / To wit I should defile my mother's bed / And raise up seed too loathsome to behold, / And slay the father from whose loins I sprang."
Who could forget that story? Continuing from Pompeii, the tour of ancient historical sites I studied in Year 11 Classics brought us to Greece (via my first flight on Alitalia), and specifically the excavations of Delphi. The above quote is from Oedipus Rex, Sophocles great Greek tragedy, in which Delphi (and its famous Sphinx) play a significant role. In fact, Delphi is very prominent in Greek mythology as it was home to the Oracle of Apollo, who would field questions and interpret answers from Apollo, god of sun, light, music, and knowledge (you may recall the story of Croesus who sought direction from the Oracle regarding war with the Persians, only to fall in arrogance after misapplying the response he received).
Two notes on Delphi: (1) it is in an absolutely beautiful area of Greece. I'm not sure I expected this sort of landscape in this country. The view from the ruins of Delphi (which includes a theatre and arena at the top of a mountain) was absolutely breathtaking. We also were able to enjoy a beautiful morning down at the Itean Gulf at the foot of the mountains. (2) Excavations indicate there was a natural gas chamber below the Temple of Apollo. The Oracle supposedly entered a trance while receiving messages from Apollo...but as far as it is historically accurate, she may have just been high.
All pictures by Karl Magnuson
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L