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Delphi - a load of hot air?

Given that we are trying to understand the impact a fault line can have on people’s lives, our journey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the astonishing Mount Parnassus along the Corinth Rift – a fault line that has potentially influenced more people’s lives than can ever be imagined, depending on what you believe.

For along this fault line lies the home of the Oracle of Delphi – arguably the most important oracle in the classical Greek world. The very rich, the very poor, and everyone in-between would consult the oracle before making any decision.

The Oracle would sit under the lower level of stones

The oracle spoke through a local woman, the Pythia, who was chosen from among the peasants of the area. Records describe how the Pythia would inhale vapours from a fissure in the earth called Adyton. Shortly after she would go into a trance, which enabled her to contact Apollo, the god to whom the oracle was dedicated, and then deliver her answer to the waiting inquirer.

Numerous scientific papers have since shown that two fault lines intersect directly below the Delphic temple releasing hallucinogenic gases such as methane, ethane and ethylene. A build-up of these gases would have meant that the Oracle experienced trances, euphoria, out-of-body sensations and amnesia, as she essentially became high and her answers became incoherent ramblings.

Innocuous as it looks now, it seems that this particular fault line, as well as continuing to influence seismic activity in Athens, may have had a very dramatic influence of all aspects of Greek life many thousands of years ago.

2 Responses to “Delphi – a load of hot air?”

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mel on 12/10/2010 at 9:58 am said :

what a beautiful place.

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