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Delphi, The Oracle of Apollo and Theater, Greece, 4th Century BC

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Believed to be the center of the world and the foremost Oracle in ancient Greece, Delphi frequently influenced, even determined the course of ancient history and by extension, our own. Responsible for seeing the future of kings was a mature local peasant woman who's only qualification had to be to have lived a blameless life. Known as the Pythia, the snake woman, she was chosen to sit inside the Temple of Apollo on a tripod over a gash in the rock, and, upon inhaling the psychedelic fumes that emanated from it, to foretell the future for petitioners in cryptic verse. The Pythia's predictions often came true - which is why Delphi enjoyed such a reputation. Reportedly there were three inscriptions on the Temple of Apollo: Know Thyself, Nothing in Excess, Make a Pledge and Mischief is Nigh. The illustration captures the time when in the adjacent theater a poetry and music recital contest is under way.
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June 16 2011, 12:45am

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