Situated in continental Greece on Mount Parnassus, Delphi was considered to be one of the most important cities of ancient Greece. It was believed to be home to the goddess Gaia, or Earth, and later to Apollo after slaying Gaia’s son, the snake Python. The Pythian games—similar to the Olympic Games—were held here every four years to honour Apollo’s slaying of the Python dragon.

Delphi was once considered the centre of the world because the eagles of the East and West were said to meet here, and became a famous Greek centre during the 7 th century BCE—complete with a theatre, gymnasium, stadium, and hippodrome—where treasuries from all over Greece were said to be kept.

However, the Oracle was the most eminent feature of Delphi, and some of the most important people from all over Greece—including demigods, according to Greek mythology—visited here seeking advice.

Also according to the mythology, sacred weapons were used in Delphi to defeat invaders. One such story describes the Persian invasion of Greece. It was said that Xerxes ordered a large force to attack Delphi, and when Apollo intervened and gave sacred weapons to the defenders, those weapons reigned down thunderstorms and tore large parts of rock from the mountain, destroying a large part of the Persian army. The remainder of the army was then chased by two supernatural soldiers, Greek heroes.

It is common for such accounts to be dismissed as fanciful myths and legends, but what purpose would an advanced civilization have for transforming historical accounts of wars and invasions into fairy-tales?  It seems far more likely that these accounts describe actual events which could not be understood or explained using the language, experience and knowledge of the time.  The depiction of ‘Gods’ brandishing sacred weapons, for example, may represent visitation by extra-terrestrials who possessed technology or weapons.  For a civilization who had never seen flying objects in the sky or advanced technology, a being that possessed such power would surely seem like a God.  

Excavations in Delphi have found evidence of occupation at this site back to 1600 BC. And during the Second World War, the Germans excavated below the Oracle in search for something unknown.

At Delphi you can visit the temple of Apollo, Tholos, and the sacred Castalian spring , as well as the stadium and the museum.

By John Black

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