Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Delphi, or Pytho (mod. Castri), a town of ancient Greece, in Phocis, at the foot of Mount Parnassus, eight miles from the shore of the Gulf of Corinth. It was the great centre of Greek religion, the seat of the most famous oracle and temple of Apollo, the meeting-place of the Amphictyonic Council, and the scene of the Pythian games. It was specially influential in the history of Greek colonisation (since the priesthood who directed the oracle obtained from their numerous visitors the best available geographical information) and during the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. in directing Spartan policy. The prophetic responses of the priestess, who had her seat on a tripod at the mouth of a vapour-breathing cave, were sought not merely by Greeks but by envoys from barbaric nations, and costly gifts poured in from all quarters to enrich the altar of the god. In earliest times the oracle generally delivered itself in verse, but the source of all poetical inspiration found it difficult to satisfy later critics, and fell back, therefore, on prose. The last utterance delivered from the shrine was a wail of despair elicited by Julian the Apostate (362 A.D.) when he purposed to restore the ancient temple, which had frequently been pillaged and destroyed. Excavations have recently (1892) been undertaken on the site under French auspices.