Monday, October 8, 2012

Delphi - The Bellybutton of the Ancient World

I always knew that Delphi is a real place but since I never had the opportunity of visiting it, I had this impression of it being more mythological real, a place in between the worlds, in between earth and sky and being claimed by both. 

Recently I had the chance to visit Delphi and I must tell you, I wasn't very far from reality. Delphi looks suspended in mid air, staring at the Gods while pulling the strings of the humans. 

The ancient Greeks seem to have been very inspired in choosing this place. The view from it is breath taking even now, after thousands of years. 
Delphi, was not only a place of Gods, temples and prayers, it was also a very important cultural and economical center. Since it was sacred ground and no war could touch it, arts, sports, businesses, they all developed and flourished undisturbed. You can think of ancient Delphi a bit like the New York of our times.

This place was the center of the Earth or at least that is what they used to believe. 
The Bellybutton of the World

One of the many legends regarding this rock says that Zeus, wanting to find  the center of the Earth, sent his eagles around the world. When they found the place, Zeus threw a stone to mark it and for everyone to know. 
Another legend, one that I like more, is that this rock is the one that Rhea, Zeus' mother, gave to Chronos to swallow in order to save her son. 

 A funny story about this stone is that in Greek the bellybutton of the world is called "ο οφαλος της Γης" read "o ofalos". Since "ofalos" and "o falos" are pretty close you will probably have the surprise of people in Greece knowing the rock to be "the falus" of the world and not the bellybutton.

Apollo's Temple
The Temple of Apollo was also the home to Pythis, Oracle of Delphi, the most important oracle in the ancient world. The Pythia was priestess of Apollo and was chosen only when the previous Oracle had died. The woman chose to be The Pythia had to cut all ties with her previous life, even if she was married or had children, and dedicate her life to Apollo.

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

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