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began to ascend an acclivity of Parnassus, the track stony and rough, difficult even to a person on foot. We passed the stream of the Pleistus, which turns an over-shot mill; and, after a wearisome ride of about five hours, alighted at a monastery of the Panagia, or Virgin Mary. We found there a caloyer, or monk, and an old woman, who supplied us with good wine. Our lodging was in the portico of the church, which is supported by broken and ill-matched columns.
Sanctity of Delphi—The Amphictyonic assembly--The oracle
The temple-Its riches-Its decline.
Delphi was the chief and most illustrious city in Phocis. Its sanctity was deduced through a long succession of ages, from a period involved in fable and obscurity. The influence of its god has controlled the councils of states, directed the course of armies, and decided the fate of kingdoms. The ancient history of Greece is full of his energy, and an early register of his authority.
The circumjacent cities were the stewards and guardians of the god.. Their deputies composed the famous Amphictyonic assembly, which once guided Greece. It was convened in spring and autumn at Delphi or Thermopylæ. The Romans abolished that and the Achæan congress, but both were revived. Pausanias, who wrote about the year of the Christian era one hundred and seventy-five, mentions the former as then consisting of thirty persons. They presided at the Pythian games, which were celebrated every fifth
year at Delphi, and bestowed the reward of victory, a crown of laurel.
The oracular power was supposed to reside in a deep cavern, with a small and narrow mouth, said to have been discovered by goatherds, who were inspired by the vapour, which arose out of it, and prophesied as from Apollo. A lofty tripod, decked with laurel, was placed over the aperture. The Pythia or priestess, after washing her body, and especially her hair in the cold water of Castalia, mounted on it, to receive the divine effluvia. She wore a crown of laurel, and shook a sacred tree, which grew by. Sometimes she chewed the leaves ; and the frenzy, which followed, may with probability be attributed to this usage, and the gentler or more violent symptoms to the quantity taken. In one instance the paroxysm was so terrible, that the priests and the suppliants ran away, and left her alone to expire, it was believed, of the god. Her part was unpleasant, but if she declined acting, they dragged her by force to the tripod. The babit of her order was that of virgins. The rules enjoined temperance and chastity, and prohibited luxury in apparel. The season of inquiry was in the spring, during the month called Busius; after which Apollo was supposed to visit the altars of the Hyperboreans. Delphi was conveniently situated for the conflux of votaries, lying in the centre of Greece, and, as was then imagined, of the universe. The god prospered in his business. His servants and priests feasted on the numerous victims, which were sacrificed to him; and the riches of his temple were proverbial, even before the war of Troy.
The temple of A pollo, it is related, was at first a kind of cottage covered with boughs of laurel ; but he was early provided with a better habitation. An edifice of- stone was erected by Trophonius and Agamedes, which subsisted about seven hundred years, and was burned in the year six hundred and thirty six after the taking of Troy, and five hundred and forty eight before Christ. It is' mentioned in the hymn to Apollo ascribed to Homer. An opulent and illustrious family, called Alcmæonidæ, which had fled from Athens, and the tyrant Hippias, contracted with the deputies for the building of a new temple, and exceeded their agreement. The front was raised with Parian marble, instead of the stone called Porus ; · which resembled it in whiteness, but was not so heavy. A Corinthian was the architect. This teinple is described by Pausanias. The pediments were adorned with Diana, and Apollo, and the Muses ; the setting of Phoebus, or the Sun; with Bacchus, and the women called Thyades. The architraves -were decorated with golden armour; bucklers suspended by the Athenians after the battle of Marathon, and shields taken from the Gauls under Brennus. In the portico were inscribed the celebrated maxims of the seven sages of Greece. There was an image of Homer, and in the cell was an altar of Neptune, with statues of the Fates, and of Jupiter and Apollo, who were surnamed Leaders of the Fates. Near the hearth before the altar, at which Neoptolemus the son of Achilles was slain by a priest, stood the iron chair of Pindar. In the sanctuary was an image of Apollo gilded. The inclosure was of great extent, and filled with treasuries, in which many cities had consecrated tenths of spoil taken in war, and with the public donations of renowned states in various ages. It was the grand repository of ancient Greece, in which the labours of the sculptor and statuary, gods, heroes, and illustrious persons, were seen collected and arranged ; the inequalities of
the area, or acclivity, contributing to a full display of the noble assemblage.
It is observed by Strabo that great riches, though the property of a god, are not easily secured. Several attempts to rob Apollo are on record. Neoptolemus was slain, while sacrificing, on suspicion. Xerxes divided his army at Panopeus, and proceeded with the main body through Boeotia into Attica, while a party, keeping Parnassus on the right, advanced along Schiste to Delphi, but was taken with a panic, as 'near Ilium, and fled. This monarch, it is related, was as well apprized of the contents of the temple, and the sumptuous offerings of Halyattes, and Creesus, as of the effects which he had left behind in his own palace. The divine hoard was seized by the Phocensians under Philomelus, and dissi. pated in a long war with the Amphictyons. The Gauls experienced a reception like that of the Persians, and manifested similar dismay and superstition. Sylla, wanting money to pay his army, sent to borrow from the holy treasury, and when his messenger would have frightened him by reporting a prodigy, that the sound of a harp had been heard from within the sanctuary, replied, It was a sign that the god was happy to oblige him. .;
The trade of Apollo, after it had flourished for a long period, was affected by the male practices of some concerned in the partnership, who were convicted of bribery and corruption, and ruined the character of their principal. The temple, in the time of Strabo, was reduced to extreme poverty, but the offerings, which remained, were very numerous. Apollo was silent, except some efforts at intervals to regain his lost credit. Nero attempted to drive him, as it were by violence, from the cavern; killing men at the mouth, and polluting it with blood ; but he lingered on, and would not entirely forsake it. Answers were reported as given by him afterwards, but not without suspicion of forgery. An oracle of Apollo at another place informed the consulters, that he should no more recover utterance at Delphi, but enjoined the continuance of the accustomed offerings. S o Ostrog FBI