Jogging through the ruins

Imagine Greece or Rome at the height of their splendor. Musta been pretty dope, especially considering the alternative - "barbarian lands", IE, anything outside the Polis proper. But all cities fall, eventually, and so I give you redshirt's Thanksgiving 2008 trip to Delphi:
Funny story. I missed the 8 AM bus cuz I went to the wrong subway terminal because apparently with Greek written in English you can spell things any way you want, and so the travel book sent me to the wrong station and even after sprinting, I missed the 8 AM. No problem, I thought, Delphi is open till 5, according to the same travel book. Plenty of time to explore. I catch the 10 AM bus and arrive at Delphi at 1. O hai! Winter hours, we're closing at 3. And so commences redshirt's quick jog through Delphi.
Some columns and tumble down stone and brick. Hop-hop!
Bitchin' amphitheater dudes. Also, vertigo. Hop-hop!
Whoop-Whoop! Top of the hill, home to the Delphi Rams. Fun fact! This stadium was a late addition to the most Holy sacred site of Delphi, a Roman construction. Leave it to the Romans to bring football into the Vatican plus Mecca and Jerusalem combined, figuratively speaking. Savages.
This is it - the Oracle at Delphi. Her temple, at least. Imagine those pillars extending all the way around that central stone structure, with a kick ass roof too. And then imagine standing within such a temple, overlooking that view, on some stormy night in 450BC and a General and entourage arrive in the dead of darkness, seeking prophecy. And some lady would give it to them, high on gas, and thus history unfolds.
Fun fact about Delphi you may not know! The site was not only the location of the famous Oracle, but also served as the bank of ancient Greece. Each major city-state had a building on site dedicated towards storing their wealth. Athens, Sparta, Corinth, you name it - if you were a city-state of any shake, you had gold stored at Delphi. Twas Holy, after all. And who better to protect your money than God?


l.e.s.ter said...

It's amazing that Delphi could ever have been allowed to fall into ruins, and equally amazing that any of it still survives. (And seems to be nearly abandoned in winter.) I read an interesting piece of fiction on the oracle once, The Sibyl by Par Lagerkvist.

Redshirt said...

I find it more amazing it survived as intact as it is. The early Christians were quite robust in attacking "pagan" sites and it don't get more pagan then Delphi.

Greece as a whole was empty of tourists around Thanksgiving. Excellent time to go - except not now, since sadly the country is in full on riot mode.