Distant Deities, Central Places

Conference Paper

Session 1: Origins, Functions and Change
Thursday 2023-04-06
15:00 | 18:00

Delphi, its town and nature

Jean Marc Luce (University of Toulouse), 2023-04-06, Time: 17:20 - 18:00


Delphi’s relationship to Nature is paradoxical. On one hand, the sanctuary of Apollo, where the Pythia was sitting, laid inside a town. Not a small village, rather a middle size town of at least 5000 people, probably even more in some periods. The sanctuary did not sit on the border, but was enveloped by houses on the Eastern, Western and Southern side, not so much on the Northern. On the other hand, poetry, when referring to Delphi, is almost silent about the town, but emphasizes on the natural landscape: mostly surrounding mountains, natural sources, vegetation. The purpose of this paper is to analyse this strange paradox, in the light of the French School’s new program on the town of Delphi, and, based on a comparison with Olympia, to question the panhellenic nature of the site.


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