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Delphic oracle:see DelphiDelphi
, locality in Phocis, Greece, near the foot of the south slope of Mt. Parnassós, c.6 mi (10 km) northeast of the port of Cirrha. It was the seat of the Delphic oracle, the most famous and most powerful of ancient Greece.
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the oracle at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, one of the most ancient religious centers of ancient Greece. Individual citizens as well as government representatives directed questions to the Delphic oracle. The prophetess Pythia, in a state of ecstasy, uttered the answers to the inquirers. These answers were given poetic form by one of the priests and had the value of prophecies given by Apollo. The prophecies of the oracle have been preserved in the works of Herodotus and in other sources. Although the Delphic oracle enjoyed great respect in ancient Greece, the well-known inclination of the Delphic priesthood, the interpreters of the “prophecy,” toward the aristocratic and conservative strata of the Greek city-states (for example, support of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War against Athens) often evoked criticism from progressive public figures and thinkers (Euripides, for example).