Delphic oracle

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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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, Greece.

Delphic Oracle


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).


Parke, H. W., and D. E. W. Wormell. Delphic Oracle, vols. 1–2. Oxford, 1956.

Delphic oracle

ultimate authority in ancient Greece; often speaks in ambiguous terms. [Gk. Hist.: Leach, 305]
References in periodicals archive ?
Instead of being Hillary's Delphic oracle, she turned into her Andromeda, the helpless girl in Greek mythology who was sacrificed to atone for her mother Cassiopeia's screw-ups.
Why does he put so much emphasis on the interpretation scene by distorting and even inverting the patterns that Delphic oracle stories normally follow?
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In Ancient Greece, people sought the advice of the Delphic Oracle, which spoke on behalf of the sun god Apollo.
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The command to "Know thyself," propounded by the Delphic Oracle, is the motor for both philosophy and tragedy in ancient Greece.
Even to have predicted in 1901 what the state of cryptography would be in 2001 would have required foresight worthy of the Delphic Oracle.
By affirming the Delphic oracle with knowledge of ignorance, Socrates presents a paradox: how could he have lived the best possible human life while simultaneously claiming his own ignorance of virtue?
Next month, a week after Cunningham, the Delphic oracle of modern dance, celebrates his eightieth birthday, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will stage his latest work, Biped, clocked at forty-five minutes, to live music by the British composer Gavin Bryars and his ensemble, with computer-generated decor by Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar.