Priestess Of Delphi. John Collier
Commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus.
The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. The Delphic oracle was established in the 8th century BC.The last recorded response was given in AD 393, when the emperor Theodosius I ordered pagan temples to cease operation.
The lower level of the Temple was reached by steps at one corner, and it is said that intoxicating fumes rose from a cleft in the floor near the center of the chamber, which were believed to be the smell from the decaying Python which Apollo is said to have killed.
The most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god Apollo.
Though little is known of how the priestess was chosen, the Pythia was probably selected, at the death of her predecessor, from amongst a guild of priestesses of the temple. These women were all natives of Delphi and were required to have led a pure life and be of good character.
Although some were married, upon assuming their role as the Pythia, the priestesses ceased all family responsibilities, marital relations, and individual identity.
In the heyday of the oracle, the Pythia may have been a woman chosen from a prominent family, well educated in geography, politics, history, philosophy, and the arts. In later periods, however, uneducated peasant women were chosen for the role, which may explain why the poetic pentameter or hexameter prophecies of the early period, later were made only in prose.