Calydon or Kalydon was a Greek city in ancient Aetolia, situated on the west bank of the river Evenus, 7.5 Roman miles from the sea. Its name is most famous today for the Calydonian Boar that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. According to Greek mythology, Calydon was founded by Aetolus in the land of the Curetes, was called Calydon, after the name of his son, Calydon. Calydon and the neighbouring town of Pleuron are said by Strabo to have been once the "ornament" of Greece, but by his time had sunk into insignificance, it is mentioned in the Iliad by Homer, who celebrates the fertility of the plain of "lovely" Calydon. In the earliest times the inhabitants of Calydon appear to have been engaged in incessant hostilities with the Curetes, who continued to reside in their ancient capital Pleuron, who endeavoured to expel the invaders from their country. A vivid account of one of the battles between the Curetes and Calydonians is given in an episode of the Iliad; the heroes of Calydon are among the most celebrated of the heroic age.
It was the residence of Oeneus, father of Tydeus and Meleager, grandfather of Diomedes. In the time of Oeneus Artemis sent a monstrous boar to lay waste the fields of Calydon, hunted by Meleager and numerous other heroes; the Calydonians took part in the Trojan War under the son of Oeneus. Calydon is not mentioned in the historical period. In 391 BC we find it in the possession of the Achaeans, but we are not told how it came into their hands. In the above-mentioned year the Achaeans at Calydon, were so hard pressed by the Acarnanians that they applied to the Lacedaemonians for help. Calydon remained in the hands of the Achaeans till the overthrow of the Spartan supremacy by the Battle of Leuctra, when Epaminondas restored the town to the Aetolians. In the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey it still appears as a considerable place, it continues however to be mentioned by the geographers. Calydon was the headquarters of the worship of Artemis Laphria, when the inhabitants of the town were removed to Nicopolis, Augustus gave to Patrae in Achaea the statue of this goddess which had belonged to Calydon.
There was a statue of Dionysus at Patrae, removed from Calydon. Near Calydon there was a temple of Apollo Laphrius, its site is located north of the modern Evinochori. One of the four tunnels Motorway 5 consists of crosses near the ruins of Calydon and is named the Calydon Tunnel after it. Previous and more recent excavations have revealed many buildings including: the Hellenistic theatre of an unusual square plan the Hellenistic Heroon with a rich tomb underneath the Heroon the Artemis Laphria sanctuary with the temple of Artemis, smaller temple of Apollo, remains of other buildings spanning the Geometric to the Hellenistic period the Lower Acropolis where excavations were carried out uncovering a house from the 2nd cent BC the Lower Town where a peristyle house and kilns were found Many finds from the site including ancient terracottas from the temple of Artemis are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Agrinion and in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Calydonian Boar Oeneus Meleagros This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed..
"Calydon". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray
Aeschylus was an ancient Greek tragedian. He is described as the father of tragedy. Academics' knowledge of the genre begins with his work, understanding of earlier tragedies is based on inferences from his surviving plays. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in the theater and allowed conflict among them. Only seven of his estimated seventy to ninety plays have survived, there is a long-standing debate regarding his authorship of one of these plays, Prometheus Bound, which some believe his son Euphorion wrote. Fragments of some other plays have survived in quotations and more continue to be discovered on Egyptian papyrus giving further insights into his work, he was the first dramatist to present plays as a trilogy. At least one of his plays was influenced by the Persians' second invasion of Greece; this work, The Persians, is the only surviving classical Greek tragedy concerned with contemporary events, a useful source of information about its period. The significance of war in Ancient Greek culture was so great that Aeschylus' epitaph commemorates his participation in the Greek victory at Marathon while making no mention of his success as a playwright.
Despite this, Aeschylus's work – the Oresteia – is acclaimed by modern critics and scholars. Aeschylus was born in c. 525 BC in Eleusis, a small town about 27 kilometers northwest of Athens, nestled in the fertile valleys of western Attica, though the date is most based on counting back forty years from his first victory in the Great Dionysia. His family was well established; as a youth, he worked at a vineyard until, according to the 2nd-century AD geographer Pausanias, the god Dionysus visited him in his sleep and commanded him to turn his attention to the nascent art of tragedy. As soon as he woke from the dream, the young Aeschylus began to write a tragedy, his first performance took place in 499 BC, when he was only 26 years old, he won his first victory at the City Dionysia in 484 BC. In 510 BC, when Aeschylus was 15 years old, Cleomenes I expelled the sons of Peisistratus from Athens, Cleisthenes came to power. Cleisthenes' reforms included a system of registration that emphasized the importance of the deme over family tradition.
In the last decade of the 6th century and his family were living in the deme of Eleusis. The Persian Wars played a large role in the playwright's career. In 490 BC, Aeschylus and his brother Cynegeirus fought to defend Athens against the invading army of Darius I of Persia at the Battle of Marathon; the Athenians emerged triumphant, a victory celebrated across the city-states of Greece. Cynegeirus, died in the battle, receiving a mortal wound while trying to prevent a Persian ship retreating from the shore, for which his countrymen extolled him as a hero. In 480 BC, Aeschylus was called into military service again, this time against Xerxes I's invading forces at the Battle of Salamis together with his younger brother Ameinias, he fought at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC. Ion of Chios was his contribution in Salamis. Salamis holds a prominent place in The Persians, his oldest surviving play, performed in 472 BC and won first prize at the Dionysia. Aeschylus was one of many Greeks who were initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, an ancient cult of Demeter based in his home town of Eleusis.
Initiates gained secret knowledge through these rites concerning the afterlife. Firm details of specific rites are sparse, as members were sworn under the penalty of death not to reveal anything about the Mysteries to non-initiates. According to Aristotle, Aeschylus was accused of revealing some of the cult's secrets on stage. Other sources claim that an angry mob tried to kill Aeschylus on the spot. Heracleides of Pontus asserts, he took refuge at the altar in the orchestra of the Theater of Dionysus. At his trial, he pleaded ignorance, he was acquitted, with the jury sympathetic to the military service of Aeschylus and his brothers during the Persian Wars. According to the 2nd-century AD author Aelian, Aeschylus's younger brother Ameinias helped to acquit Aeschylus by showing the jury the stump of the hand that he lost at Salamis, where he was voted bravest warrior; the truth is that the award for bravery at Salamis went not to Aeschylus' brother but to Ameinias of Pallene. Aeschylus travelled to Sicily once or twice in the 470s BC, having been invited by Hiero I of Syracuse, a major Greek city on the eastern side of the island.
By 473 BC, after the death of Phrynichus, one of his chief rivals, Aeschylus was the yearly favorite in the Dionysia, winning first prize in nearly every competition. In 472 BC, Aeschylus staged the production that included the Persians, with Pericles serving as choregos. In 458 BC, he returned to Sicily for the last time, visiting the city of Gela where he died in 456 or 455 BC. Valerius Maximus wrote that he was killed outside the city by a tortoise dropped by an eagle which had mistaken his ba
Plutarch named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were intended for both Greek and Roman readers. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea, about 80 kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region of Boeotia, his family was wealthy. The name of Plutarch's father has not been preserved, but based on the common Greek custom of repeating a name in alternate generations, it was Nikarchus; the name of Plutarch's grandfather was Lamprias, as he attested in Moralia and in his Life of Antony. His brothers and Lamprias, are mentioned in his essays and dialogues, which speak of Timon in particular in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus, in his 1624 work Life of Plutarchus, recovered the name of Plutarch's wife, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not to grieve too much at the death of their two-year-old daughter, named Timoxena after her mother.
He hinted at a belief in reincarnation in that letter of consolation. The exact number of his sons is not certain, although two of them and the second Plutarch, are mentioned. Plutarch's treatise De animae procreatione in Timaeo is dedicated to them, the marriage of his son Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner parties recorded in the "Table Talk". Another person, Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere stated, his treatise on marriage questions, addressed to Eurydice and Pollianus, seems to speak of the latter as having been an inmate of his house, but without any clear evidence on whether she was his daughter or not. Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67. At some point, Plutarch received Roman citizenship; as evidenced by his new name, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, his sponsor for citizenship was Lucius Mestrius Florus, a Roman of consular status whom Plutarch used as a historical source for his Life of Otho.
He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, was initiated into the mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. For many years Plutarch served as one of the two priests at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the famous Delphic Oracle, twenty miles from his home. By his writings and lectures Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman Empire, yet he continued to reside where he was born, participated in local affairs serving as mayor. At his country estate, guests from all over the empire congregated for serious conversation, presided over by Plutarch in his marble chair. Many of these dialogues were recorded and published, the 78 essays and other works which have survived are now known collectively as the Moralia. In addition to his duties as a priest of the Delphic temple, Plutarch was a magistrate at Chaeronea and he represented his home town on various missions to foreign countries during his early adult years. Plutarch held the office of archon in his native municipality only an annual one which he served more than once.
He undertook the humblest of duties. The Suda, a medieval Greek encyclopedia, states that Emperor Trajan made Plutarch procurator of Illyria. However, most historians consider this unlikely, since Illyria was not a procuratorial province, Plutarch did not speak Illyrian. According to the 8th/9th-century historian George Syncellus, late in Plutarch's life, Emperor Hadrian appointed him nominal procurator of Achaea – which entitled him to wear the vestments and ornaments of a consul. Plutarch spent the last thirty years of his life serving as a priest in Delphi, he thus connected part of his literary work with the sanctuary of Apollo, the processes of oracle-giving and the personalities who lived or traveled there. One of his most important works is the "Why Pythia does not give oracles in verse". More important is the dialogue "On the E in Delphi", which features Ammonius, a Platonic philosopher and teacher of Plutarch, Lambrias, Plutarch's brother. According to Ammonius, the letter E written on the temple of Apollo in Delphi originated from the following fact: the wise men of antiquity, whose maxims were written on the walls of the vestibule of the temple, were not seven but five: Chilon, Thales and Pittakos.
However, the tyrants Cleobulos and Periandros used their political power in order to be incorporated in the list. Thus, the E, which corresponds to number 5, constituted an acknowledgment that the Delphic maxims originated from the five real wise men; the portrait of a philosopher exhibited at the exit of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, dating to the 2nd century AD, had been in the past identified with Plutarch. The man, although bearded, is depicted at a young age, his hair and beard are rendered in thin incisions. The gaze is due to the heavy eyelids and the incised pupils; the portrait is no longer thought to represent Plutarch. But a fragmentary hermaic stele next to the portrait did once bear a portrait of Plutarch, since it is inscribed, "The Delphians along with the Chaeroneans dedicated this to Plutarch, following the precepts of the Amphictyony". Plutarc
Athena or Athene given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom and warfare, syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across Greece the city of Athens, from which she most received her name, she is shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls, olive trees and the Gorgoneion. From her origin as an Aegean palace goddess, Athena was associated with the city, she was known as Polias and Poliouchos, her temples were located atop the fortified Acropolis in the central part of the city. The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis is dedicated to her, along with numerous other temples and monuments; as the patron of craft and weaving, Athena was known as Ergane. She was a warrior goddess, was believed to lead soldiers into battle as Athena Promachos, her main festival in Athens was the Panathenaia, celebrated during the month of Hekatombaion in midsummer and was the most important festival on the Athenian calendar.
In Greek mythology, Athena was believed to have been born from the head of her father Zeus. In the founding myth of Athens, Athena bested Poseidon in a competition over patronage of the city by creating the first olive tree, she was known as Athena Parthenos, but, in one archaic Attic myth, the god Hephaestus tried and failed to rape her, resulting in Gaia giving birth to Erichthonius, an important Athenian founding hero. Athena was the patron goddess of heroic endeavor. Along with Aphrodite and Hera, Athena was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War, she plays an active role in the Iliad, in which she assists the Achaeans and, in the Odyssey, she is the divine counselor to Odysseus. In the writings of the Roman poet Ovid, Athena was said to have competed against the mortal Arachne in a weaving competition, afterwards transforming Arachne into the first spider. Since the Renaissance, Athena has become an international symbol of wisdom, the arts, classical learning.
Western artists and allegorists have used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy. Athena is associated with the city of Athens; the name of the city in ancient Greek is Ἀθῆναι, a plural toponym, designating the place where—according to myth—she presided over the Athenai, a sisterhood devoted to her worship. In ancient times, scholars argued whether Athena was named after Athens after Athena. Now scholars agree that the goddess takes her name from the city. Testimonies from different cities in ancient Greece attest that similar city goddesses were worshipped in other cities and, like Athena, took their names from the cities where they were worshipped. For example, in Mycenae there was a goddess called Mykene, whose sisterhood was known as Mykenai, whereas at Thebes an analogous deity was called Thebe, the city was known under the plural form Thebai; the name Athenai is of Pre-Greek origin because it contains the Pre-Greek morpheme *-ān-. In his dialogue Cratylus, the Greek philosopher Plato gives some rather imaginative etymologies of Athena's name, based on the theories of the ancient Athenians and his own etymological speculations: That is a graver matter, there, my friend, the modern interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist in explaining the view of the ancients.
For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that he meant by Athena "mind" and "intelligence", the maker of names appears to have had a singular notion about her. However, the name Theonoe may mean "she who knows divine things" better than others. Nor shall we be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to identify this Goddess with moral intelligence, therefore gave her the name Etheonoe. Thus, Plato believed that Athena's name was derived from Greek Ἀθεονόα, Atheonóa—which the Greeks rationalised as from the deity's mind; the second-century AD orator Aelius Aristides attempted to derive natural symbols from the etymological roots of Athena's names to be aether, air and moon. Athena was the Aegean goddess of the palace, who presided over household crafts and protected the king. A single Mycenaean Greek inscription a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja /Athana potnia/ appears at Knossos in the Linear B tablets from the Late Minoan II-era "Room of the Chariot Tablets". Although Athana potnia is translated Mistress Athena, it could mean "the Potnia of Athana", or the Lady of Athens.
However, any connection to the city of Athens in the Knossos inscription is uncertain. A sign series a-ta-no-dju-wa-ja appears in the still undeciphered corpus of Linear A tablets, written in the unclassified Minoan language; this could be connected with the Linear B Mycenaean expressions a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja and di-u-ja or di-wi-ja (Diwia, "of Zeus" or, possibly
Hecuba was a queen in Greek mythology, the wife of King Priam of Troy during the Trojan War, with whom she had 19 children. These children included several major characters of Homer's Iliad such as the warriors Hector and Paris and the prophetess Cassandra. Ancient sources vary as to the parentage of Hecuba. According to Homer, Hecuba was the daughter of King Dymas of Phrygia, but Euripides and Virgil write of her as the daughter of the Thracian king Cisseus; the mythographers Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus leave open the question which of the two was her father, with Pseudo-Apollodorus adding a third alternative option: Hecuba's parents could as well be the river god Sangarius and Metope. Some versions from non-extant works are summarized by a scholiast on Euripides' Hecuba: according to those, she was a daughter of Dymas or Sangarius by the Naiad Euagora, or by Glaucippe the daughter of Xanthus. A scholiast on Homer relates that Hecuba's parents were either Dymas and the nymph Eunoe or Cisseus and Telecleia.
According to Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars, the emperor Tiberius pestered scholars with obscure questions about ancient mythology, with one of his favorites being "Who was Hecuba's mother?" Hecuba appears six times in the Iliad. In Book 6.326–96, she meets Hector upon his return to the polis and offers him the libation cup, instructing him to offer it to Zeus and to drink of it himself. Taking Hector's advice, she chooses a gown taken from Alexander's treasure to give as an offering to the goddess and leads the Trojan women to the temple of Athena to pray for help. In Book 22, she pleads with Hector not to fight Achilles, for fear of "never get to mourn you laid out on a bier." In Book 24.201–16, she is stricken with anxiety upon hearing of Priam's plan to retrieve Hector's body from Achilles' hut. Further along in the same episode, at 24.287–98, she offers Priam the libation cup and instructs him to pray to Zeus so that he may receive a favourable omen upon setting out towards the Achaean camp.
Unlike in the first episode in which Hector refuses her offer of the cup, Priam accepts and is rewarded with the requested omen. She laments Hector's death in a well-known speech at 24.748–59. The Bibliotheca of Pseudo-Apollodorus states that Hecuba had a son named Troilus with the god Apollo. An oracle prophesied. Troilus is killed by Achilles. Hecuba is a main character in two plays by Euripides: Hecuba; the Trojan Women describes the aftermath of the fall of Troy, including Hecuba's enslavement by Odysseus. Hecuba takes place just after the fall of Troy. Polydorus, the youngest son of Priam and Hecuba, is sent to King Polymestor for safekeeping, but when Troy falls, Polymestor murders Polydorus. Hecuba learns of this, when Polymestor comes to the fallen city, Hecuba, by trickery, blinds him and kills his two sons. A third story says that when she was given to Odysseus as a slave, she snarled and cursed at him, so the gods turned her into a dog, allowing her to escape. In another tradition, Hecuba went mad upon seeing the corpses of her children Polydorus and Polyxena.
Dante described this episode, which he derived from Italian sources: —Inferno XXX: 13–20 Hecuba is referenced in classical literature, in many medieval and modern works. Among the works which are about Hecuba are: Hecuba and The Trojan Women, plays by Euripides The Trojan War Will Not Take Place, play by Jean Giraudoux King Priam, novel by David Park Cortege of Eagles, ballet by Martha Graham Trojan Barbie, play by Christine Evans The House of Hades, novel by Rick Riordan Troy: Fall of a City a miniseries in which Hecuba is portrayed by Frances O'ConnorHecuba is mentioned in: The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant The poem O Fortuna in the Carmina Burana The poem "Fortune plango vulnera" in the Carmina Burana Book 13 of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Letter 47, from the Moral Letters to Lucilius, by Seneca; the poem "The Rape of Lucrece" by William Shakespeare Coriolanus by William Shakespeare Hamlet by Shakespeare Cymbeline by Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida by Shakespeare Hamlet or Hecuba: The Intrusion of the Time into the Play by Carl Schmitt The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton Justice for Hedgehogs by Ronald Dworkin as the drowning swimmer one may or may not have an ethical duty to save As Hakkuba in Philip Armstrong's The Isles of Winter and its sequel, The Towers of Wilusa Helen of Troy by Margaret GeorgeThe name Hecuba or Hecubah appears occasionally: Chapter 14: “Me and Hecuba” in Alan Alda’s memoir Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things I’ve Learned The cat in the movie Drag Me to Hell The chief antagonist in the video game Nox Harold Hecuba, a character in the Gilligan's Island episode "The Producer" Gabrielle's mother in Xena: Warrior Princess As an evil witch in the canceled daytime drama, Passions The cat in the movie I've Been Waiting For You The ex-wife of Merle Highchurch in The Adventure Zone Balance Arc Virgil, Aeneid III.19–68 Homer, Iliad XIV.717–718 Solinus, De vita Caesarum X.22 Lactantius, Divinae institutions I.22 Pomponius Mela, De chorographia II.26 Ovid, Metamorphoses XIII.423–450, 481–571 Euripides, Trojan Women Euripides, Hecuba Tsotakou-Karveli.
Lexicon of Greek Mytho
Mysia was a region in the northwest of ancient Asia Minor. It was located on the south coast of the Sea of Marmara, it was bounded by Bithynia on the east, Phrygia on the southeast, Lydia on the south, Aeolis on the southwest, Troad on the west and by the Propontis on the north. In ancient times it was inhabited by the Mysians, Aeolian Greeks and other groups; the precise limits of Mysia are difficult to assign. The Phrygian frontier was fluctuating, while in the northwest the Troad was only sometimes included in Mysia; the northern portion was known as "Lesser Phrygia" or, while the southern was called "Greater Phrygia" or "Pergamene Phrygia". Mysia was in times known as Hellespontine Phrygia or "Acquired Phrygia", so named by the Attalids when they annexed the region to the Kingdom of Pergamon. Under Augustus, Mysia occupied the whole of the northwest corner of Asia Minor, between the Hellespont and the Propontis to the north and Phrygia to the east, Lydia to the south, the Aegean Sea to the west.
The chief physical features of Mysia are the two mountains—Mount Olympus at in the north and Mount Temnus in the south, which for some distance separates Mysia from Lydia and is afterwards prolonged through Mysia to the neighbourhood of the Gulf of Adramyttium. The major rivers in the northern part of the province are the Macestus and its tributary the Rhyndacus, both of which rise in Phrygia and, after diverging through Mysia, unite their waters below the lake of Apolloniatis about 15 miles from the Propontis; the Caïcus in the south rises in Temnus, from thence flows westward to the Aegean Sea, passing within a few miles of Pergamon. In the northern portion of the province are two considerable lakes, Artynia or Apolloniatis and Aphnitis, which discharge their waters into the Macestus from the east and west respectively; the most important cities were Pergamon in the valley of the Caïcus, Cyzicus on the Propontis. The whole sea-coast was studded with Greek towns, several of which were places of considerable importance.
Further south, on the Eleatic Gulf, were Elaea and Cyme. A minor episode in the Trojan War cycle in Greek mythology has the Greek fleet land at Mysia, mistaking it for Troy. Achilles wounds their king, after he slays a Greek; this coastal region ruled by Telephus is alternatively named "Teuthrania" in Greek mythology, as it was ruled by King Teuthras. In the Iliad, Homer represents the Mysians as allies of Troy, with the Mysian forces led by Ennomus and Chromius, sons of Arsinous. Homeric Mysia appears to have been much smaller in extent than historical Mysia, did not extend north to the Hellespont or the Propontis. Homer does not mention any cities or landmarks in Mysia, it is not clear where Homeric Mysia was situated, although it was located somewhere between the Troad and Lydia/Maeonia. A number of Mysian inscriptions have survived in a dialect of the Phrygian language, written using a variant of the Phrygian alphabet. There are a small number of references to a Lutescan language indigenous to Mysia in Aeolic Greek sources.
Under the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the northwest corner of Asia Minor, still occupied by Phrygians but by Aeolians, was called "Phrygia Minor" - and by the Greeks "Hellespontos". After Rome's defeat of Antiochus the Great in the Roman-Syrian War of 192 to 188 BC, the area, held by the Diadoch Seleucid Empire, passed to Rome's ally, the kingdom of Pergamon, and, on the death of King Attalus III of Pergamon in 133 BC, to Rome itself, which made it part of the province of Asia and a separate proconsular Roman province, called "Hellespontus". According to the Acts of the Apostles, the apostles Paul and Timothy came to Mysia during Paul's second missionary journey; the narrative suggests that they were uncertain where to travel during this part of the journey, being "forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia". Shortly afterwards Paul had a vision of a "man of Macedonia" who invited the apostles to travel westwards to Macedonia; the remains of several Roman bridges can still be found: Aesepus Bridge across the Aesepus Constantine's Bridge across the Rhyndacus Makestos Bridge across the Makestos White Bridge across the Granicus Ancient regions of Anatolia Mysians Mysian language Telephus Aeolis
Delphi also called Pytho, is famous as the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the seat of Pythia, the oracle, consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The ancient Greeks considered the centre of the world to be in Delphi, marked by the stone monument known as the omphalos, it occupies an impressive site on the south-western slope of Mount Parnassus, overlooking the coastal plain to the south and the valley of Phocis. It is now an extensive archaeological site with a small modern town of the same name nearby, it is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in having had a phenomenal influence in the ancient world, as evidenced by the rich monuments built there by most of the important ancient Greek city-states, demonstrating their fundamental Hellenic unity. Delphi is located in upper central Greece, on multiple plateaux along the slope of Mount Parnassus, includes the Sanctuary of Apollo, the site of the ancient Oracle; this semicircular spur is known as Phaedriades, overlooks the Pleistos Valley.
In myths dating to the classical period of Ancient Greece, Zeus determined the site of Delphi when he sought to find the centre of his "Grandmother Earth". He sent two eagles flying from the eastern and western extremities, the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the omphalos, or navel of Gaia was found. Earlier myths include traditions that Pythia, or the Delphic oracle was the site of an important oracle in the pre-classical Greek world and, rededicated from about 800 BC, when it served as the major site during classical times for the worship of the god Apollo. Apollo was said to have slain Python, a "drako" a serpent or a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth. "Python" is claimed by some to be the original name of the site in recognition of Python which Apollo defeated. The Homeric Hymn to Delphic Apollo recalled. Others relate that it was named Pytho and that Pythia, the priestess serving as the oracle, was chosen from their ranks by a group of priestesses who officiated at the temple.
Excavation at Delphi, a post-Mycenaean settlement of the late 9th century, has uncovered artifacts increasing in volume beginning with the last quarter of the 8th century BC. Pottery and bronze as well as tripod dedications continue in a steady stream, in contrast to Olympia. Neither the range of objects nor the presence of prestigious dedications proves that Delphi was a focus of attention for a wide range of worshippers, but the large quantity of valuable goods, found in no other mainland sanctuary, encourages that view. Apollo's sacred precinct in Delphi was a panhellenic sanctuary, where every four years, starting in 586 BC athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the four Panhellenic Games, precursors of the Modern Olympics; the victors at Delphi were presented with a laurel crown, ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy who re-enacted the slaying of the Python. Delphi was set apart from the other games sites because it hosted the mousikos agon, musical competitions.
These Pythian Games rank second among the four stephanitic games chronologically and in importance. These games, were different from the games at Olympia in that they were not of such vast importance to the city of Delphi as the games at Olympia were to the area surrounding Olympia. Delphi would have been a renowned city. In the inner hestia of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea, the Greek cities extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth of Greece, at Delphi; the name Delphi comes from the same root as δελφύς delphys, "womb" and may indicate archaic veneration of Gaia at the site. Apollo is connected with the site by his epithet Δελφίνιος Delphinios, "the Delphinian"; the epithet is connected with dolphins in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, recounting the legend of how Apollo first came to Delphi in the shape of a dolphin, carrying Cretan priests on his back. The Homeric name of the oracle is Pytho. Another legend held that Apollo walked to Delphi from the north and stopped at Tempe, a city in Thessaly, to pick laurel which he considered to be a sacred plant.
In commemoration of this legend, the winners at the Pythian Games received a wreath of laurel picked in the temple. Delphi became the site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo, as well as the Pythian Games and the prehistoric oracle. In Roman times, hundreds of votive statues remained, described by Pliny the Younger and seen by Pausanias. Carved into the temple were three phrases: γνῶθι σεαυτόν and μηδὲν ἄγαν, Ἑγγύα πάρα δ'ἄτη, In antiquity, the origin of these phrases was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece by authors such as Plato and Pausanias. Additionally, according to Plutarch's essay on the meaning of the "E at Delphi"—the only literary source for the inscription—there was inscribed at the temple a large letter E. Among other things epsilon signifies the number 5. However, ancient as well as modern scholars have doubted the legitimacy of such i