Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

CHAT: The Pythia (was: hi brethren)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Friday, March 24, 2000, 6:00
At 6:19 pm -0600 23/3/00, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>B Elliott Walker wrote: > >> > Are you on drugs? >> >> No, just Delphic. :) >> >> >>>>>>>>>>delphic, i assume, meaning being on drugs, due to the nature of >> that oracle. > >The word "Delphic", in addition to meaning "pertaining to Delphi", also >means "obscure in meaning; ambiguous; oracular".
Yes, because the priests at Delphi liked to hedge their bets and produce hexameters whose meaning could be interpreted in more than one way! And wasn't it, in fact, priests who "polished up", so to speak, the Pythia's oracular uterrances into neat Greek hexameters?
>(Besides, it wasn't just the laurel leaves that the Pythia consumed that >made her say what she did;
That's certainly what I was told half a century ago at school :)
>the hot spring water from which she drank >before every oracle had, in the long term at least, at least as much >influence because of the heavy metals it contained)
Possibly - I guess it depends how long any person was 'employed' as the Pythia. ------------------------------------------------------------------- At 6:21 pm -0500 23/3/00, John Cowan wrote:
>B Elliott Walker wrote: > >> >>>>>>>>>>delphic, i assume, meaning being on drugs, due to the nature of >> that oracle. > >Actually, that whole vapor theory of the oracle at Delphi was never >anything but >speculation. There is simply no evidence that the cave ever produced mephitic >vapors, which would be more likely to knock the Oracle out than cause her to >spontaneously emit Greek hexameters.
It certainly didn't when I visited the cave a few years back :) Like Thomas Weir, I thought the Pythia was suppposed to have entered her trance by consuming or chewing laurel leaves (tho I've always been a bit suspicious of the truth of that theory). I thought the vapor theory applied to the Sibyl at Cumae. Clearly both ladies did go into trance-like states where it was assumed that the god Apollo had taken over their bodies; but I guess we'll never really know how the trance was induced in either case. There are, as I understand it, people who can more or less self-induce such a state; I'd guess the women chosen as Pythia & Sibyl would be just such people tho I've no doubt there were other external aids, so to speak, to induce the trance. What's rather odd is that the very male Apollo has to possess the body of a female to make his oracular utterances. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================