The oracle of Delphi

avidsuper

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi,

The word "oracle" has a few different meanings. It can refer to a person, a place, or a message. I wonder in "the oracle of Delphi" whether the "oracle" refers to a diviner or a place where divination is carried out, or both perhaps.

Another question I have is that if the oralce of Delphi is the name of a place, is it the same place as the Temple of Apollo?
 
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  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The oracle was the priestess who, perhaps under the influence of drugs, gave answers to people asking for a prophesy. The belief was that she spoke on behalf of the gods, later specifically Apollo. So the name "oracle" was given to her, the answer she provided, and the sanctuary as a whole.

    The priestess spoke from a cave beneath the temple.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I usually think of it as - and I think sentences usually speak of it as - the woman, the Pythoness or Sibyl.

    But certainly on the Web there are many instances when it's used for the place, with the Pythoness sitting in it. (Do you know how difficult it is to google for combinations of Python, Delphi, and Oracle and get this instead of computer things?)
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    The oracle was the priestess who, perhaps under the influence of drugs, gave answers to people asking for a prophesy. The belief was that she spoke on behalf of the gods, later specifically Apollo. So the name "oracle" was given to her, the answer she provided, and the sanctuary as a whole.

    The priestess spoke from a cave beneath the temple.
    The oracle at Delphi was a person and a religious institution in a particular place. The place overlapped physically with the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. The word 'oracle' is somewhat comparable to 'president' as a person and 'presidency' as an office.

    There's no evidence for a cave beneath the temple in the sense of a large space within the natural rock. But there might have been a small built room over fissures in the rock.
     
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