Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Delphic Delirium

I'll make this quick, because I should be heading off to sleep. But Aine Bina sent me this loverly link: Delphic Oracle Inspired by Low-Oxygen Delirium

Interesting idea. What I don't get about most of these theories, though, is how they can explain others not getting affected by whatever. Theoretically, people are close enough to the Pythia that the interpreting priests or the visitors or whoever's around would be affected too.

Hell, maybe the Pythia was just really damn good at making herself go into a trance (some sort of meditation?) or even just acting (but, y'know, god-inspired acting).

Also, does anyone know what's up with most of Perseus' sites being down? I was only able to access the German mirror site for any length of time tonight! And that was pretty slow! Or maybe I should have kept my "secret" about use of the German mirror site, lest the traffic grow worse. ;-)

Edited to add: Perseus seems to be working well this morning, so I guess it was a temporary fluke. I worry about the well-being of Perseus too much!


Blogger Aine Bina said...

Well it might have to do with prolonged exposure. The pithia sits in the vapors all day, but the priests and pilgrims are in and out, so they get more fresh air. Or maybe there's some other aspect to it that we don't know about, like maybe the oracle fasted for a certain period of time or something. But, as I was never there, I don't know.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Alun said...

If I remember correctly, the Pythia purified herself with a bath and an infumation of laurel leaves (a hallucinogenic) and also a meal of fermented grain (another hallucingenic). I don't have the references to hand, but I think Parke and Fontenrose are the best modern sources on the actual mechanics of consultation.

I don't know to what extent the Pythia was in all day because consultation was a morning event, but the Pythia was probably exposed for longer than others.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

My Pythia studies are low, but that's what confuses me. People keep coming up with theories, and I can never tell if it's meant to replace or supplement older theories.

Also, if the priests are with her, wouldn't they be just as exposed?

And then there are the people visiting--some people differently than others. I'd expect some to go into their own trances, just because of greater sensitivity, and some might even keel over and die if the air were too toxic for them--or at least get sick.

Or maybe it really just is the combo that does it for the Pythia. Though I can't think that toxic or low-oxygen air would be good for anybody.

And could the Pythia's prolonged exposure mean she eventually builds up immunity? Or is it a compounding effect?

Lots of questions, lots of theories.

5:01 AM  

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