Saturday, 18 April 2015


Another visit to Antonello: just after Easter, so Easter displays were still on.  The large window

looking in

the smaller window on the right

looking in


The shop - it's easy to forget how tiny it is

a closer look at the carnations in their lovely pots


a row of lambathes, white candles for Good Saturday, for the resurrection

looking closer

on the counter.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Delphi Archaeological Museum

Delphi Archaeological Museum, Delphi.
The museum houses the discoveries made at the sanctuary in Delphi which date from the prehistoric period through to late Antiquity. Its centrepieces are the antiquities found on the site of the ancient Oracle of Delphi which include offerings to the oracle and architectural parts of the buildings.

The Charioteer
This is probably the work of Pythagoras from Samos. According to written sources, Pythagoras sought symmetry and precise rendering of details. It's a masterpiece of the Severe Style that marked the transition from the archaic to the classical period (480-460 BC). Plain and austere, it mirrors the athlete's morals.

Charioteers who participated in the PanHellenic games were youth of noble origins, and such a youth was the Charioteer of Delphi, who wears the typical sleeved tunic, long down to his ankles. The deep vertical pleats of the chiton resemble the flutes of a column, as opposed to the curvilinear pleats of the upper torso, which dissolve any impression of stiffness or rigidity. His head is slightly turned to the viewer's left and his long fingers are wrapped around the reins and probably the goad.
looking closer


The Charioteer formed part of a larger bronze composition, representing a quadriga. Two hind horse legs, a tail, pieces from the yoke and a youth's arm with remains of reins were found beside the statue. Four horses would drag a chariot driven by the Charioteer. Either one or two boys would flank it, holding the outer horses' reins. The race is over and the victorious Charioteer, wearing the champion's headband, parades before the applauding spectators.


a youth of great beauty from Bithynia, beloved companion of the Emperor Hadrian. Antinoos had barely reached adulthood when he drowned in the Nile. He was thereafter whorshipped as a demigod in many parts of the Eastern Empire by order of the emperor. One of the many statues of the youth was erected in the sanctuary at Delphi.

The work is representative of classicism at the time of the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). With its heroic-divine nudity, the statue follows the stylistic traditions of the 5th and 4th BC artists.

looking closer

The Melancholy Roman

The Theatre Frieze.
Panels from the frieze relief which decorated the proscenium of the theatre at Delphi, depicting scenes from the Labours of Heracles

looking closer

Sleeping Eros

The tiny Eros has fallen asleep on a rock. Statue from the sculpted decoration of a fountain, early 2nd century BC.

Marble statue of a smiling girl. The head has been separately applied on the body. Early Hellenistic period (early 3rd century BC)

The marble omphalos was found in the area to the northeast of the temple of Apollo: a Hellenistic or Roman copy of the omphalos that used to stand in the adyton, where the prophetic responses were given via the Pythia. (you can find out more about this here )

The column of the 'dancers'

Aghias, son of Aknonios

Torso of a running woman which has been identified as the end of a building in the sanctuary of Athena Proneac circa 470 BC.

The 'twins' of Argos

The two identical statues are the oldest monumental votive offerings at Delphi and one of the earliest examples of large-scale archaic sculpture.


The Sphinx
A votive offering from the island of Naxos in the Cyclades.

An assembly of gods which was part of a frieze.


Thursday, 16 April 2015


According to tradition, Delphi was the geographical centre of the world, the omphalos (navel).

Dias (Zeus in Latin) released two golden eagles in different directions. At the point where the two birds met, which was Delphi, Dias threw a stone.

The actual stone, which was probably a meteorite, sat in the heart of the Temple of Apollo and was flanked by a pair of golden eagles. The one shown, is a Hellenistic or Roman replica and was found in front of the temple.

The sanctuary of Apollo extends over a series of terraces in the foothills of  Mount Parnassus, between two enormous rocks, called the Phaidriades. For many centuries this was the religious and spiritual centre of the ancient Greek world and had been sacred since at least the Bronze Age.

According to legend, the shrine was originally guarded by the she-dragon Python. Apollo, the son of Dias, came from his home atop Mount Olympus to Mount Parnassus to slay the great serpent Python. Python, fleeing from the peak sought safety in the sanctuary of the Earth Mother at Delphi. Apollo relentlessly pursued Python and claimed the site. Peering through the veils of legend and myth we may therefore discern at Delphi is the story of an ancient goddess site being later taken over by a culture whose primary deity was a male god.

The evocative ancient site and the breathtaking mountain scenery surrounding it are inextricably linked and are both awe-inspiring. One can understand why the ancients chose that particular site as a religious and spiritual centre - there is something about the place that makes you understand why for so many centuries it was deemed to be sacred.


We parked near the museum and started making our way towards the Temple of Apollo

on our right and far below the mountain we could see the Temple of Athena Pronea. The sanctuary is the first mark of Delphi visible to people coming from Athens. This sanctuary was particularly important, as people coming to ask for an oracle would first offer a sacrifice at the Athena Pronea, who was considered the guardian of Pythia.
Even though we were planning to visit this site, by the time we had finished with the main site of Delphi and the museum it was getting late, so this visit will have to wait for another time.

The Roman Agora is on the first, lower terrace


this intricate, brick wall is well preserved

From the Roman Agora, continuing up the slope almost to the temple itself, are a large number of treasuries. These were built by the various Greek city states to commemorate victories and to thank the oracle for her advice which was thought to have contributed to those victories. They were called treasuries because they held the offerings made to Apollo.


the treasury of the Sicyonians

of the Boeotians

leading up to the largest treasury, that of the Athenians

which has now been restored, originally built to commemorate the Athenians' victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC


After quite a steep climb we reached the Temple of Apollo, god of music, harmony and light which occupied the most important and prominent position in the Delphic Sanctuary, dated to the 4th century BC.  In the inner Hestia (hearth) of the temple, an eternal flame burned.

According to the prevailing theory, the famous oracle operated inside the temple. Apollo spoke through his oracle. The sibyl or priestess of the oracle was known as the Pythia: she had to be an older woman of blameless life chosen from among the peasants in the area. She sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth. It has been speculated that a gas high in ethylene, known to produce violent trances, came out of this opening. Intoxicated by the vapours, the Pythia would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. In this state she prophesised. The Pythia would utter inarticulate cries, which were then turned into equivocal oracles by the priest. People consulted the Delphic oracle on everything from important matters of public policy to personal affairs.

We got a much better view of the Temple as we climbed higher


and reached the theatre which hosted the musical and dramatic contests of the Pythian Games and other religious festivals. The Pythian Games which happened every four years were precursors of the modern Olympics. The victors were presented with a laurel crown which was ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy.