Comments for en-gb 30 Thu 17 Apr 2014 01:12:40 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Ketty I found its story very amusing story. it may be myth but I do believe in all these stories, and why not there are many unanswered questions on this earth. Thu 21 Oct 2010 06:22:22 GMT+1 Averroes what religion (the greeks having no word for religion) was not a matter of faith, not something that you believe in, but what you do, what you practiceit was a diet and culturesome set of practice you commit to by choice . .I've been fascinated by the meaning and principles which ancient Greece (and rome) gave to their culture, and what lay behind it and understanding them fully. the contemporary person will continue to try to make something new, but there is nothing further from the present than the principles which instill the nature of ancient greek tradition, nothing could be more original nor impressive.As always I thoroughly enjoy the In Our Time programmes on the ancient Greece period. And guests and Paul, Edith, and Nich are always great on the programme. I also found the comments interesting in their additional thoughts and information.aYou must hate these recommendations for futher programmes, but, leading on from the subject of Delphic hymns, there is something that is so fascinating and an unpopular subject regarding ancient Greece: -Ancient Greek music. and the resurgence of its ideas in the Persian Renaissance, and the misconceptions of what ancient Greek music was by the end of the Renaissance with opera as an attempt to recreate ancient Greek theatre, and perhaps all the way to summarizing what our understanding of music today is based on theories which are significantly different.But enough seriousness let's have fun with this subject too: Tue 05 Oct 2010 19:47:15 GMT+1 Jane I once went to an exhibition of Japanese art and was entranced by the exquisite shades of red. Alas, any attempt at reproduction was doomed because the printers inks simply couldn't replicate the vibrant hues. With huge respect for their input, I do sometimes feel that those who intellectualize do not always have the ability to truly take on the qualities they are analyzing...almost a 'Peter Principle' of sorts. I also feel that 'street cred' tends to be (understandably) very important amongst the intelligentsia, with a 'red alert' area for anything even hinting at 'the numinous'... as it's rather glibly called. (An appropriate note of derisive humour in the voice seems to be a favourite tactic.) At the end of the day, what is considered objective, is almost inevitably somewhat selective, filtered through and biased by goodness knows what accretion of brain tapestry. The Delphic Oracle may or may not have been truly oracular, there are obviously many perspectives. However, I think it's time the barge pole was dropped and 'the numinous' was brought gently, ever so gently, out of the closet. There have been many poets, thinkers, writers,philosophers,scientists etc. who were obviously accessing information outside of the conscious mind's awareness. What's the big deal? We love their fruits but we reject their process because it 'isn't ours or it isn't yet quantifiable. There's a partial logic operating. Without wanting to criticize for a second time, may I humbly ask that the new trend of acronyms (used on mobile phone texting) be kept to a minimum on the comments page. I had to look imho up because I hadn't a clue what it meant. I'm all for progress, but... well, some of it really does fall into the fb category. That said, thank you Graham Rounce, 'though it's obvious that 'ne'er the twain shall meet' on this one, it was lovely to get a reply! Warm wishes - Jane Mon 04 Oct 2010 20:22:52 GMT+1 John Thompson The Delphic Oracle was consulted in the founding of Greekcolonies, Delphi having gained pre-eminence among all the Greek holy sites and as the oracle was constantly being consulted by enquirers from every part of the Greek world-sometimes by ‘barbarians’ too-the Delphic priests acquired a great deal of information about this and that and political influence.The utterance of the priestess was the response of a god to an enquiry.Oracular wording was common to Heraclitus,who said the Oracle‘does not reveal or conceal the truth,it merely hints’.The Pythia,as if possessed,sitting in a cauldron on a tripod while making her prophecies in an ecstatic state,like a shaman,making unintelligible utterings.The priestess had access to clairvoyance,aided by extremely able interpreters,the priests.She was the avatar of Apollo.Her ravings were translated by the priests of the temple into hexameters.People consulted the Delphic Oracle on everything from important matters to personal affairs.The oracle at Delphi was thought the most truthful because considered at the very centre of the inhabited world.The omphalos.There is a realm beyond the senses.From his earliest beginnings man has created gods in whom just the deadly and menacing and destructive and terrifying elements in life were contained-its violence,its fury,its personal bewilderment-all tied together into one thick knot of malevolence,something alien to us.We didn’t know what to do with this side of our experience;it was too large,too dangerous, too many-sided,it grew above and beyond us into an excess of meaning;we found it impossible(what with the practical demands of life) to deal with these unwieldy and ungraspable forces.Thesepowers we cannot control are ‘theoi’,gods.All we can do is try and appease them and respect them.These are the lifeblood of polytheistic religions,with their rituals and practices.Goats at Delphi were sacrificed because goats were the first discoverers of the chasm. Myths were simple explanations of things,not dogmatic,nor authoritative.Although someone said there is no word for ‘religion’, these naturalistic polytheistic beliefs,the Eleusian Mysteries etc.were the Greek form of religion.Not exclusive and intolerant like the monotheistic religions, where religion and morality coincideYour speaker made the point of a transition from the earth-gods ofthe primitive,female orders to Apollo,one of the sky-gods of the new,rational,male order along with Zeus.Apollo slays the dragons of Gaiaand Python is re- named as Delphi.There were heavy rituals andpreparations made by the supplicants before consulting the oracleso that they were put in an almost shamanistic,receptive state.I feelthis side of the Delphic Oracle could have been more explored.Thepurity of the priestess,whether virgin or older married woman,whowent through a period of chastity,while she was practising. Sun 03 Oct 2010 10:10:56 GMT+1 Jaime I am not convinced that the prophecy of the Oracle was as vague or unreliable as perhaps indicated. If so, both Greeks and Barbarians would not have continued to consult or rely on it (let alone provide significant gifts and donations!). Delphi drew a lot of people to it both from across the Greek world and that outside (Croesus being a point in issue). It would been a major meeting place where a lot of genuine information was shared. The prophetai may have actively engaged in obtaining what we may now call ‘intelligence’ which was reflected in the advice given in the form of the prophecy. Sat 02 Oct 2010 16:27:43 GMT+1 Themistocles Some important in my opinion comments: 1. Professor Cartledge is absolutely right to point out that the word religion did not exist in Greece, the Oracle was not a religious cult in the modern sense: God-given law or morality and the odd holy book did not exist. For the Greeks the most important books were two epic poems. The Oracle, like the Homeric poems, did not try to explain the world or to instruct through the voice of God, but only to hint towards a possible meaning, open to interpretation, not by chance but by design. At the end of the day it was up to the people to decide and to live with the consequences of their actions. The first advice received by the Athenians (Themistocles) before the Persian invasion was rejected on the outset. 2. The Delphic Oracle had a great advantage in giving advice. It was an information bank of universal events inaccessible to any outsider. This was created inevitably by the visitors themselves during their several conversations. In this respect the Oracle was in a position to act essentially like a modern consultancy firm. There was unique information to back this up. This knowledge was particularly useful in the creation of the network of Greek cities around the Mediterranean See. 3. The reference of Delphi as the centre (omphalos) of the world was more literal than metaphoric. As professor Lycouras has found out, during the summer solstice (21 June), the ratio of the duration of day and night in Delphi (14:50 and 9:10 correspondingly) equals the golden mean (hence the attribute ompalos). This is symbolic for the relationship between Apollo and Dionysus. The same ratio can be established geographically between one side of Europe (by the Atlantic Ocean in Spain) and the other at Prometheus’s Caucasus. 4. The Oracle aided greatly (albeit the bribery) to the creation of the Athenian Democracy both through its direct instruction and its indirect ambiguity (leaving essentially up to the people the interpretation and the final decision). Had it instructed in the 10 commandments mode, democracy would have been unthinkable. In this respect alone we can feel her influence still today. Sat 02 Oct 2010 02:15:41 GMT+1 Angela Voss I enjoyed this discussion, but was surprised that no mention was made of the relationship between the activity of the oracle and the appearance of the constellation Delphinus (I understand the sanctuary was dedicated to Apollo Delphinus). I was told by an archeoastronomer that the oracle was consulted at the first rising of Delphinus over the Delphic mountain, thus consolidating the relationship between the cosmos, the god and the oracular utterance, which was vital for channelling the power. Fri 01 Oct 2010 18:30:37 GMT+1 Jack Knave I listened to the progamme on the iPlayer and did not realise that the 9.00am version was 45 minutes long, which worked very well because it lacked that rushed feel that 30 min has, as it allowed the subject to have a good and propper airing. The thing I find about the Greek gods and how they cover all aspects of daily life is that they can be explained and framed very neatly into the psychological understanding of projection. Psychic energies that can't be coped with by the mind are naturally projected outwards into the world, giving objects numinous qualities, and fears likewise are given a similar treatment hence the perception that gods are fickle, and yet at the same time they looked for help from these numinous aspects for guidance in their lives, as they also held qualities of their psyche which represented wisdom and insight. Once the energy of a projection can be retained inside one's mind then the magic goes and this is why the Delphic Oracle eventually died. Fri 01 Oct 2010 17:19:08 GMT+1 Graham Rounce "Is it unequivocally evident that not even one genuine oracle issued forth?"You can't prove a negative, but you can ask for evidence from those who claim otherwise, which imho stories thousands of years old do not constitute! Fri 01 Oct 2010 17:16:03 GMT+1 Jane On what is Graham Rounce basing his first sentence? Is it unequivocally evident that not even one genuine oracle issued forth? A listener once asked for a programme on the significance of snakes in many traditions...and here was another mention. Seventh day, nine months...these two numbers often carry symbolic meaning.I thought that the summing up in the final moments of the programme was particularly well perceived. The available territory of the intellectual mind alone can only look at the outer world of the oracle and have little concept of the inner world. In our scientific age, the familiar dictum 'seeing is believing' is known to be outmoded, therefore what powers of conditioning render us so continuously addicted to its dictates? (oops...three 'dic's in one sentence!) Our minds are cluster after cluster, layer after layer, frontier after frontier of coalescence...'morphologies' as such. The mass of our histories inevitably creates the mass of our present. There is a pressing need to understand the many natures of the human their best and at their worst. We have a technological avenue open to us and surely those qualified should explore it with the curiosity and courage that the intrepid mariners of old embodied when they first set off across the unchartered waters in search of what was 'out there'. We all bring the heavens with us did we but have the inner eyes to afford us a salubrious glimpse, and then we valiantly live, half heaven, half earth, trying but failing to make sense of any of it. The dichotomy is particularly evident in the sex act. The church has struggled with this one...and it's obvious that most people find the idea of either their parents or their offspring having sex quite repugnant. Why so if it's such a universal part of life? It's not just the physical or psychological nature of it, there's more. It's a deep subject. I've digressed enough! The occasional oracle is born into our world and can be understood only according to 'by their fruits shall ye know them' ie. their accuracy. The science of 'things oracular' has to be's just that we're, rather paradoxically really, in the dark ages on such matters. The intellectual mind should maybe turn back on itself to understand its own parameters and release its natural, fearful grip to make way intelligence which would 'blow it away'. We are so much more incredible than we know...perhaps only the heart, in its truest moments, can presently hold our worth. Thanks for the excellence... and for my week's ponderings. Warmest wishes to all - Jane Fri 01 Oct 2010 14:27:17 GMT+1 Graham Rounce Recognition that the oracle's women weren't *really* psychic would have been welcome. Or were you worried about getting into a fight with thousand-year old dead priests? The contributor's assertion that "some were more psychic than others" just wasn't true - none of them were psychic at all!Perhaps exploration of this belief phenomenon (cf Lourdes, with its millions of pilgrims and only a handful of "miracles") and its sociology, psychology and economics would be a good topic for another program. (Though to avoid controversy you might wish to stick with the historical/"old gods" examples!) Fri 01 Oct 2010 09:30:32 GMT+1 Joseph B Fox What do people who use "BCE" and "CE" instead of "BC" and "AD" call the days of the week, which take their names from various gods? The same goes for many of the months of the year. Or is their objection only to the god of the Christians? Thu 30 Sep 2010 20:42:38 GMT+1 Harry Where I grew up, in a small Midlands village, there is a very large and very deep pond called the 'delf-hole'. It's in a quiet, rural location. The name's not official - just what local people have always called it. I've often wondered what the root of that name is - in old English - meaning something else -or jokingly, as Delphic. Thu 30 Sep 2010 17:17:53 GMT+1 Glyn morrow This edition, like all of them, was an oasis of intelligence. However, if/when you have Paul Cartledge on again, could you please ask him not to mumble under his breath and add sotto voce comments while others - in particular, here, the woman on the prog - are having their say. It is offputting, and only made him sound as if he were `checking` that she had `got it right`. One or two other contributors in the past have done this; it`s no doubt more noticeable to the listener than it is in the studio. A pity, as he was eloquent in his turn, but please could he have the politeness to wait his turn? Thu 30 Sep 2010 09:28:58 GMT+1 maryrowland How strange to describe Apollo without mentioning the sun, or Artemis without mentioning the moon! Thu 30 Sep 2010 08:48:54 GMT+1