All Class Clips content is available to watch on mobile, tablet and desktop devices on our new Knowledge & Learning BETA website.
The Oracle at Delphi
Michael Scott visits the ruins of Delphi, the site of the ancient world's most important oracle. The temple to Apollo, where the Oracle of Delphi sat, was surrounded by hundreds of other buildings, and at its height the sanctuary at Delphi covered over a hundred acres. Visitors came hundreds of miles to seek answers from the priestess about the future. Nobody knows exactly what happened in the temple but our best account comes from the writings of one its priests, Plutarch. He writes that the Oracle only operated for nine days each year when crowds of worshippers would queue to ask their question. She is said to have been seated on a tripod set over a fissure in the rock from which vapours rose. She breathed in these vapours before answering in a trance-like state, as if inspired by Apollo. The applicants then had to try to interpret what the Oracle's answer actually meant. First broadcast on 'Delphi: The Bellybutton of the Ancient World' on BBC Four in November 2010.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.