Pythia the Priestess of the Oracle of Delphi


Pythia was the priestess at Apollo’s oracle in Delphi.

The name, Pythia, comes from Python, the dragon that was slain by Apollo.

Pythia operated as a vehicle for Apollo’ thes will to be known to those on earth.

A believer would make a sacrifice and present a question to a male priest. The male priest would then present the question to Pythia.

Pythia sat on a bronze tripod in the adytum, or inner chamber of Apollo’s temple. In this sacred chamber the spirit of Apollo overcame Pythia and inspired the prophecy.

Some mythic traditions say Pythia’s trance was induced by vapors from a chasm below the temple or from chewing laurel leaves. Continuing his role of a middleman, the priest would interpret Pythia’s response for the questioner.

Read more about Pythia & Delphi:

  • National Geographic about Pythia
Greece Index