Following is an outline of the chapter along with the
main learning objectives. To help coordinate your studies, this outline and the
learning objectives are organized to match your textbook. This organization is also
utilized in the chapter review section.
Part 1: Key themes
- You should be able to discuss the Oracle of Delphi in terms of
the God Apollo, his attributes and dominant myths concerning the establishment of the
shrine as a place in which to contact the God Apollo.
- You should be aware that there were shines to other Gods and
Goddesses, places of sacrifices and worship -- both regional and famous shrines that lured
travelers from afar.
Part 2: The
Shrine at Delphi: Communing with the Gods
- You should be able to discuss the dominant attributes of the God
Apollo in terms of his role in providing a contact for human with the Gods and Goddesses,
with his gifts of prophecy and clairvoyance.
- You should be able to discuss the concept that the location of
the shrine at Delphi was thought to be a the exact center of the world (a source of the
myth of Zeus letting two eagles fly in opposite directions; they met over Delphi) the
so-called navel of the world in conjunction with the fact that the word "Delphi"
- You should be able to discuss the connections of the God
Apollo's shrine with aspects of ancient worship of the Great Goddess; including the myth
that the daughter of Gaea (Themis) teaches Apollo prophecy, and there was a small alter
kept in the temple as a shrine to her, as well as the significance of the virgin priestess
who undergoes a trance to issue for the cryptic words of the God Apollo.
- You should be able to discuss the attributes of the God Apollo
in terms of his personification of rational intellect (who is known for his remoteness)
and related to the concepts inscribed on his temple "Know Thyself" and
"Nothing in Excess" as admonitions to humans for forgetting their mortal
limitations and behaving as if they were gods.
Part 3: Apollo and the
Dragon: The Transition from Earth Goddess to Sky god.
- You should be able to relate the concept of the God Apollo as
rational intellect to the significance of his battle with the serpent/dragon Python, as
the representative of goddess-worship; incorporating the ancient Greek concepts of
patriarchy and gender roles, especially his use of a virgin priestess to perform the
ritual for consulting the Oracle.
- You should be able to discuss why Apollo would kill, burn and
leave the body of Python to rot into the ground -- linking the discussion to the concepts
of the body of the Mother and the serpent as representative of the previous worship of
nature and fertility goddesses.
Part 4: Festivals and
Ceremonies of Delphi
- You should be aware of the attributes that the God Apollo is
thought to possess: music, dance and poetry -- incorporating rituals of nature worship
with those of rational creativity -- and his role as patron of the Muses, the divine
beings of inspiration to human artists.
- You should be able to discuss the mysterious messages of the
Oracle, whose warnings were cryptic, "more understood by gods than mortals" and
the practicality of such influences (often seen as destiny-driven) on human affairs.
Part 5: Apollo's Loves
- You should be able to discuss the dominant myths of the God
Apollo, including Hera's jealous pursuit of the infant Apollo; the beloved youth Hyacinth
who was posthumously transformed into a flower; the posthumous transformation of the youth
Cyparissus, who Apollo's tears are transformed into a cypress tree; the transformation of
the mountain nymph, Daphne, who begs Zeus to protect her from the unwanted pursuit of
Apollo -- Zeus turns her into a Bay or laurel tree; the killing of Coronus, mother to
Apollo's son (Asclepius, father of healing) a mortal woman who deserted Apollo for a
- You should be able to discuss the myth of Apollo's son,
Asclepius, considered the father of healing, who learns to revive the dead -- forbidden
knowledge for which Zeus kills him; Asclepius is granted posthumous immortality.
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