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Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World
 
 

Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World [Kindle Edition]

Michael Scott
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £19.95
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Review

"[D]eftly combines literary and material evidence. . . . Overall, Scott offers a broad and well-documented history of the Delphic oracle, including an (excellent) epilogue on how the site was rediscovered at the end of the 19th century."--Barbara Graziosi, Times Higher Education

"[O]f absorbing interest. . . . I doubt whether there's a single archaeological report or relevant inscription, however obscure, that has escaped his notice, and no other scholar known to me keeps one so constantly conscious of the realities . . . that leave him with the nagging question: 'What motivated the continuation of settlement in this otherwise rather difficult physical habitat clinging to the mountainside?'. . . [Scott's] final chapters give the fullest and most vivid general account of Delphi's slow excavation over the past century that I've seen. . . . Scott's narrative never falters."--Peter Green, London Review of Books

"Judicious, measured and thorough . . . Mr. Scott, like Pausanias before him, is a handy companion to what remains--and what we can only wish was still to be seen."--Brendan Boyle, Wall Street Journal

"Scott's passion and expertise are readily apparent. . . . An enjoyable resource for scholars and students. Additionally, prospective visitors to the modern site of Delphi will be interested in Scott's brief guide, which is included at the back of the book."--Publishers Weekly

"Tells you everything there is to know about Delphi."--Sam Leith, Spectator

"A traveler on a typical ten-hour flight to Greece from the United States will find this book to be a valuable and entertaining companion."--About.com Greece Travel

"The story is told clearly and engagingly."--Peter Jones, Literary Review

"I don't think there can be much about Delphi's history that Dr. Scott has missed out on in this book. I needn't have worried that only one book on the subject wouldn't be enough to give me enough information for my visit. I wanted the definitive book and as far as I'm concerned I picked the right one."--Tales from A Tour Guide

"The oracle is not the main concern of this fine, scholarly book. Although you can hardly write about Delphi without writing about the Pythia, Scott's interest is much more in the site itself, the way it developed from a couple of buildings on a mountainside into the elaborate sanctuary of the classical period and beyond. . . . Because Delphi was the focus of so much ancient attention, this rich but remote archaeological site gives us a keyhole view of the history of the ancient world as a whole, as cities are founded and proclaim their existence to the international community; as cities fall and find their monuments encroached on, buried or pecked at by prophetic crows; as dedications to commemorate victories over foreigners at Salamis give way to trophies of victories over other Greeks; as the Spartans inscribe their name on a gift of Croesus and hope no one will notice."--James Davidson, The Guardian

"This is an engaging tribute to a site that enjoined its visitors to know themselves--a demand that, in turn, requires us to know the Greeks."--Alex Clapp, Ekathimerini

"Excellent. . . . The more important question for [Scott] is not how the oracle functioned, but why it endured as an institution for over a thousand years. For the scholar who wants to see the full range of evidence and possible interpretations--a rounded view--this approach is particularly useful."--Daisy Dunn, History Today

"[A] comprehensive and sympathetic history. . . . Scott puts it beautifully: both as an idea and an historical conundrum, Delphi ensures we keep the ground 'insecure' beneath our feet."--Bettany Hughes, BBC History Magazine

"Scott's erudition is balanced by a lively style, making for a thoroughly readable work. Copies endnotes, bibliography, and illustrations (including eight in color) accompany the text, as does a brief guide to the site's museum."--Choice

Product Description

The oracle and sanctuary of the Greek god Apollo at Delphi were known as the “omphalos”—the “center” or “navel”—of the ancient world for more than 1000 years. Individuals, city leaders, and kings came from all over the Mediterranean and beyond to consult Delphi’s oracular priestess; to set up monuments to the gods in gold, ivory, bronze, marble, and stone; and to take part in athletic and musical competitions. This book provides the first comprehensive narrative history of this extraordinary sanctuary and city, from its founding to its modern rediscovery, to show more clearly than ever before why Delphi was one of the most important places in the ancient world for so long.

In this richly illustrated account, Michael Scott covers the whole history and nature of Delphi, from the literary and archaeological evidence surrounding the site, to its rise as a center of worship with a wide variety of religious practices, to the constant appeal of the oracle despite her cryptic prophecies. He describes how Delphi became a contested sacred site for Greeks and Romans and a storehouse for the treasures of rival city-states and foreign kings. He also examines the eventual decline of the site and how its meaning and importance have continued to be reshaped right up to the present. Finally, for the modern visitor to Delphi, he includes a brief guide that highlights key things to see and little-known treasures.

A unique window into the center of the ancient world, Delphi will appeal to general readers, tourists, students, and specialists.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4635 KB
  • Print Length: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (10 Mar 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I5WOOB6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #295,022 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Well I now know a great deal more about Delphi and realise what little I thought I knew about it was hopelessly in error, or on shaky ground at best (much likely Delphi itself considering its unfortunate habit of being wrecked by earthquakes). A great study and it is totally accessible, even to folk like myself who occasionally dip into ancient history without a scintilla of expertise in the subject.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is very comprehensive regarding the history of Delphi and its oracle. If you want an explanation about how and why it became the centre of the ancient Greek world, this is a book to read. The ancient Greek world spread across continents and is not confined naturally to Greece and its immediate environs. This book attempts to explain Delphi's history and why it was so prominent in the ancient world.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent exposition for the enquiing historian
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
States in his conclusions, " this book can be little more than a snapshot ..." so there's the problem... Doesn't even attempt the 64K question: "If the Pythia was self-drugged and babbling, who the hell wrote the oracles? Must have been the priests, yes? But how did they know what was happening in anatolia, when they are 1000 kms and several weeks journey apart?
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 July 2014
By rosie2
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
thank you
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