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Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World Hardcover – 25 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (25 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691150818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691150819
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014



Shortlisted for the 2015 Runciman Award, Anglo-Hellenic League


"[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


"[T]here is much to commend in this new history, which deserves to be widely read."--Hugh Bowden, Anglo-Hellenic Review

From the Back Cover


"Like the two eagles released by Zeus from opposite ends of the world who then met in Delphi, Michael Scott gets to the heart of antiquity's most celebrated and enigmatic oracle. A vivid and lucid study that reanimates the mentality of those who consulted Apollo more convincingly than any other I have read."--Tom Holland, author of Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West


"Learned and elegant, Michael Scott's Delphi offers an in-the-round study of the heart of ancient Greece, a focus of religion, art, athletics, intrigue, and treasure so potent that it still gives us an adjective for enigmatic--'Delphic.' Scott's irresistible narrative brings it all back to life."--Barry Strauss, author of Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership


"Few scholars know the history of ancient Delphi as intimately as Michael Scott does. Apollo's injunction to 'know yourself' is as hard to obey now as it was in ancient times, but readers seeking enlightenment will surely be encouraged to learn that the unsettling Delphic effect is good for them. On a more earthly plane, they will find Scott's expert guidance to the site and its museum invaluable."--Paul Cartledge, author of After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars



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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Dunn on 13 April 2014
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Evans on 5 Aug. 2014
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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By Ronnie on 29 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy Dr Scott's programs on UK tv and bought this book on Delphi as visited the site many years ago. Dr Scott gives information in abundance and I wish i had had a similar book before I travelled to Greece. I would have appreciated Delphi that much more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book, a really great study of Delphi that can satisfy both the academic and the man in the street.
Aliki Bacopoulou-Halls
University of Athens
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