There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children; and the second took her, and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be?
For a suitable donation, a question could be put to the Pythia and an answer obtained from Apollo. Since the words of the Pythia were hard to understand, the priests attending her wrote up the answer in verse and delivered it to the petitioner.
The answers were legendarily obscure or ambiguous -- the source of the modern of meaning of "oracular," which is precisely to be obscure or ambiguous.
One example of the kinds of answers Delphi gave occurred when King Croesus of Lydiaof legendary wealth, sought advice on the attack against Persia he was contemplating. But he was a cautious ruler, and sent a question to Delphi, asking what would happen if he attacked the Persians.
Delphi already had such a reputation.
The answer that the Pythia delivered was that if Croesus attacked Cyrus, "a great kingdom will fall. He had no idea who he was dealing with, and was defeated very swiftly indeed.
Lydia became part of Persia in The former king was sent home to live in retirement, where he had the leisure to write back to Delphi and complain that he had been misled.
The priests answered his letter, telling him that what they had said was perfectly accurate. A great kingdom had indeed fallen, namely his.
Croesus might have worried which kingdom the god had referred to. Another example came when the Persians invaded Greece in King Xerxes wished to avenge the defeat of his father, Darius, at the battle of Marathon in I had a student once who worked at the "Phidippides Sports Center," a sports supply store in Encino, California.
This was named after the messenger who is supposed to have run back to Athens to report the defeat of the Persians. Unfortunately, Phidippides dropped dead once he had blurted out, "Victory is ours.
The distance of a Marathon run is As it happens, the distance from Marathon to Athens is more like 19 miles 30 km. Indeed, Phidippides may not have done the run at all.
He or "Philippides" is mentioned by Herodotus as running to Sparta from Athens before the battle to ask for helpbut there is no account of the run from Marathon for many centuries.
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Others fled the city. Unfortunately, after the Persians had flanked and eliminated the Spartans atThermopylae "Hot gates," i. Athens, however, had just built a new fleet, under the command of Themistocles.
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He figured that the "walls of wood" meant the ships and that he should try and bring the Persians to action. He drew them into an attack in the narrow waters between the island of Salamis where most Athenians had fled and the mainland.
Here the large Persian fleet could not deploy to advantage, and the Athenians started getting the better of the fight. Xerxes, observing from a headland, was apoplectic.
Now, without a dangerous and humiliating march overland, his army was stranded in Greece, short of supplies. The Greeks allowed for the attrition of a whole year, and then the Spartans attacked and destroyed the remaining Persian force at Plataea, in Themistocles had interpreted the Oracle correctly.
This was the last Persian effort to invade Greece. Despite the leadership of the Spartans, the key to victory had been in the Athenian fleet. This made the fortunes of Athens for some time. Some scholarly comment has been that Athens became disillusioned with Delphi because it had favored Sparta in the Peloponnesian War, patronizing instead another oracle of Apollo at Delos.
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