I was excited to see this new book on Delphi is now available for purchase via Princeton University publisher and Amazon — well ahead of the April 2 publication date originally noted by the publisher. I’ll try to run a review in the next few months. The work is relevant to Corinthian studies both because of the parallel Pan-Hellenic sanctuary at Isthmia and Corinth’s own ancient reputation as a geographic center between east and west.
Michael Scott, Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World, Princeton 2014: Princeton University Press.
Cloth | 2014 | $29.95 / £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691150819
448 pp. | 6 x 9 | 8 color illus. 41 halftones. 3 maps.
eBook | ISBN: 9781400851324
The abstract from the publisher page suggests a comprehensive history of this important ancient sanctuary.
“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.”
Table of Contents:
Prologue: Why Delphi? 1
Part I: Some are born great
1: Oracle 9
2: Beginnings 31
3: Transformation 51
4: Rebirth 71
Part II : Some achieve greatness
5: Fire 93
6: Domination 119
7: Renewal 139
8: Transition 163
Part III: Some have greatness thrust upon them
9: A New World 183
10: Renaissance 203
11: Final Glory? 223
12: The Journey Continues 245
Epilogue: Unearthing Delphi 269
Guide: A Brief Tour of the Delphi Site and Museum 291