Oracle of Delphi (The Pythia)
Interview with Oracle of Delphi (The Pythia)
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Interviewer: Thanks for sitting down with us today, Oracle.
Pythia: Please, just call me Pythia.
Interviewer: Sure, whatever you'd like. Don't you find that title a little strange, though?
Pythia: Why would I? It's the title that all the Oracles took on when we assumed our duties at Delphi.
Interviewer: Yeah, I know that, but don't you find it a little disrespectful to Gaia?
Pythia: We're jumping right to the whole Python scandal, huh?
Interviewer: It's true then that Apollo stole Delphi from Mother Earth? That he murdered her innocent child the Python to take the place for his own? Doesn't the title "Pythia" have something to do with that?
Pythia: First of all, the Python wasn't so innocent. He tried to eat Apollo's mother Leto when he and Artemis were little godlings in Leto's womb. Secondly, Apollo did several years of hard labor to atone for the killing. Not that that seems fair in our book. He's the god of prophecy, after all.
Interviewer: But a lot of people say the power of you Oracles comes from the fumes that seep up from the ground under the temple. Don't those fumes come from the earth? And doesn't that mean that your powers came from Gaia?
Pythia: I'm not here to play "gotcha" with you.
Interviewer: But isn't the legend true that a shepherd's goat wandered down into a fuming crevice on Mt. Parnassus? That the goat started acting all funny, and that when the shepherd went down there, he started having crazy visions? Isn't that how Delphi got started? Those fumes came from Gaia, so—
Pythia: Look, we were all priestesses of Apollo. We respect Gaia, of course, but the temple at Delphi was his for centuries. Sure, we inhaled some fumes along the way, but all our powers came from the true god of prophecy. Let's move on.
Interviewer: Wow, used to bossing people around, huh?
Pythia: We delivered prophecies to thousands of pilgrims over the years, if that's what you're implying. Everyone from kings to common folk came in supplication.
Interviewer: Were those prophecies really a good thing, though?
Pythia: This interview is bordering on blasphemy.
Interviewer: It's a legitimate question. Take Laius, for instance. If he'd never received the prophecy that his son was going to kill him and sleep with his wife, Oedipus never would've been abandoned. The whole horrible mix-up that caused the prophecy to actually come true never would've happened.
Pythia: It is only our duty to deliver the words of Apollo. Neither we nor he can be held responsible for the decisions of the Fates.
Interviewer: Oh, come on. Sometimes Apollo totally used the Oracle to push his own agendas, right?
Pythia: I can't imagine what you mean.
Interviewer: How about with Orestes? Apollo used the Oracle to tell that poor kid to murder his own mother, Clytemnestra.
Pythia: Clytemnestra had murdered Agamemnon, her own husband and Orestes' father. Apollo was only seeking justice.
Interviewer: That's not how the Furies saw it.
Pythia: The Furies have serious anger management issues. They're lucky Apollo didn't fill them full of arrows when they were stalking around the temple hunting for Orestes. In any case, all of that was resolved by the judgment of Athena, so it's a moot point.
Interviewer: So Athena had to clean up the Oracle's mess, huh?
Pythia: One more disrespectful remark like that, and I'm walking out of this interview.
Interviewer: Fine. One last question: Why do you think Roman Emperor Theodosius I shut down Delphi? Was it because he suspected that you were all charlatans, making up false prophecies? Telling pilgrims cryptic riddles that could really mean anything in exchange for whatever gold they had on them?
Pythia: I've never been so disrespected in my life!
Interviewer: Well, you're dead now, ma'am, so answer the question.
Pythia: Theodosius was a Christian Emperor who had no respect for the ancient gods. He persecuted all those he deemed "pagan." He was a fool. Instead of destroying Delphi, he should've sought our advice like so many did before him.
Interviewer: Thanks, Pythia. That's all the time we have. I hope you have a great day!
Pythia: I predict that yours is going to be awful.