Study Guide

Oracle of Delphi (The Pythia)

  • Profile

    The Oracles of Delphi (a.k.a. the Pythias) were complete know-it-alls. Literally: they knew everything. They got the inside scoop about the future from Apollo, god of prophecy, so they totally knew everything that was going to happen. There were tons of different Oracles over the years—mostly young virgins drafted from the area surrounding the village of Delphi. For centuries, pilgrims traveled from all around the Mediterranean to the slopes of Mount Parnassus, where the Oracles gave out their cryptic prophecies (for a price). It was like Googling "What's my future?" and actually getting an answer.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Oracles of Delphi

    Nickname

    The Pythias, Little Miss Know-It-Alls

    Sex

    Females

    Current city

    Elysium (We miss Delphi!)

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Seeresses
    Priestesses of Apollo

    Education

    Apollo's School of Prophecy

    Beliefs

    Political views

    What's the point when you know what's going to happen anyway?

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    There were tons of us, so we had tons of different parents.

    Siblings

    A whole bunch.

    Children

    We took vows of chastity, so not too many.

    Friends

    Apollo (a great god to serve)
    Priests of Apollo (who helped run our temple)

    Enemies

    Emperor Theodosius I (the stupid Roman who shut down Delphi)

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Sworn virgins

    Interested in

    We only have eyes for Apollo.

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Touch 
    Medium 
    Carnivale 

    Quotations

    "The ancient oracle said that I was the wisest of all the Greeks. It is because I alone, of all the Greeks, know that I know nothing."
    – Socrates

    "Prophecy: Two bull's eyes out of a possible million."
    – Mark Twain

    "Where there is no vision, the people perish."
    – Proverb

    "Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
    With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
    Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
    A girl with kaleidoscope eyes."
    – from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by the Beatles

    "You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen
    Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine"
    – from "Dancing Queen" by ABBA

    Books

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez 
    The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco (Life really starts to seem this absurd once you know everything that's going to happen.) 
    "Dream-Land" by Edgar Allan Poe (This poem totally describes what it's like when we go into one of our trances.) 
    "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot (We're not going to tell if the last lines of this poem are true or not.) 
    "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock" by Wallace Stevens 
    The Time Machine by H.G. Wells 
    "Her Kind" by Anne Sexton 
    Oedipus the King by Sophocles (Hey, we tried to warn him.) 
    "The Mind is an Enchanting Thing" by Marianne Moore 
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 

    Music

    Crazy by Patsy Cline (You can't help but be a little crazy after inhaling fumes all day.)
    Lights by Ellie Goulding (Yes!) 
    Karma Chameleon by Culture Club 
    Dancing Queen by ABBA (Little known fact: this is a great song to prophesize to.)  
    Into the Great Wide Open by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 
    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles (Lucy was totally one of us.) 
    Maximal Crazy by Tiesto (Yeah, we can't get enough trance music.) 
    Where is My Mind? by the Pixies 

    Movies

    The Matrix (We're all about the Oracle.) 
    Final Destination 
    Donnie Darko (weird, but awesome) 
    Mulholland Drive 
    Paranormal Activity 
    Looper 
    Vision 
    Minority Report 

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Fortune cookies
    Volcanoes
    Crystal balls
    Tarot cards

    Interests

    Prognostication

    Groups

    Seers and Seeresses
    League of Prophets
    Fortunetellers
    No Boys!
    Apollo Fan Club

    • Spotter's Guide

      There were tons of different Oracles over the years, so they all looked a little different. Mostly, they were pretty young virgins chosen from the neighborhoods of Delphi to take on the role of the Pythia. These ladies always looked clean and well kept from bathing in the Castalian Spring all the time. They did spent a lot of time inhaling volcanic fumes and the smoke from their tripod, though, so they looked a little sickly. Sounds like a crazy job if you ask us, but if Apollo chooses you, you kind have to do it, right?

      Sex: Females
      Age: Mostly young girls
      Build: Thin
      Complexion: Pale, a little green from inhaling fumes all day
      Hair Color: Varies
      Facial Hair: No
      Scars/marks/tattoos: No
      Jewelry and accessories: Tripod
      Clothing: Priestess robes
      Armor: None
      Type of Weapon: Ability to see the future

      Typical Companions

      Priests of Apollo

      Known Hangouts

      Temple of Apollo at Delphi

    • Sightings

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus

      In this play, Orestes receives orders from Apollo via the Oracle that he must kill his mother, Clytemnestra.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Eumenides by Aeschylus

      This sequel to The Libation Bearers opens at Delphi, where Orestes is taking refuge from some vengeful Furies, angry over his mother's death.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Oedipus the King by Sophocles

      The Oracle of Delphi proves to be all too right when she says that Oedipus is destined to sleep with his mother and kill his father. (Something tells us that the Pythia's prophecies wouldn't be too popular in fortune cookies.)

      Dec 20, 2019

      Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles

      In this final Oedipus play, it's revealed that the Oracle also told Oedipus that he would die in a place sacred to the Furies. (Yup, she was totally right again.)

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Electra by Euripides

      Check out another version of Orestes' Oracle-ordered execution of his own mother.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Ion by Euripides

      Set at Delphi, this play portrays a temple boy named Ion who finds out that Apollo is his long lost father.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Electra by Sophocles

      Aaaaaand here's yet another version of Orestes' famous Oracle-ordered matricide. (Sometimes we wonder if the Oracle should've kept her big mouth shut.)

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 0099

      Oedipus by Seneca

      The big deal Roman playwright puts his spin on the Oedipus story, complete with the Oracle's prediction.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Metamorphoses by Ovid

      The Oracle pops up in tons of stories in this book of mythological poems. (Don't miss the tale of how Apollo conquered the Python and made it his own.)

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

      The spirit of the Oracle is trapped in a corpse by Hades in this first Percy Jackson novel.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

      The Oracle's spirit is finally able to pass on to its new host, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, in this Percy Jackson adventure.