Generals, kings, and individuals of all ranks came to the Oracle of Delphi to ask Apollo's advice on the best course to take in war, politics, love and family.
After the inquirer made a sacrifice, a priestess uttered cryptic pronouncements which were then translated by a priest (see "The Oracle," below, for more details).
The best known was a great chariot race, held in the stadium that can still be seen at Delphi.
The winners of the Pythian Games received a laurel wreath from the city of Tempe in Thessaly, where Apollo was said to have picked a laurel on his way to Delphi.
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The site was marked by the Omphalos, or "navel" stone, a Roman copy of which can be seen in the Delphi Museum.
Revered as early as 1500 BC, the sacred precinct was home to the famous Oracle, in which the god himself counseled his people through the mouth of an intoxicated priestess.
Excavations reveal that Delphi was first inhabited in late Mycenaean times (15th century BC) and that priests from Crete brought the cult of Apollo to central Greece in the 8th century BC.
The Temple of Apollo seen today at Delphi dates from the 4th century BC.
There were two earlier temples on the site: the first was burned in 548 and the second was destroyed by an earthquake.
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