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Delphi: a history of the center of the…
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Delphi: a history of the center of the Ancient World (2014)

by Michael Scott

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This rather dense study is as much, if not more so, an examination of Delphi as a player in the international arrangements of its time as it is of a religious & cultural institution. This is going to be a problem for the general reader who might not have a broad enough sense of who the players were over the wide span of time covered by this book. Despite the author's attempt to maintain a colloquial tone I found it something of a slog and I really can't claim that Scott held my interest all that well; particularly once he was beyond the zenith of the classical Greek city-states. Still, if one is interested in Delphi, this is probably worth looking at more like a reference book to be dipped into, rather than a narrative to be read cover to cover. ( )
  Shrike58 | Dec 5, 2016 |
I heard Michael Scott talking about Delphi on a radio interview. He was an engaging interviewee and, having just been to Delphi, and been impressed - well apart from the bored schoolchildren on mandatory trips - so what could go wrong?

The problem is, that although Mr Scott clearly knows his subject, this book is poorly conceived. When presented in chronological, as opposed to thematic, order the reader gets confused by the countless intrigues Delhi has with ancient states with which the reader is not familiar. We are not talking about Athens, Sparta, Macedon or even Rome here. We are talking about the internal politics of the Aeolian League. Frankly I couldn't keep up with who Delphi was at loggerheads with over the centuries, who was building which temple and why, and who had "precedence". This book would have been much better had it been thematically organised. In the end, I did what I rarely do; I shamefacedly returned the book to my bookshelf after 180 of 280 pages. After all life is too short. Mr Scott - or perhaps his editors - have managed the barely possible; to render Delphi dull and boring. Given his knowledge of his subject, there is clearly a good book about Delphi within Mr Scott - sadly this is not it ( )
  Opinionated | Jun 4, 2016 |
I read it in Dutch.
The translation is absolutely awful. ( )
1 vote | Macumbeira | Oct 24, 2014 |
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Epigraph
Lo studio dei resti di Delfi è l'opera più interessante
e importante che rimane da compiere nel campo
dell'archeologia classica. Il ruolo svolto da Delfi
nella storia della Grecia è troppo noto perché ci sia
bisogno di ricapitolarlo. L'immaginazione di ogni uomo
che riconosca il debito della civiltà moderna
nei confronti dell'antica Grecia si risveglia al nome di Delfi
come a nessun altro nome tranne quello di Atene. [...]
Delfi sarà per sempre una delle sedi sacre
della razza umana.

Archeological Institute of America,
"Annual Report", 11 maggio 1889
Dedication
For my friends, mentors, and colleagues in Cambridge, to whom I will always owe a great debt for their support, comradeship, and encouragement.
Ai miei amici e colleghi di Cambridge,
ai quali rimarrò sempre debitore per il sostegno,
la solidarietà e l'incoraggiamento
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691150818, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:35 -0400)

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, this book will appeal to general readers, tourists, students, and specialists.… (more)

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