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But the wealth, being an object of cupidity, was guarded with difficulty, although dedicated to sacred uses. At present, however, whatever it might have been, the temple at Delphi is exceedingly poor. Some of the offerings have been taken away for the sake of the money, but the greater part remain there. It is true that the temple was once very opulent, as Homer testifies; “‘Nor all the wealth, which the marble threshold of Phœbus Apollo, the Archer, (Aphetor,)1 contains in the rocky Pytho.’2” The treasuries indicate its riches, and the plunder committed by the Phocians, which gave rise to the Phocic or Sacred war, as it was called. It is however supposed that a spoliation of the temple must have taken place at some more remote period, when the wealth mentioned by Homer disappeared; for no vestige of it whatever was preserved to later times, when Onomarchus and Phayllus pillaged the temple, as the property [then] removed was of a more recent date than that referred to by the poet. For there were once deposited in the treasuries, offerings from spoils, bearing inscriptions with the names of the donors, as of Gyges, of Crœsus, of the Sybaritæ, of the Spinetæ on the Adriatic, and of others also. It would be unbecoming to suppose3 that modern and ancient treasures were confounded together: other places pillaged by these people confirm this view.

Some persons, however, understanding the word Aphetor to signify treasure, and the threshold of the aphetor the repository of the treasure under-ground, say, that this wealth was buried beneath the temple, and that Onomarchus and his companions attempted to dig it up by night; violent shocks of an earthquake caused them to fly out of the temple, and desist from their excavation; thus others were impressed with a dread of making similar attempts.

1 ἀφήτωοͅ.

2 Il. ix. 404.

3 A conjecture by Kramer.

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