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Priestess of Pythian Apollo

The Priestess of Pythian Apollo
First, in this prayer of mine, I give the place of highest honor among the gods to the first prophet, Earth; and after her to Themis, for she was the second to take this oracular seat of her mother, as legend tells. And in the third allotment, with Themis' consent and not by force, [5] another Titan, child of Earth, Phoebe, took her seat here. She gave it as a birthday gift to Phoebus, who has his name from Phoebe. Leaving the lake1and ridge of Delos, he landed on Pallas' ship-frequented shores, [10] and came to this region and the dwelling places on Parnassus. The children of Hephaistos,2road-builders taming the wildness of the untamed land, escorted him with mighty reverence. And at his arrival, the people [15] and Delphus, helmsman and lord of this land, made a great celebration for him. Zeus inspired his heart with prophetic skill and established him as the fourth prophet on this throne; but Loxias is the spokesman of Zeus, his father.

These are the gods I place in the beginning of my prayer. [20] And Pallas who stands before the temple3 is honored in my words; and I worship the Nymphs where the Corycian4rock is hollow, the delight of birds and haunt of gods. Bromius has held the region —I do not forget him— ever since he, as a god, led the Bacchantes in war, [25] and contrived for Pentheus death as of a hunted hare. I call on the streams of Pleistus and the strength of Poseidon, and highest Zeus, the Fulfiller; and then I take my seat as prophetess upon my throne. And may they allow me now to have the best fortune, far better than on my previous entrances. [30] And if there are any from among the Hellenes here, let them enter, in turn, by lot, as is the custom. For I prophesy as the god leads.She enters the temple and after a brief interval returns terror-stricken

1 A circular lake in the island of Apollo's birth.

2 The Athenians, because Erichthonius, who was identified with Erechtheus, was the son of Hephaestus, who first fashioned axes.

3 The shrine of Pallas “before the temple,” close to Delphi on the main road leading to the sanctuary of Apollo.

4 The Corycian cave, sacred to the Nymphs and Pan, has been identified with a grotto on the great plateau above Delphi.

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