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A History of the Center of the Ancient World
Michael Scott

Book Description | Table of Contents
Prologue [in PDF format] | Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"I don't think there can be much about Delphi's history that Dr. Scott has missed out on in this book. I needn't have worried that only one book on the subject wouldn't be enough to give me enough information for my visit. I wanted the definitive book and as far as I'm concerned I picked the right one."--Tales from A Tour Guide

"The oracle is not the main concern of this fine, scholarly book. Although you can hardly write about Delphi without writing about the Pythia, Scott's interest is much more in the site itself, the way it developed from a couple of buildings on a mountainside into the elaborate sanctuary of the classical period and beyond. . . . Because Delphi was the focus of so much ancient attention, this rich but remote archaeological site gives us a keyhole view of the history of the ancient world as a whole, as cities are founded and proclaim their existence to the international community; as cities fall and find their monuments encroached on, buried or pecked at by prophetic crows; as dedications to commemorate victories over foreigners at Salamis give way to trophies of victories over other Greeks; as the Spartans inscribe their name on a gift of Croesus and hope no one will notice."--James Davidson, The Guardian

"This is an engaging tribute to a site that enjoined its visitors to know themselves--a demand that, in turn, requires us to know the Greeks."--Alex Clapp, Ekathimerini

"Excellent. . . . The more important question for [Scott] is not how the oracle functioned, but why it endured as an institution for over a thousand years. For the scholar who wants to see the full range of evidence and possible interpretations--a rounded view--this approach is particularly useful."--Daisy Dunn, History Today

"[A] comprehensive and sympathetic history. . . . Scott puts it beautifully: both as an idea and an historical conundrum, Delphi ensures we keep the ground 'insecure' beneath our feet."--Bettany Hughes, BBC History Magazine

"Scott's erudition is balanced by a lively style, making for a thoroughly readable work. Copies endnotes, bibliography, and illustrations (including eight in color) accompany the text, as does a brief guide to the site's museum."--Choice

"[T]here is much to commend in this new history, which deserves to be widely read."--Hugh Bowden, Anglo-Hellenic Review

"[A] thoroughly researched, highly readable, insightful, enjoyable, and comprehensive tour of one of the ancient world's most fascinating sites."--Guy Maclean Rogers, American Historical Review

"Well written and enjoyable to read. . . . A brief guide for those touring the site and its surroundings in the appendix makes this book a knowledgeable travel companion for all those visiting Delphi for the first time."--Julia Kindt, European Review of History

"A reliable, well-informed, and highly readable account based on the author’s considerable knowledge of the site and the archaeological campaigns that have brought it back into the light. . . . [A] fine and lucid book."--Craige B. Champion, The Historian

"[This book] is an excellent 'biography' of the Delphi and should be read by those who are interested in understanding the site’s historical context."--Renee M. Gondek, Religious Studies Review

"Engaging. . . . What elevates this book above standard scholarly accounts is its holistic view and its concern with why the oracle has had such influence not only in the ancient past but also in the modern period."--Sara Forsdyke, Common Knowledge


"Like the two eagles released by Zeus from opposite ends of the world who then met in Delphi, Michael Scott gets to the heart of antiquity's most celebrated and enigmatic oracle. A vivid and lucid study that reanimates the mentality of those who consulted Apollo more convincingly than any other I have read."--Tom Holland, author of Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

"Learned and elegant, Michael Scott's Delphi offers an in-the-round study of the heart of ancient Greece, a focus of religion, art, athletics, intrigue, and treasure so potent that it still gives us an adjective for enigmatic--'Delphic.' Scott's irresistible narrative brings it all back to life."--Barry Strauss, author of Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership

"Few scholars know the history of ancient Delphi as intimately as Michael Scott does. Apollo's injunction to 'know yourself' is as hard to obey now as it was in ancient times, but readers seeking enlightenment will surely be encouraged to learn that the unsettling Delphic effect is good for them. On a more earthly plane, they will find Scott's expert guidance to the site and its museum invaluable."--Paul Cartledge, author of After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars

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File created: 9/19/2017

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