- David Potter
Extract*Oracle and grove of *Apollo belonging to the city of Colophon. The oracle appears to have been founded by the 8th cent. bce, as stories about its foundation appear in the Epigoni (attributing the foundation to Manto), *Hesiod mentions the site in connection with a contest between the seers *Calchas and *Mopsus, and it is mentioned as a residence of Apollo in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. The sanctuary was discovered 1907, and an excavation, begun under the direction of Louis Robert in the 1950s, turned up the oracular chamber under the temple and numerous inscriptions relating to its operation. On the basis of these inscriptions and literary texts, we know that there were ‘sacred nights’ upon which the consultations would take place, when there would be a procession of consultants to the temple of Apollo with sacrifices and singing of hymns. Consultants would then hand over questions to the priests who would descend into the adytum (innermost sanctuary), through the blue marble-faced corridors underneath the temple, to a place outside the room in which the divine spring flowed. Within this room the thespiōdos, a man, would drink from the spring and utter his responses to the questions of each consultant.
- Roman Myth and Religion