Ancient History



The Pythia, or Oracle of Delphi was the High Priestess in the temple of Apollo who was consulted for predictions about the future between the 8th Century BC and the 4th AD.  The Pythia features extensively throughout classical literature and was said to produce prophesies in gibberish which were interpreted into oblique and often ambiguous predictions. The most famous of these concerns King Croesus of Lydia (595-546 BC), a man credited with the minting of the first gold coins (and the subsequent comparator ‘rich as Croesus’). The Oracle reported that ‘if Croesus attacked the Persians, he would destroy a great empire’. Of course, history records that the empire destroyed was not Cyrus the Great’s Persians, but the Lydian Empire – a cautionary tale about the hazards of relying on a unreliable forecasts.