Pythias

Priestess of Delphi (1891), as imagined by John Collier; the Pythia is inspired by pneuma rising from below as she sits on a tripod
Pythia was the priestess presiding over the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. There are more than 500 supposed Oracular statements which have survived from various sources referring to the oracle at Delphi. Many are anecdotal, and have survived as proverbs. Several are ambiguously phrased, apparently in order to show the oracle in a good light regardless of the outcome. Such prophesies were admired for their dexterity of phrasing. One such famous prediction was the answer to an unknown person who was inquiring as to whether it would be safe for him to join a military campaign; the answer was: “Go, return not die in war”, which can have two entirely opposite meanings, depending on where a missing comma is supposed to be - before or after the word “not”. Nevertheless the Oracle seems consistently to have advocated peaceful, not violent courses generally.

The Pythia was the priestess who held court at the Oracle at Delphi, a sanctuary to the God Greek Apollo. She was highly-regarded, for it was believed that she channeled prophecies from Apollo himself, while steeped in a dreamlike trance. The Oracle was constructed in the 8th century BC, and the final prophecy given around AD 393, after the Roman Emperor Theodosius ordered the closure of all pagan sanctuaries.

The Pythia was chosen among the priestesses of the temple upon the death of the previous Pythia. Moral character was of utmost importance, and even if the newly-chosen Pythia was married and had a family, she had to relinquish all familial duties in order to fill her role in the temple. Pythias were likely women from higher-class families, were educated, and well-read.

The practice of interpreting the word of Apollo entailed the Pythia bathing in the Castalian Spring, then descending into her special chamber beneath the temple, where she would sit on a tripod, holding a cauldron of special water and smoldering laurel leaves. Those seeking the counsel of Apollo and his priestess would bring offerings of laurel branches, gifts of money, and a sacrifice of a black ram.

It is believed that the Pythia entered a trance caused by hallucinogenic gases that emerged from a crevice in the floor of the Castalian Spring. The Oracle of Delphi lies directly above two geological fault lines, and the spring near the Oracle contains ethylene, a hallucinogenic substance. It is thus likely that the trance was induced by gases that emerged into the temple room due to its unique geological location.

Sandor Clegane.  Again.  I can stop whenever I want, bro.  Procrastination doodles.

Haven’t done a Fanart Friday in a while, so I scanned this out of my sketchbook.  I found this amazing pre-production sketch of the Hound’s helm from the HBO show and wanted to riff on it.  And then it kind of kept on going I guess. :|  Stupidly tall broad-shoulded dudes, let me love you.

Oh hey Pythias what are you doing there.

(same deal as always, please keep away from spoilers in the comments)

Just a few rough sketches of some new art to be used in an upcoming, patron-only event next month, which I hope will be a bit of fun for everyone. If you’ll direct your attention to the second and fourth images, you’ll see examples of races not yet seen in the comic: Saurian and Lapinese.

I’ll be announcing the event in early June, so if you’ve been on the fence about becoming a patron, now would be a good time to hop on board! Details here: http://www.patreon.com/prideoflife

Stay tuned~

Eldred Family Portrait.  Photoshop.

In the intense heat of the weekend, Ananth and myself and cat sequestered ourselves into the air conditioned bedroom and didn’t come out until Monday.  I took the time to do a bit of noodly painting on the burning hot Cintiq in recompense for not braving the heat outside.

Pythias and his Dragon Family (Ame his wife, Quetzal their daughter).  He’s also that red dragon I posted the doodle of last week.  These folks are some of my very oldest characters, they’ve been following me around since late middle school/early high school.  I love them all dearly.

PYTHIA - a playlist inspired by the Oracle at Delphi by face-down-asgard-up

Await not in quiet the coming of the horses, the marching feet, the armed host upon the land. Slip away. Turn your back. You will meet in battle anyway.

I. Fountain of Life - Two Steps From Hell II. Breathe - The Folks Below III. A Forest - Bats For Lashes IV. The Sun - Soap&Skin V. Sleepsong - Bastille VI. Ancestors, The Ancients - Chelsea Wolfe VII. Human - Daughter VIII. Your Bones - of Monsters and Men IX. Child of the Valley - The Wooden Sky X. Follow Me Down - Sóley XI. Earth - Sleeping At Last XII. Drømdæ Mik En Drøm I Nat - Gny XIII. The Other Side - Woodkid

[[listen]]

Pythia

Pythia, also known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the name of any priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus ( thought to be around 1400 BC). 

Theory

The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. It is said that she predicted the Trojan War (The Delphic Sibyl).

The usual theory has been that the Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapors rising from a chasm in the rock, and that she spoke gibberish which priests interpreted as the enigmatic prophecies preserved in Greek literature.

To prepare for prophesying, the Oracle of Delphi would bathe in a spring of Castalia for cleansing. Then, she would drink from another stream. After that, to see if the Pythia was ready to foresee the future and accept Apollo’s powers, a priest would pour ice water over a goat. If the goat was to shake from being cold, then Apollo was present and had invested powers in her. If the water didn’t phase the goat at all, that meant the Oracle was not ready. Lastly, the Oracle of Delphi would inhale the gas emitting from the chasm near the temple, and after a frenzy, she was ready to give seekers their prophecies.

It is now believed that the vapours were hallucinogenic gases, while others say the hallucinations come from snake bites, or by burning bay leaves.. However, other scholars challenge this theory and state that the ancient sources show the Pythia speaking intelligibly, and giving prophecies in her own voice.

From a late myth that deviates from much older ones, when young, Apollo killed the chthonic serpent Python, named Pythia in older myths, but according to some later accounts his wife, Pythia, who lived beside the Castalian Spring, according to some because Python had attempted to rape Leto while she was pregnant with Apollo and Artemis. The bodies of the pair were draped around his Rod, which, with the wings created the caduceus symbolic of the god. This spring flowed toward the temple but disappeared beneath, creating a cleft which emitted vapours that caused the Oracle at Delphi to give her prophecies.

Prophecies

  • It is reputed that the last prophecy the Oracle gave predicted it would be her final one. A Roman emperor wanted to revive classic Greek culture. He went to the Pythia and she said:
    Tell to the king that the cavern wall is fallen in decay;
    Apollo has no chapel left, no prophesying bay,
    No talking stream. The stream is dry that had so much to say.

    That prophecy could be interpreted as a sign that Apollo has died and the time for reviving Greek culture is over.
  •  Another prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi was given in 594 BC, to an Athenian lawgiver; Solon. Solon wanted to capture the island of Salamis and so he asked the Pythia for her advice. She said:
    First sacrifice to the warriors who once had their home in this island,
    Whom now the rolling plain of fair Asopia covers,
    Laid in the tombs of heroes with their faces turned to the sunset.

    Following the advice of the Oracle, Solon was able to claim the island of Salamis, and gave much credit to the Oracle for her fulfilling advice.
  • The Oracle also told the Athenians that a wall of wood could protect them. They followed her advice, winning that battle, but it was hopeless for the Spartans. The Pythia told the Spartans before the battle of Thermopylae (in the words of Herodotus):
    Hear your fate, O dwellers in Sparta of the wide spaces;
    Either your famed, great town must be sacked by Perseus’ sons,
    Or, if that be not, the whole land of Lacedaemon
    Shall mourn the death of a king of the house of Heracles,
    For not the strength of lions or of bulls shall hold him,
    Strength against strength; for he has the power of Zeus,
    And will not be checked until one of these two he has consumed.

    Every last Spartan who fought in the battle that the Oracle foresaw as doomed died, making even the most skeptic of people become believers of the Pythia’s powers.

Pythias.  Brush & texture experimentation.  Photoshop.

Tried to make a custom Photoshop crowquill brush, inked an old doodle of Pythias.  Tried to emulate a cheap, oldtimey block print.  Didn’t do so great. :/

OH HEY so while we’re on the subject of Pythias.  I started a image reference blog over at pythias.tumblr.com – it’ll be a tagged catalogue of my liked page.  If you like weird illustration/photography/tattoos/iconography with indecipherable tags, maybe it is a thing you will like!  Ananth also just made a reference blog over at alifeofcrime, so take a gander over there as well.

(Aw man, just figured out that you can make a sub-blog from the same login and avoid that sign in/sign out tango.  Oh well, it doesn’t look like you can consolidate tumblrs, so Pythias can live in Chrome.)