Temple of Apollo, Delphi

Temple of Apollo, Delphi


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What You'll See at the Sanctuary of Apollo

The archaeological site of Delphi is about 100 miles northwest of Athens, above the Gulf of Corinth, on the main route EO48. The Sanctuary of Apollo is above the road while the equally impressive, though smaller, Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia sits below the road.

A winding marble path, the Sacred Way is the steadily climbing processional walk leading uphill through the sanctuary to the Temple of Apollo. Wear sturdy shoes because the going can be uneven in places and the path, though not terribly steep is a relentless climb. There is minimal shade so bring water and wear a hat.

The Temple of Apollo is about a fifth of a mile from the entrance, but there's plenty to see and lots of opportunities to stop and explore on the way up. In ancient times, visitors from the various Greek and non-Greek city states and islands brought tribute to Apollo through the Oracle. They built small temples, referred to today as treasuries, where their offerings—votive statues, gold and silver, wine, olive oil, and the spoils of war—were stored during rituals and left behind as gifts. These treasuries, or the remains of them, line the Sacred Way.

The most impressive standing building along the path is the Treasury of the Athenians, a small Doric building of colorful Parian marble. So much of it was found in situ during excavations that archaeologists from the French School at Athens, active in Delphi since the 19th century, were able to re-erect it where it originally stood in 1906. The statues and friezes are reproductions, though, with the originals in the adjacent museum. This treasury was built in the sixth or early fifth century B.C. There are conflicting stories about what it commemorated. The more romantic theory is that it symbolized the victory of democracy over tyranny. Another more likely story, based on the writings of a 2nd-century Greco-Roman traveler and historian is that the treasury was built to commemorate the Athenians victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Certainly some of the spoils of that victory, written about by contemporaries or now in the museum, would have been displayed in the little building during festivals and processions.

About 525 feet further along the sacred way, above the Temple of Apollo, is the Ancient Theater of Delphi. Musical events, including singing and instrumental competitions, were held here as part of the Pythian Games honoring Apollo as well as other religious festivals. The original theatre was built in the fourth century B.C. and was probably rebuilt in its current form during the second century B.C.

And still higher up, another 1,500 feet above the temple along the Sacred Way, The Ancient Stadium of Delphi, is considered the best preserved monument of its kind in the world. It was here that athletes first competed for the honor of Apollo's crown of laurel leaves. The original dates from the 5th century B.C., but the stadium, as it now exists, was probably expanded by the Romans. According to some stories, before they even competed in the Pythian Games, the athletes raced up Mt. Parnassus to the stadium from the valley floor.


Structural description of Delphi

Comprising many monuments within its territory, the site is an abode of great artistic structures. Residing on the southern slopes of Parnassus Mountain, the ruins of the Temple of Apollo was the center of the Delphic Oracle. Built in 4 th century BC, the structure exhibits Doric peripteral order. Numerous votive statues and treasuries are spread over in the area, starting from the entrance to the temple. Among them, the most impressive structure is the Treasury of the Athenians. It is another building in Doric order, which was built at the end of 6 th century BC by the Athenians. The Altar of Chians, the main altar of the site is located in front of the Temple of Apollo. An inscription suggests that, it was built by the people of Chios. A Ionic ordered stoa was made by the Athenians in 478 century BC, to house war trophies. A theater with 35 rows is located further above from the Temple of Apollo, which had the capacity to accommodate 5,000 spectators at a single time.

Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Treasury of Athens at Delphi

Commemorating Apollo’s famous victory over Python, the Delphic or Pythian Games are organized in the sanctuary in every 4 years, where all the Greek clans participate in various types of competitions.


See Also

The best survey of the history of the oracle, together with a collection of all the extant oracles, is H. W. Parke and D. E. W. Wormell's The Delphic Oracle, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1956). The oracles are translated and discussed, if in a sometimes too skeptical way, by Joseph Fontenrose in The Delphic Oracle (Berkeley, 1978). For recent, revisionary studies of the oracle see L. Maurizio, "Anthropology and Spirit Possession: A Reconsideration of the Pythia's Role at Delphi," Journal of Hellenic Studies 115 (1995): 69 – 86 and "Delphic Oracles as Oral Performances: Authenticity and Historical Evidence", Classical Antiquity 16 (1997): 308 – 34. R. C. T. Parker's "Greek States and Greek Oracles," in R. Buxton, (ed.), Oxford Readings in Greek Religion (Oxford, 2000), pp. 76 – 108 analyses the questions Greek states posed and the answers they received.


GREEK HISTORY

Delphi, the "Navel of the Earth", the "Common Hearth of all the Greeks", was the most sacred site of Ancient Greece. The Antiquities curator B. Pentzatos and Supervisor M. Sarla describe the site of Delphi using these words.

Apollo came to Delphi together with the Doric tribes and as a patriarchal god, he pushed aside the matriarchal deities worshiped there.
From the archaeological digs, we conclude that the Myceneans had settled in this very place and that the Oracle of Gaia flourished up until 1100B.C. It is from there that the "Descend of the Dorians" begins which shakes Greece, and finalizes the conquest of Delphi by Apollo.

The myth which concerns Apollo and is in accordance with the archaeological findings is in summary as follows: Apollo, who is the son of Zeus and Leto, a celestial god, kills Python, who, as a child of Gaia is a chthonic god. But, because of the blood relation of Apollo with Zeus and of Zeus with Gaia, Apollo does not celebrate his victory, but in order to be purified, he leaves the Oracle, going to Thessaly as a slave for 7 years and he returns to Delphi as a dominant god. But yet again, every year for three months he goes to the Hyperborean countries for purification, leaving Dionysus in his place.

The constellation of Hydra -image 05

The constellation of Crater (Dionysus) was linked to the constellation of the Corvus (Apollo), through the constellation of Hydra (image 05) all three constellations are visible from Greece. Part of Hydra is visible in the picture and it extends behind the Parthenon, towards the zodiac of Cancer. This way Hydra has a length and starts from the zodiac of Cancer crosses through the zodiac of Leo and reaches the zodiac of Virgo. Namely, it remains in the sky during the months July - August - September, therefore during the whole summer.

The Corvus (crow), which was a bird dedicated to the worship of Apollo, was sent by the god to spy on the nymph Aegle, who, because of her beauty, was called Koronida (crow) and was unfaithful, because she was afraid that Apollo, with whom she had given birth to Asclepius, would abandon her. Therefore the clergy at some point created the relationship of the constellations of Hydra and Raven. Later on, with the emergence of Dionysus, they created the relation of the constellations of the Hydra, Corvus, and Crater, and Aegle became one of the Nymphs of Dionysus.

All that we have described, proves the connection of the celestial dome with the archaeological site of Delphi through astrological and astronomical processes , which also indicate the intellectual level of the clergy.

Dionysus was the link who connected the chthonic gods with Apollo, who was the interpreter of the orders sent by the celestial gods using Hermes as a messenger. This relationship between Apollo and Dionysus essentially represents "man" as thought (Apollo) and as passion (Dionysus), which converge or diverge depending on the social choice of men. Thus, the form of Dionysus will change respectively from good looking to repulsive.

Temple of Apollo

N38° 02.453' E23° 32.312'

The relationship between Dionysus and Apollo is reflected on the pediments of the 4 th century B.C. temple, which was completed in 330 B.C. and is the sixth consecutive one that replaced the previous archaic one which was destroyed by earthquakes (373 B.C.). Pausanias mentions that in the eastern pediment the arrival ("Epiphany") of Apollo in Delphi was depicted, as it was also the case in the previous one which was destroyed. On the western pediment, Dionysus was depicted together with the Maenads. Architects of the temple were Spintharus of Corinth and later on Xenodorus (restorations). The sculptures were created by Praxias and Androsthenes.

The temple possesses a technically illogical deviation to the North, which however can be explained by the eastern pediment of the temple, which shows the region of the Hyperborean people where Apollo comes from to the temple, namely the Cimmerian people (Ukraine). The deviation from the original positioning of the temple was assumed between 545 and 500 B.C. when the fifth consecutive temple of the Alcmaeonidae (above image III) was built with the archaic dimensions, identical to the previous one (6x15), with the code K. (6) (1) (5) (6) (3), namely according to the Pythagorean interpretation:

(6) = HARMONIOUS TEMPLE
(1) = GOD - APOLLO - AXIS - SUN
(5) = LIGHT
(6) = TRIODITIS - HECATEBELETES
(3) = LOXEAS

In the same site of Delphi, there is also the temple of another apocalyptic god, Asclepius, a short distance down from the temple of Apollo (exact location here). This god restores man to a healthy condition and has the ability to raise the dead. Therefore, only the apocalyptic gods were gathered in Delphi (Apollo, Dionysus, and Asclepius), who replaced the chthonic matriarchal deities besides, Delphi is mentioned in the Iliad as the oracle of Peitho. These three gods will also constitute the logical basis for the Christian worship because Jesus covers their basic properties namely, he is born, dies and is reborn, like Apollo (Sun) and Dionysus, he has connections to the celestial space like Apollo and with the chthonic space like Dionysus, he even resurrects the dead like Asclepius.

These new gods upgraded logically since 1100 B.C. the Greek worship, extending human life with the concept of future rebirth through reincarnation. This also indicates the logic of the prevalence of the new worship, without religious wars. Thus the deceased, while in older times had his head turned to the north and his face to the west (Necromanteion), now the face turns to the east (Delos) waiting for rebirths like the Sun with the help of Apollo, Dionysus, and Asclepius.

On the upper part of the above picture (Route of the Soul), we observe the relationship between Apollo and Dionysus, where the commands of the celestial gods are transmitted to Apollo, who in turn transmits them to Dionysus and he passes them to the chthonic gods. The soul, with the aid of Hermes, is headed west to the Necromanteion in order to be judged.

This logic of man, namely the desire to extend his life or to be reborn, is valid even to this day. Modern-day society tries with the technological means at its disposal to defeat old age and death. This logic, however, has its infrastructure deeply rooted in ancient civilization. So from reincarnation, it transitioned to resurrection during the Christian period. Otherwise, it is very doubtful if modern-day society would experiment for the extension (Rebirth) of human life. So then, issues that for us nowadays are self-explanatory, have undergone a time-spanning process.

With the upgrade of the cult, although Delphi replaces the chthonic gods with the apocalyptic ones, it does not abolish them thus the oracle becomes a Geo-Solar center. Later on during the reign of Emperor Augustus and his Apollonian religious policy, the oracle of Delphi will become a Solar center .


Plato’s Fight Against Apollo’s Temple of Delphi and the Cult of Democracy

We are too often drawn into the bad habit of thinking of ancient Greek thinkers like Plato and his teacher Socrates as ivory tower philosophers lost in the abstract realm of “ideas” and utopian ideals detached of all reality and human struggle on earth.

In this lecture, Rising Tide Foundation president Cynthia Chung shatters that fantasy to pieces by introducing the geopolitical dynamic that both Socrates, Plato and a network of bright thinkers lived in and fought to transform for the better on a multitude of levels: military, cultural, scientific, and political.

How did Plato establish a vast international web of allies which were coordinated increasingly through his Academy? How did the Cult of Marduk of Babylon use Persian forces to attempt to subjugate the entire known world and how did this Cult transplant itself to Greece with the creation of the Cult of Apollo at Delphi? How did these cults control imperial grand strategy, finance, religion and even military strategy for countless generations and how did such great figures as Solon, the law giver, Aeschylus and their allies work to subvert the Persian/Delphi operations? How did this process lead directly into Alexander the Great’s decision to fire his controller Aristotle and adopt a Platonic grand strategy that overthrew Philip of Macedon, defeated oligarchical forces of culture while securing the creation of the Library of Alexandria?

Most importantly, how does understanding this history provide modern readers with the intellectual edge necessary to cut through lies, and recognize solutions to problems that too many believe are unsolvable?

For Cynthia Chung’s class on the philosophy of Socrates/Plato and Cicero’s attempt to follow in their path, see her class titled How To Conquer Tyranny and Avoid Tragedy: A Lesson on Defeating Systems of Empire.


Nothing in Excess

Apollo was known for his association both with archery and with playing the lyre. The strings of the lyre (an ancient harp) need to be tuned properly before the sound can become harmonious. If they are too tight or not tight enough, it won’t work properly. The same goes for stringing the bow. Both instruments symbolize Apollo’s symbolic association with beauty, and the notion of health being achieved through harmony and moderation. The arts of archery and lyre-playing both require the ability to know when the strings are even a fraction too slack or too tight. The maxim “Nothing in excess” expresses the same basic idea.

According to the doxographer Diogenes Laertius the saying “Nothing in excess” (meden agan) was typically thought to have originated with Solon, the ancient lawgiver of Athens and one of the Seven Sages. Its fame today is due partly to the fact that Socrates liked to quote it. For instance, Diogenes Laertius elsewhere claims that when asked what virtue is most suited for a young man Socrates replied simply:“Nothing in excess”.

In Plato’s Menexenus Socrates explains its meaning as follows:

Of old the saying, “Nothing in excess”, appeared to be, and really was, well said. For he whose happiness rests with himself, if possible, wholly, and if not, as far as is possible — who is not hanging in suspense on other men, or changing with the vicissitudes of their fortune — has his life ordered for the best. He is the temperate and courageous and wise and when his riches come and go, when his children are given and taken away, he will remember the proverb: “Neither rejoicing overmuch nor grieving overmuch”, for he relies upon himself. And such we would have our parents to be — that is our word and wish, and as such we now offer ourselves, neither lamenting overmuch, nor fearing overmuch, if we are to die at this time.

It’s closely-related to another well-known Greek saying “Moderation is best” (metron ariston). Today we say “All things in moderation”.

One of Socrates’ paradoxes, according to Xenophon, was the notion that people who exercise self-control and moderation actually obtain more pleasure from their desires than people who indulge to excess. Someone who eats moderately will enjoy his food more, for instance, than someone who stuffs himself and spoils his appetite.

Aristotle is famous for propounding the related concept of the “Golden Mean”, which states that the best course of action is often “in the middle” between vices that lie at two extremes. For instance, courage lies in-between the extremes of recklessness and cowardice.

Some vices miss what is right because they are deficient, others because they are excessive, in feelings or in actions, while virtue finds and chooses the mean. — Nicomachean Ethics

However, this isn’t quite what the Delphic Maxim said. For Socrates, as for the Stoics, the emphasis was on avoiding excess, and finding the appropriate amount to do something. The appropriate amount doesn’t necessarily lie at the mean or middle between two extremes, though — that’s overly-simplistic advice. Rather we need to study ourselves very carefully in order to ascertain, for instance, when we’re sleeping, drinking, or eating too much and when we’re doing so too little.

“But it is necessary to take rest also.” It is necessary. However, Nature has fixed bounds to this too: she has fixed bounds to eating and drinking, and yet you go beyond these bounds, beyond what is sufficient. — Meditations, 5.1

Every individual is different what’s appropriate for me might not be for you. Moreover, what’s appropriate will vary depending on our circumstances. The right amount of food to eat during a siege might be quite different from the right amount to eat during a wedding feast. Sometimes the right amount might be nothing at other times it might be as much as possible.

Xenophon, in fact, claims that Socrates made no distinction between the virtues of wisdom and temperance (sophrosune). In order to exercise, self-control we have to know and understand what’s appropriate for us. When we really perceive the value of things clearly we’ll act accordingly.

“For I think”, he said, “that all men have a choice between various courses, and choose and follow the one which they think is most to their advantage. Therefore I hold that those who follow the wrong course are neither wise nor temperate.” — Memorabilia

Self-knowledge is therefore not only the basis for identifying when we’re doing something too much. It’s also self-knowledge, of a sort, that potentially helps us to change our behaviour — the knowledge of what is good or advantageous for us. Of course, people will say that they often know something is bad for them, such as smoking cigarettes, but they can’t help themselves and do it anyway. Socrates would reply by claiming that they don’t really understand how important it is to stop, though.

Although this seems like a perennial controversy, we can actually settle it quite easily by means of a simple example. Even someone who says they can’t quit a bad habit, no matter how hard they try, would normally succeed if we increased the stakes dramatically. Even the most weak-willed smoker would be able to voluntarily stub out their cigarette if they had a gun pointed at their head (threat) and were being offered a million dollars (reward) for putting it down. That’s true even if it turns out the gun is loaded with blanks and the bank notes are fakes — what matters is what we believe. Socrates would say that proves that it is our belief in what’s advantageous for us that ultimately determines our behaviour.


Temple of Apollo, Delphi

Please edit the page properties (see here for instructions) to change the title to the name of the archaeological site you will be writing about, then replace the Italicised instructions below with your entry. If you want to know how to add e.g. additional images, podcasts, etc., please see this page. If copying from word, rather than using CTRL-V, please click the small "paste from word" icon (with a 'w') which neatens up the formatting.

Archaeological Development

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Gods/Heroes

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Ritual Activity

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Historical Significance

Located on Mt. Parnassus near the Gulf of Corinth the temple was home to the famous Oracle of Delphi, marking the importance of the site. The oracle gave predictions to both city-states and individuals and was home to the Pythian Games. The games were held every eight years and began ca 591 BCE. The event was a musical competition at first and later more music contests and athletic events were added. It was also held more frequently - every four years and was contended only against the Olympic games.

Delphi was also known as the omphalos (meaning navel)or the center of the world. Following the myth that Zeus once sent two eagles from opposite ends of the world to meet at the center. The stone marks it as a place of geopolitical power and currency and is an object of power.[1]

The site and the games were managed by the independent amphictyony which was a council composed of members of the nearby states which: collected taxes offerings, constructed and organized military campaigns in the Four Sacred Wars against Crisa Phocis and Amphissa.
There are suggestions that the oracle was in some way present from 1400BC and that Apollo took over the shrine through Priests from Delos in the 8th Century.[2]This The rise of the temple in the name of Apollo is argued to coincide with the rise of Corinth as a city.[3]

The temple was attacked by the Persians (480BCE) and the Gauls (3rd Century BCE). It came into the hands of the Aitolian league in the same century.
The sixth version of the temple stood until 390 AD when the Roman emperor Theodosius I ordered the destruction of the temple and the accompanying works of art and statues in order to accommodate the Christian order.[4]

The oracles meant that it was often offered devotions in thanks to the gods. This includes a building as a thank you offering from the Athenians for the Battle of Marathon in 490.[5] The importance of the oracle can at times be represented through ancient literature such as when Homer writes that Agamemnon consults the oracle before the Trojan war.[6] Herodotus speaks of an offering of expensive gifts from Croesus ( a frequent visitor of the oracle who was faced with the war against the Persians)and also of a subscription from Egypt from Greek colonists of Naukratis.[7] Making the site a center for Pan-Hellenic activities and relations. Further literary sources include in its number Aeschylus, Aristotle, Diodorus, and Ovid.

Who used the site, and where did they come from?

The Temple of Apollo was the home to the Pythia (the name of the high priestess at the temple of Apollo) who is better known as the Oracle of Delphi. The oracle was consulted often until 4th C AD as the most prestigious and trusted oracle amongst the Greek societies.[8] Officiants would serve her at the sites and there were two other priests of Apollo who were in charge of the sanctuary. Plutarch served in the late first century to the early second and is a key source on the oracles at the time. The priests were selected from the men of Delphi. Aside from the key two figures, there were other officiants who have been associated with the site such as the hosoi (the holy ones) and the prophetai.[9]

The hopes of the sacred organization of Delphi represented a Pan-Hellenic hope and confederation. It presented a united Greece with a united religion and political interests.[10] Delphi was a popular gathering spot for the Greek elite and were treated as places where the Greek ‘nobility’ would express their close relations to the gods through making costly dedications or some other display (such as competing in the Pythian games).[11] Delphi was thus Panhellenic (for all stratas of society) and civic pride is represented particularly from the ostentatious offerings.[12] The Athenian offerings are best recorded. There is an inscription along the sacred way that reads ‘ The Athenians to Apollo as offerings from the battle of Marathon, taken from the Mede’.[13] Atop the inscription are signs of bronze statues being there. It is likely they depicted the ten eponymous heroes of the Kleisthenic tribes including the new Hellenistic tribes: Antigonos Monophthalmos, Demetrios Poliorketes (made eponymoi in 306) Ptolemy III (223).[14] The Homeric Hymn to Apollo presents an account of how Apollo chose his first priests who were met with Apollo in the form of a Dolphin and bid the Cretan priests to establish the temple.[15] The site was visited by Cretans as evidenced by Cretan sculptures and bronzes found from the 8th century onto as late as ca. 600 BC.[16] It is important to remember that the hymn is not a historical account but the archaeological evidence suggests Cretan visitors. Lydian and Oriental Kings also paid honours.[17]

Select Site Bibliography

Primary Sources

  • Herodotus, Histories
  • Pausanias Description of Greece Vol.1 TRANS: Jones, W.H.S (1918) (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press)

Secondary Sources

  • Chappell, M(2006) "Delphi and the Homeric Hymn to Apollo" IN: Classical Quarterly 56.
  • Cooper, F. 1990. “Reconstruction of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi in the Fourth Century B.C.” AJA 94: 317&ndash18.
  • Forrest, W.G. (1957), "Colonisation and the Rise of Delphi" (Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte Bd. 6, H. 2 (Apr., 1957), pp. 160&ndash175
  • Fortenrose, J (1959) Python. A study of Delphic Myth and its Origins. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press (London: Cambridge University Press)
  • Middleton, J.H (1888) “The temple of Apollo at Delphi” IN: The Journal of Hellenic Studies volume 9. Pp282-322
  • Neer, R (2004) “The Athenian Treasury at Delphi and the Material of Politics” IN: Classical Antiquity Vol.23, No.1. (USA: University California Press) pp 63-93
  • Ring, T (1995) Southern Europe: International Dictionary of Historic Places (UK: Routledge)
  • Scott, M (2014) Delphi: A history of the Center of the Ancient World (UK: Princeton University Press)
  • Voegelin, E (2000)Order of History 2 (USA: University of Missouri Publishing.)
  1. Voeglin (2000) 31.
  2. Fortenrose (1959) 54.
  3. Forrest (1957)162.
  4. Ring (1995) 185.
  5. Pausanias 10.11.
  6. Homer, Ody. VIII.80.
  7. Herodotus,PerI.50.
  8. Scott (2014) 30.
  9. Forrest (1957) 164.
  10. Middleton (1888)282.
  11. Neer (2004) 65.
  12. Neer (2004)65.
  13. GHI no.19.
  14. Cooper (1990) 317-318.
  15. Chappell (2006) 335.
  16. Fox(2008) 342 .
  17. Middleton (1888)283.

Location

Please add the location here. Also, search for it on Pelagios (click here) and add a link to "further information" about the place.


Plato’s Fight Against Apollo’s Temple of Delphi and the Cult of Democracy

We are too often drawn into the bad habit of thinking of ancient Greek thinkers like Plato and his teacher Socrates as ivory tower philosophers lost in the abstract realm of “ideas” and utopian ideals detached of all reality and human struggle on earth.

In this lecture, Cynthia Chung shatters that fantasy to pieces by introducing the geopolitical dynamic that both Socrates, Plato and a network of bright thinkers lived in and fought to transform for the better on a multitude of levels: military, cultural, scientific, and political.

How did Plato establish a vast international web of allies which were coordinated increasingly through his Academy? How did the Cult of Marduk of Babylon use Persian forces to attempt to subjugate the entire known world and how did this Cult transplant itself to Greece with the creation of the Cult of Apollo at Delphi? How did these cults control imperial grand strategy, finance, religion and even military strategy for countless generations and how did such great figures as Solon, the law giver, Aeschylus and their allies work to subvert the Persian/Delphi operations? How did this process lead directly into Alexander the Great’s decision to fire his controller Aristotle and adopt a Platonic grand strategy that overthrew Philip of Macedon, defeated oligarchical forces of culture while securing the creation of the Library of Alexandria?

Most importantly, how does understanding this history provide modern readers with the intellectual edge necessary to cut through lies, and recognize solutions to problems that too many believe are unsolvable?

For Cynthia Chung’s class on the philosophy of Socrates/Plato and Cicero’s attempt to follow in their path, see her class titled How To Conquer Tyranny and Avoid Tragedy: A Lesson on Defeating Systems of Empire.


Watch the video: Temple of Apollo Delphi, Greece. Oracle of Apollo. Omphalos. Rock of the Sibyl. 4K